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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 1st February, 2012
, updated 15th March, 2019
Toyota has improved its fourth generation Prius. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
If you're the kind of person who brings uncompromising reason to the purchase decision when it comes to getting yourself a new family hatchback, then you'll bond with this Auris right away, particularly in this revised MK2 form. Optimal Drive technology, hybrid power, low servicing costs, decent residuals: it'll all be music to your ears.
What changed with this improved second generation Auris design though, was that the car became sharper looking, more accomplished to drive and more value-orientated. Plus the introduction of 1.2-litre petrol Turbo power and the 1.6-litre D-4D diesel engine meat that at last, this car could be a fully competitive prospect for those not prioritising hybrid power - or those who can't quite stretch to it. The petrol/electric option's worth trying though and it remains unique amongst family hatchbacks from this era. There are still, it's true, more dynamic, more versatile and more up-market-feeling choices in this class from this period, but not many of them stack up quite as well as an overall ownership proposition.
What we've got here then, is a family hatchback with a Toyota badge that's class-competitive in almost every way. There are more exciting options in this class from this era. But you may struggle to find more sensibly-orientated ones.
The Yaris GRMN hot hatch shows Toyota's extreme side. Jonathan Crouch takes a look...
The Toyota Corolla Touring Sports is the estate version of Toyota's practical family hatchback. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.
This post-2016-series RAV4 grew up, matured and become more sensible. And what could be more sensible than the installation of a hybrid engine under the bonnet? This car represents a way to more affordably buy into mid-sized SUV motoring from a Crossover from the 2016-2018 period, the petrol/electric formula offering extra refinement, cheaper fuel and lower taxation levels.
Perhaps then this is, as Toyota assures us, 'a better way' of owning a model of this kind - you decide. One thing's for certain: for many, this car's buying proposition will make family-friendly, real world sense.
Toyota spent £26 million, commissioned 368,000 man hours and changed more than 1,000 parts in its efforts to force this post-2015 MK3 Avensis model back into class contention. Could it be more exciting, both to look at and to drive? Well yes of course, but you can see why Toyota weren't keen to go too far and upset the legions of customers attracted by the sensible charms of previous Avensis models. And the brand knew at this updated model's launch that the medium range market is closely fought and highly populated, with buying decisions often coming down to the smallest detail.
This much improved third generation model got more of these kinds of details right - the quality cabin, the extra refinement, the slicker multi-media system. Which makes it a lot harder to ignore when you know that it comes at a price that's going to represent good value on the used market. In short, it may not be the car in this class you might have dreamed about but tick all the boxes and you could well find yourself deciding it to be the one you actually need.
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