What would the Toyota Prius
be like if you stripped away all the... Prius-ness, the eco-cool stuff, leaving just the tech bits to do their job? Not surprisingly, the answer comes from Toyota itself and it’s called the Auris Hybrid.
Now that the Japanese have launched the second-generation Auris, they’re getting all serious with its flagship incarnation, the Hybrid. Not that the first one wasn’t too keen on its job.
Despite being a bit of an experiment, the Auris Hybrid Synergy Drive managed to second the Prius as the most popular hybrid in Europe. Back in 2010 Toyota basically planted the Prius’ petrol-electric powertrain inside the first European Auris, with 60,000 people taking the result home.
Sure, some could argue that the hybrid market wasn’t exactly loaded with alternatives, but the aforementioned figure is still impressive. Imagine that result as Toyota looking at itself in the mirror and boosting its confidence. Well, with the new-found petrol-electric self-esteem, they are now giving us the Auris Hybrid.
Nonetheless, this reinforcement of the Auris Hybrid has brought it closer to the Prius than ever. For instance, the first may have borrowed the iconic model’s hybrid heart, but it comes with a few updates.
Unlike the Prius though, which has kept its status advantage untouched, the Auris Hybrid also has to face the diesels. Ah yes, Europeans love oil burners, so the Japanese compact hasn’t got an easy job.
Well, the thing doesn’t seem to be bothered by the black pump fetish on the Old Continent. In fact, it seems to be smiling with confidence - sans a few minuscule details such as the bluish badges, the Hybrid looks exactly the same as its petrol- and diesel- powered versions.
Predictably, the Pearl White color you see in the adjacent images is exclusive to the Hybrids. Oh and you can also tell a Hybrid by its shoes. They’ve fitted this with a rather nice "Turbine
" design, coming in a 15- or 17-inch size.