There’s a whole range of compacts available on the market these days. Some offer sportiness, some offer practicality, and some try to be the kind of radler beer that wants to be both alcoholic and non-alcoholic and is worse than both. And then there’s the Toyota Auris I.

Toyota Auris I, the official Toyota compact. Toyota Auris I, the official car of seniors who couldn’t afford the Toyota Avensis. Still, is it worth buying a Toyota Auris I even if you’re younger than 500 years old?

My honest answer is “Yes”. If I drink enough I can appear to be 3 people and give it those magical 3 “Yes”. If you want a compact city car that is reliable, decent, and makes your life easy and headache-free, it’s hard to beat the Auris. Here you are in the world of practical cars, where the Toyota Auris I is king. If you don’t know anything about cars and don’t want to, if for you the car is strictly a means of transport, then the Toyota Auris I does its job excellently.


What makes the Toyota Auris I such a good car in everyday life?

  • The interior space is enough for 4 passengers and the boot is decent enough for a short trip. What’s more, the boot has a low loading area and you can easily load heavier luggage.
  • The gearshift is seated high up on the dashboard, like on a van. This makes shifting gears much easier for those who are too lazy to shift but too poor for an automagic, or for those who are afraid they will break their hand and their muscles will snap off if they reach for the shifter.
  • Most Toyota engines are built to be abuse resistant. It doesn’t matter when and if they get new oil, these engines will keep on going and live off little resources. You might say they’re good engines for priests as they also should live modestly, but the only Toyota that priests drive is the Land Cruiser.


Toyota Auris I Engines


  • 1.33 1NR-FE of 101 horsepower  – The official Yaris engine that made it into the Toyota Auris I. You’d think the engine was too small for this class, and you’d be right. Just like a 20-year-old who goes to first grade to learn to write but can’t fit in the chair. Infamous issues on the cold start, oil consumption, and water pump issues.
  • 1.4 4ZZ-FE of 97 horsepower  – Related to the legendary 1ZZ-FE, this antique launched in 2000 is coming to drag the Toyota Auris I. Can it do that? No. At least it’s reliable, needing only quality oil changed regularly and a new timing kit replaced every 100,000 kms.
  • 1.5 1NZ-FE of 109 horsepower – Found mostly on the Japan and Asia models, this is the asian counterpart of the 1.6 1ZR-FE engine. Same reliability, same issues, same fuel economy.
  • 1.6 1ZR-FE and 1ZR-FAE 124 and 132 horsepower – A legendary engine know for it’s reliability, the 1.6 petrol only needs quality oil changed on time, a timing chain, and an occasional water pump. By far the simplest and most trouble-free engine on the Toyota Auris I.
  • 1.8 2ZR-FE and 2ZR-FAE of 136 and 147 horsepower – I could give copy paste of the above engine, being from the same family. Found on the hybrid version of the Toyota Auris I, it also needs quality oil, a timing chain changed every 150,000km, and an occasional new water pump.
  • 2.4 2AZ-FE of 161 horsepower – Reserved for the little known Toyota Blade, which was the father of the Auris Gazoo Racing. Too bad it came only with an CVT automatic. It’s like being bedridden in paradise.
  • 3.5 2GR-FE V6 of 280 horsepower –  Someone over at Toyota thought that an 2.4 litre 4-cyl petrol was far too boring for such an exciting car like the Auris. So they took their stablemate 3.5 V6 and installed on the all-new Toyota Blade Master. Tasty, but forgotten by time. Kind of like Tila Tequilla. 



  • 1.4 D-4D 1ND-TV 90 horsepower – Like the 1.33 petrol, this engine was originally designed for the Yaris and somehow found its way into the Toyota Auris I. An engine with no noticeable issues, but not enough power for this class of car.  
  • 2.0 D-4D 1AD-FTV 126 horsepower – Toyota’s last pure diesel Mohican. If it’s gonna get old enough it will develop EGR issues, oil consumption, oil pan gasket, water pump, and inefficient DPF regeneration leads to drowning diesel pistons. It’s like gathering all the problems under the sun and throwing them under the same bonnet. All of these issues can occur at high mileage, and a used Toyota 2.0 D-4D will always get high mileage.
  • 2.2 D-CAT 2AD-FHV – The legendary 2.2 D-CAT that ensured the Lexus IS would never have a diesel engine again, this engine goes through headgaskets like a student goes through beer after the last exam of the session.



1.8 hybrid of 136 horsepower  – The powertrain is taken from the Toyota Prius, packaged in the more normal looking Toyota Auris I body. Careful not to jump start it using the traditional method when the battery goes as flat as Snooki’s career in television. Also, the car needs to be driven regularly otherwise the whole system will drain itself out of juice and it will hurt more than when you get your fingers caught in the piano. Yes, batteries cost a lot to replace, but nowhere near comparable to a diesel engine and it’s double mass flywheel, injectors, particle filter or turbo.


Toyota Auris I Common Issues

  • There’s no onboard warning system for oil level or oil pressure, so keep an eye on the oil level and check it manually once a month. Most likely you’ll be the only Toyota owner in your city who does this.
  • Diesel engines also suffer from premature clutch and double mass flywheel wear, in addition to the particle filter which may clog like a toilet after eating mexican spicy food. Much like any modern diesel really,only that with the Japanese you’re gonna have a harder time than with others.
  • The steering column is a common Toyota issue and can be caused by anything from a trivial sensor to the entire steering column. Anything can happen, and if you hear strange sounds when you twist the steering wheel, you might be in for a service trip.


Toyota Auris I verdict

As I said in the opening, if you need a compact that’s reliable and doesn’t give you a headache, the Toyota Auris I is king. It’s no sport or design champion, but as a transport in the purest, fiscally responsible, efficient and dullest sense of the word, it’s hard to beat the Toyota Auris I.


Which engine do I recommend? By far I recommend the Toyota Auris I Hybrid. As I said, the batteries need to be changed every few hundred thousand kilometers and it still doesn’t cost  nowhere near as the classic diesel parts would. In terms of fuel economy the hybrid and diesel are about the same, but in the city the hybrid wins hands down. I won’t bother with the classic petrol either. Yes, it’s so good, the hybrid system taken from the Prius and put on the Toyota Auris. If you’re scared by the hybrid or it’s not available in your neighbourhood, then the 1.6 1ZR-FE and 1ZR-FAE of 124 and 132 horsepower are the second best choice.