The Auris HSD marks Toyota’s very first introduction of its Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) or full hybrid technology to one of its mainstream models. Furthermore, this five-door hatchback has the distinction of offering the only full hybrid powertrain in the C-segment.
Built at Toyota Motors UK Burnaston, the first factory in Europe to mass produce a hybrid vehicle, the benefits of the new Auris HSD go beyond exceptional fuel economy and low CO2 emissions: it is user-friendly and delivers a quiet, comfortable and animated drive unlike anything else in the C-segment.
Under the bonnet
The hybrid system’s 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine in combination with the electric motor enables the Auris HSD to accelerate to 100km/h in a respectable 11.4 seconds and onto a top speed of 180km/h. But, the real performance eye-opener is the amount of torque on tap – you’re looking at 142Nm at 4000rpm of the petrol motor and a remarkable torque peak of 207Nm from the electric motor which is on stream right from zero revs.
The British-built, lightweight, highly compact four-cylinder 1,798cc Atkinson cycle petrol engine has a maximum output of 73kW at 5,200rpm and as mentioned, develops maximum torque of 142Nm at 4000rpm. By adopting the Atkinson cycle and by using a cooling Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, Toyota has achieved significant gains in fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. Because the intake valves close later in the Atkinson cycle, compression is delayed, creating a high expansion ratio for less compression. This reduces intake and exhaust energy losses and converts combustion energy into engine power more effectively. The EGR system reduces cooling loss and pumping losses and so supports improved fuel efficiency.
VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing – Intelligent), the other highlight of the petrol engine, helps boost response across the entire rev range by varying the intake valve timing to suit conditions at any given time. As well as improving torque at low and medium engine speeds, it also reduces emissions and improves fuel efficiency. The engine also features roller rocker arm valvetrain control, a resin intake manifold with an optimised port configuration, and 12-hole atomising long-nozzle injectors. Thin, long-reach spark plugs contribute to better anti-knocking performance. Low-tension piston rings, reduced piston friction, a standing oil jet for piston cooling and a stainless steel exhaust manifold all play a part in supporting efficient engine performance. Together these advanced technologies contribute to improved power and reductions in fuel consumption and emissions.
Moving on to the high-performance, permanent magnet, synchronous electric motor/generator, it produces a maximum 60kW and as mentioned previously, peak torque of 207Nm is available from the get go. Powered by the hybrid battery, it works in tandem with the petrol engine to boost acceleration and, when the vehicle is switched to Electric Vehicle (EV) mode, operates alone to power the driven wheels – a unique feature of Toyota’s full hybrid system.
During deceleration and under braking, the electric motor works as a high-output generator to effect regenerative braking. This recovers kinetic energy that would usually be lost as heat, as electrical energy for storage in the high-performance battery which means there is never a need for the battery to be recharged from an external source.
It’s worth noting that Auris HSD’s battery pack uses proven and reliable nickel-metal hydride technology. It sits beneath the floor of the boot, minimising impact on cabin space. Bear in mind too that when it comes to reliability, Toyota’s experience with Prius has more than proven the durability of the Hybrid Synergy Drive battery pack over more than 37 billion miles of driving worldwide. The pack is designed to last the lifetime of the car.
Of course, in addition to the environmental benefits, one of the Auris HSD’s major selling points is its class-leading fuel consumption. You are looking at an average fuel consumption figure of 3.8* L/100km and CO2 emissions of just 89*g/km making it exempt from emissions tax. No other car in its segment can touch the Auris HSD when it comes to this level of ‘greeness’.
*Applies to the XS HSD fitted with 15-inch alloys.
Take note, however, that over the course of any journey, Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive operates in different modes to maximise overall vehicle efficiency. When the car comes to rest, the engine stops automatically to conserve fuel. In low-efficiency conditions, such as at start-up and low to mid-range engine speeds, the vehicle automatically runs in EV mode, using just its electric motor and thus completely eliminating CO2 exhaust emissions. Under normal driving conditions, the source and allocation of power is constantly adjusted between the engine and electric motor to achieve the best performance with maximum fuel efficiency.
In addition to Auris hybrid’s NORMAL drive mode, the driver can select three further “on-demand” modes – EV, ECO and POWER – to increase driving efficiency, performance and fuel economy. From start-up and at speeds of less than 50km/h in NORMAL mode, Auris hybrid will automatically adopt EV mode to run on its electric motor alone (dependent on the level of battery charge and the prevailing driving conditions). EV mode can also be selected manually. The petrol motor will cut in automatically if the system determines that its output is needed, but EV mode allows for significantly greater throttle inputs without the engine starting up. In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive inputs from the accelerator pedal is reduced and performance of the air conditioning system is optimised to support fuel economy. The POWER mode modifies response to throttle inputs – 25 per cent higher response to accelerator pedal application than in NORMAL mode – boosting power to improve acceleration. The three on-demand driving modes are complimented by an Eco Drive Monitor which helps motorists adapt their driving style to achieve the best possible fuel efficiency. The multi-information display in the driver’s instrument cluster monitors the flow of energy through the Hybrid Synergy Drive system for each driving mode, helping the driver adopt a relaxed, fuel-efficient driving technique. There is also a simple and clear power consumption gauge in the combination meter, showing how much power is being used or generated at any time.
