The top of the range Auris T180 slipped under the radar for a lot of people. Toyota hopes that will change with the launch of the new SR180. Ian Robertson drives the newcomer
Despite only being on sale for just over a year, the mid-sized car from Toyota, the Auris, has come in for some attention from Toyota’s product planners, with the flagship T180 being axed in favour of a new top model, the SR180. You’d be forgiven for not realising that Toyota even had a flagship Auris in the past, as it was just as anonymous looking as the rest of the Auris range. The new model aims to change that, and if the bold White paintwork that my test car boasted is anything to go by, anything to perk up the looks of the Auris and getting the car onto buyers’ radars has to be good news.
Despite the new name, there isn’t a great deal of difference between this and the old car. There’s the privacy glass, a new rear spoiler and sports suspension, courtesy of Toyota Motorsport, and the SR180 gains the keyless entry system from the T Spirit model. Apart from that, it’s business as usual and features exactly the same goody count that the outgoing model had.
It uses the same 2.2 D-4D engine, as used in the larger Avensis and RAV4, and also found in the Lexus IS220d. Of all of the D-4D engines found in the Auris, this 2.2 is the nicest of the bunch and depending on budget, the one to plump for, as it offers performance with a real kick – zero to 62mph in 8.1seconds anyone? That’s coupled with reasonably good fuel economy, considering the size of engine and the high power output between the front seats remains, together with the quirky handbrake, but the overall impression is of a well screwed together interior, albeit a touch on the plasticky side. Equipment levels are as you would expect for a flagship car with cruise control, rain and light sensors, four electric windows, radio/CD with MP3 functionality and leather steering wheel and gearknob all fitted as standard. On the safety front, the SR180 comes equipped with stability and traction control, together with a full compliment of airbags. When tested last year, the Auris emerged as a five-star rated car by EuroNCAP, the crash test safety experts.
While the looks are never going to set pulses racing, if you’re looking for a comfortable cruiser with punchy performance, then the Auris SR180 could well be near the top of your list. If you want hot-hatch thrills and pin-sharp handling, then you’ll probably be best to look elsewhere.
ON SALE: Now RANGE STARTS AT: £17,995 for Auris sr180 2.2 d-4d 3-door
- Price: £18,495
- Engine: 2231cc, 4 cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 177bhp at 3,600rpm
- Max Torque: 295lb ft at 2,000 – 2,600rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,500kg
- Combined Consumption: 45.6mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 164g/km (D)
- 0-62mph: 8.1secs
- Max speed: 130mph
- Insurance group: 13
Comfortable ride, thunderous performance, expected reliability
Handling isn’t up to hot hatch standards, plasticky interior