Toyota Auris hybrid e-car

Town and out in a Prius-powered hatchback

The dashboard layout and instruments are, however, an improvement. While giving you the same information as the Prius' high-tech fascia, everything is simpler and more conventional and thus easier to understand. The funky blue drive selector is carried over from the Prius.

Toyota Auris

Centre console detail is more intuitive

The driving position is higher than in the Prius which is better for visibility but not so good for getting a feel of the road when making time. With less attention paid to a wind-cheating profile, the Auris is a lot easier to see out of through the rear window, which pays dividends when going backwards unaided by the optional £1,200 Navigation Pack and reversing camera.

Toyota Auris

Power flow information

The car's humble origins do however show up on the open road. While everything is perfectly acceptable by c-segment standards, the Prius is definitely quieter, smoother and more refined.  The CVT-induced trait of revs-before-action makes engine noise rather noticeable when pushing hard and startlingly the brakes are even more lifeless and abrupt than in the Prius, which makes gentle retardation an acquired art.

Toyota Auris

Features the same Hybrid Synergy Drive as the Prius, although it's a noisier driving experience

It's in these inevitable comparisons with its Toyota big brother and Honda's hybrid offerings that a couple of problems crop up. The first is price. The entry model will set you back £19,138 while the kit-ladden T-Spirit I had on test will lighten your wallet to the tune of £20,881. That's perilously close to the £20,265 - £23,398 price of the larger and better looking Prius.

Sponsored: How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers

Next page: Verdict