This new Toyota Avensis is significantly more European in appearance than the old model, unquestionably, but if you are searching – inside or out – for the kind of flair that moves richly through motors like the Vauxhall Insignia, or of course small executive vehicles that most D-sector motors aspire to be like, the Avensis remains wanting.
under the surface, the latest Toyota Avensis is founded on what toyota UK refers to as a fresh platform, however has stayed with techniques it knows to attach in to the new metalware - engines and gearboxes are fundamentally a advancement of what has gone before, with a variety of degrees of improvement.
In the example of our test car – a core-specification 148 horsepower diesel which is anticipated to function as the major seller. Transmission is a 6-speed stick shift, a unit carried over from the prior car.
Moderately taller gear ratios when compared to some rivals imply the Avensis' in-gear performance isn't so all-conquering. Away from the race track, , the spread of power and torque proves as useful for give-and-take road use as it does outright acceleration, & on the dual carriageways the Toyota is an uncomplicated car to drive.
Driven swiftly round corners, The Toyota Avensis is simple to alter course, steers effectively and grips well.
The Toyota's primary fault though, is it's ride. While remarkably compliant, it manages to partner a jitteriness over modest, sharp ridges (primarily at small velocities) with insufficient body handling over tougher highway surfaces.
Sturdy & dour were two phrases that kept on turning up as various testers emerged from the Avensis. It can be tricky not to be satisfied by the tightly constructed dashboard, tight-fitting components & overall impression of indestructibility.
We would guess that if you were to get the present-day crop of family cars & drive them for 300,000 miles, it would be the Toyota’s internals that would last longest.
Even so, alongside the swooping, stylish interiors of some rivals – the Vauxhall Insignia specifically – the Avensis offers its passengers very little when it comes to passion.
The lines of the fascia are clean & the contrast between the textured dash and the charcoal-effect centre unit standard on high-specification versions is successful, nevertheless the expanses of flat surfaces provide a subdued feel.
Lacking pizzazz is not the Avensis’s only ailment. While the touch-screen sat-nav with its adjoining control buttons is successful & the dials are clear, the placement and design of a number of ancillary controls are much less acceptable.
Other than a few road testers protesting that the seat designs turned out to be insufficiently comfortable for longer excursions, there is little else to fault in the cabin accommodation. There is adequate seat and steering wheel realignment to suit a good number of individuals, & the rear cabin, if not quite as accommodating as the Mondeo, is pretty good in this sector.
Exactly like the vehicle it replaces, the 3rd-generation Avensis is actually a well designed, tightly built and functional family saloon. One which now pulls off the difficult task of merging sector-leading speed with similarly impressive economy and emissions statistics.
This alone is proof of the design effort Toyota has added into its growth. There are a few issues, namely an unresolved ride, not comfortable seats and an in some cases raucous engine, but neither are important problems.
If your search for the ideal machine starts & finishes requiring a car which will carry you and yours quietly & securely, the Toyota will be wholly satisfactory.
At the same time, as driving enthusiasts, we wish Toyota had placed more focus towards making the Toyota Avensis a more enjoyable, engaging car to drive & keep. Mainly because what it really is short of most is sparkle.