Carry a birthday girl, mum, dad and all the party goodies in one car? Piece of cake; MailmotorsEDITED BY MAGGIE BARRY; Toyota's Auris is winning the space race.
Byline: Liz Cowan
When it comes to putting test cars through their paces, some weeks work out better than others.
This week was my daughter's fifth birthday and I was dreading the three trips it was going to take me to get the party bags, lunch boxes, balloons and cake to her party venue.
Then like a knight in shining armour, lovely Toyota sent me an Auris Touring Sports to test-drive.
This estate model couldn't have come at a better time. I managed to get myself, hubby, Sophie and all the party goodies on board and only had to make one trip. Result.
On the size front, it gets the thumbs up from me. I had it packed to the gunwales and despite some of the party paraphernalia spilling into the cabin, it still felt spacious.
The cabin is well bolted together and the outside is sleek and stylish.
This car offers a comfortable ride, is easy to manoeuvre, has responsive steering and, thanks to plenty of parking aids, getting into a tight spot is a breeze.
On the inside, the Auris has a dashboard that is clutter-free and well laid out. The touchscreen system is easy to operate and controls everything from radio station choice to the sat nav.
My model had the excellent 1.2 petrol turbo engine, which is relatively let's Toyota new to the Toyota range in the UK and the drive was punchy and swift.
The good news is that this engine is also economical to run.
Toyota cars have a fantastic reputation for reliability and build quality and with my model, you really get a lot of bang for your buck.
My model also had follow-me-home headlamps that can be adjusted for the length of time you want the lights to stay on after you switch the car off, another very useful tool if you want some light as you make your way to your front door.
There are plenty of safety devices on board too including hill-start assist, which stops you rolling backwards as you start to move off, and emergency brake signalling.
This switches on the hazard lights automatically if you brake suddenly and hard. The Auris is a very capable family car that won't break the bank to own brand new and will also deliver excellent running costs.
TECH SPEC Toyota Auris Touring Sports Combined fuel economy 52.3mpg 0-62mph 10.1 seconds CO2 124g/km Price PS20,595
let's party The Toyota Auris is a winner