The transaxle, contained within a single, compact transmission casing, is at the heart of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The seamless, shift-by-wire E-CVT (electric continuously variable transmission) is controlled by an electric shift lever that is designed to always return to its “home” position when released. The shift position can also be checked on an indicator display in the driver’s instrument cluster.
A parking switch with an integrated indicator light, located next to the shift lever, allows a parking lock mechanism in the transmission gearing to be engaged or released. The lock is automatically deactivated when pulling away and engaged when the car is switched off.
Use of a multi-function geartrain helps keep the transaxle light and compact, and numerous measures have been taken to reduce component noise and driveshaft energy losses, helping to keep fuel consumption down. Toyota has used the world’s first internal tooth shaving process to achieve greater precision in the planetary gear ring and the lubrication system has been designed to reduce oil stir, with ball bearings used to minimise component friction.
Design and aesthetics
The exterior of Auris HSD differs from the rest of the range in that several new styling details have been added to improve the car’s aerodynamic performance and hence its fuel efficiency. The front bumper and spoiler have been revised and the lower grille enlarged to reduce airflow resistance and improve engine cooling. The upper grille has a single chrome blade design that is specific to this model.
The redesigned corners of the front bumper house a new foglamp configuration, incorporating LED running lights – once again unique to Auris HSD. The flat, vertical shape of the corner reinforces the car’s broad stance and driving stability and also redirects the airflow as it passes over the front wheels, minimising turbulence in the wheelarches.
In profile, Auris HSD is distinguished by the hybrid badging on the front wing and the bespoke aero-style 17-inch alloy wheels (the XS HSD is equipped with 15-inch alloys) with enlarged air gaps improve cooling airflow to the brakes. The rims are fitted with 215/45R17 low rolling resistance tyres. The wheel design supports the car’s overall aerodynamic efficiency, as does the large, roof-mounted rear spoiler.
At the rear, Auris HSD shares the stronger design introduced on the Auris 2010 range, including the “catamaran” style bumper profile, which accentuates the car’s muscular proportions and wide track. There is further HSD badging and a hybrid blue Toyota emblem on the rear door.
The aerodynamic modifications have reduced the car’s coefficient of drag from Cd 0.293 to 0.283, with a positive impact on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Auris HSD’s ride has been lowered by 5mm compared to its petrol and diesel-powered sister models. This further improves aerodynamic efficiency and stability at high speed. To compensate for the change in weight distribution brought about by the installation of the hybrid battery pack to the rear, the front and rear dampers have been tuned to maintain ride quality.
Moving indoors, Auris HSD’s interior benefits from the same improvements that were introduced in Auris 2010. Soft-touch materials cover the top of the instrument cluster and upper glovebox, and the centre console storage box is now shaped so that it also functions as an armrest. Audio and Bluetooth controls are incorporated in the reprofiled steering wheel.
The bridged centre console brings the shift lever, handbrake and instrumentation within the closest possible reach of the driver and has a bright metallic finish that matches that of the door handles. Changes to the colour and finish of the control panel have made the switch controls easier to distinguish and there is a new handbrake design with a lower seating in the release position.
The presence of Hybrid Synergy Drive means there are some specific modifications and new features in the cabin. The driver’s instrument binnacle has been revised with the tachometer replaced by the ECO Drive Assist Monitor. The centre-dial information panel includes additional HSD-specific information, such as the energy flow and ECO drive result monitors.
A hybrid blue push-button start control has been added to the side of the instrument cluster. The centre console incorporates the Parking Control switch; switches to select the EV, ECO and Power drive modes; and a hybrid blue and silver-finish transmission lever.
The Optitron instrumentation adopts white numbers on a hybrid blue background, with greenish-white night-time illumination for selected switches and controls.
The interior is finished in dark grey with a cloth upholstery that is specific to Auris XS HSD; Leather and Alcantara seat upholstery is standard on the XR HSD grade.
Auris HSD is offered in two specification grades – XS and XR
Key features of the standard XS HSD include:
XR HSD grade adds the following items: -
The new Auris HSD comes with a five-year/90 000 km Service Plan included in the purchase price (service intervals are every 15 000 km), along with Toyota's comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty. (Please note that the major hybrid power components on all of Toyota HSD models are covered by an 8-year/195 000km warranty.)
The Auris HSD is supported by the ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme and entitles customers to 24 hour roadside assistance, ensuring ultimate peace-of-mind motoring.