Yesterday, we reported on Toyota’s attempt to revive the TRD nameplate in South Africa with its supercharged Auris TRD, but also mentioned that the company not only added some spice to its line-up, but also some sugar; with the introduction of the Auris HSD, which shares its hybrid drive system with the company’s Prius.
The Auris HSD (hybrid synergy drive) is the first of Toyota’s mainstream products to make use of the company’s hybrid drive system – a trend that it plans to continue as Toyota will introduce hybrids to most of its line-up in the near future – including the Yaris HSD which should be available in South Africa mid-2012.
Under the bonnet, the Auris HSD has an in-line four-cylinder 1,8-litre VVT-i petrol engine, coupled with a battery powering an electric motor. The petrol engine develops 73 kW at 5 200 r/min and 142 N.m of torque at 4 000 r/min while the electric motor develops 60 kW and 207 N.m.
This is exactly the same setup as the current Prius (now in its fourth generation) and the much-maligned Lexus CT 200h, but – crucially – at a fraction of the cost of both these vehicles. The Auris HSD is among the most affordable hybrids around and, as far as a purchasing decision goes, probably the most conventional hybrid option. This bodes well for Toyota as the HSD is, in actual fact, a normal Auris, with no comfort or practical compromises having been made for its green propulsion.
The car is certainly no ball of fire and while its quoted 0-to-100-km/h sprint time of 11,4 seconds is respectable, in any driving mode other than “power”, the HSD can feel lethargic. In eco mode, the throttle response is reduced and the air-conditioning system regulated to optimise fuel efficiency and battery charge. The results speak for themselves as the Auris HSD (in XS guise fitted with 15-inch alloys) returns a combined fuel consumption figure of 3,8 litres/100 km and a CO2 emissions figure of 89 g/km – making it the most frugal car in its segment and, regardless of its peppiness or lack thereof, that is what the Auris HSD is all about.
Drive goes to the front wheels via an e-CVT transmission, which works perfectly fine under normal driving conditions. But, as we’ve experienced with the Prius, when in power mode, the transmission revs very high and, as with all CVTs, hangs on to a gear in order to maximise power delivery. This can be irritating and loud.
The car rides 5 mm closer to the ground compared with its conventional stable mates and the suspension has been modified to carry the extra weight of the battery. Its ride quality is actually very good and, because the heavy battery pack has been fitted to the rear, the car is no less responsive to steering inputs that any other Auris.
The range consists of two derivatives, the Xs and XR: The XS has climate control, an audio system with radio/CD/MP3/USB/Bluetooth/aux-in and steering-wheel controls as standard, as well as colour-matched exterior door handles, seven airbags and stability control. It drives on 15-inch alloys. The XR adds leather and alcantara upholstery, cruise control, auto headlamps and wipers, smarty entry and start, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and 17-inch alloy rims.
Auris XS HSD R267 200
Auris XR HSD R289 800
Both come standard with a five-year/90 000 km service plan as well as a three-year/100 000 km warranty. The major hybrid components of the HSD are covered by an eight-year/195 000 km warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.