More often than not, it will have its own nomenclature (OPC, GTI, ST, STI, etc) so the rest of the world can see that its owner went for the absolute best and fastest a specific range has to offer.
The halo model in the Toyota Auris range is called the HSD. There are currently no plans to introduce a go-faster model above the HSD, so at the moment it’s the best the Auris range has to offer the consumer. Everybody else has a hot hatch in the top spot, but Toyota went the other direction. The top spot in its hatch range is taken up by a hybrid.
Not that the HSD competes with the above-mentioned hot hatches in any way, but it does show where the Japanese manufacturer is concentrating its efforts.
Perhaps it’s not such a bad idea. With the price of unleaded escalating every month, the Auris HSD might just be the most relevant hatch on sale in South Africa.
Unlike other halo hatches, the Auris isn’t a ball of fire. In combination, the petrol and electric motor generate a maximum power output of 100kW and 207Nm. It’s enough power to make the HSD perfectly acceptable on a day-to-day basis, but if you’re looking for something more engaging, look somewhere else.
If, however, you want a car that will enable you to get as many miles out of your hard-earned cash as possible, this is the place to be.
Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption figure of just 3.8 litres/100km and while I knew for certain I wasn’t going to get anywhere near that, the results still astounded me. My final consumption figure, without adapting my driving style, was somewhere in the middle fives.
I’m quite sure that if you were to follow the green-o-meter dials, you could get within a litre of Toyota’s claimed figure. You also get the advantage of driving on electric power only for a few kilometres before the engine steps in. I got such a kick out of driving kilometre after kilometre at crawling pace, knowing I wasn’t using any fuel whatsoever.
I also like the fact that there’s no real compromise with this hybrid. Interior space is still generous and it looks the same as any other Auris out there. The fact that it’s a hybrid isn’t presented in an in-your-face manner, so you have none of that I’m-a-greenie-so-I’m-better-than-you stigma attached to it.
The cosmetic add-ons only feature where it really matters - on the inside. The bespoke Ice Grey leather is very nice and adds a touch of elegance to the cabin. As the top model, the HSD is equipped with niceties like dual climate control, touch-screen display audio with Bluetooth, reverse camera, leather multifunction steering wheel, smart entry, cruise control and heated seats.
At the price it offers a nice high-tech alternative to the other hatches out there. It’s perfect for early adapters who want a car that says it’s frugal on the box and makes that frugality as easy as possible to access.