A history lesson…
The Toyota Avensis was released in 1997 and we’re now on the third instalment. The latest model, which was released in 2009, looks about as conservative as any car before it but underneath it’s quite a different story.
With Toyota’s bulletproof reliability, strong build quality and technological advancements, the Avensis has always been a no-brainer for the saloon-buyer who wants to look after their finances. It’s never been the premium saloon it sometimes pretends to be, but a true rival to the Mondeo? Most definitely.
And with 1.5 million Avensis models leaving the production plant in Derbyshire, it shows the sales strength of the Avensis name even in this tough climate.
Bang for your buck
Look at the Avensis like you’d look at the Mondeo: a cheap, practical saloon. It’s nowhere near 3-Series or C-Class levels luxury or prestige, but what it does offer respectable levels of luxury and, more importantly, value for money.
The Avensis features pretty much the same kit as any 3-Series and yet costs thousands less. There’s a vast amount of diesel, petrol and even hybrid engines to choose from, and with Toyota’s excellent reliability you’re ensured of a painless relationship.
What you’ll pay
The ultra-popular 2.0 D-4D T2 variant is around £7,300. Prices for the Avensis are still quite high – especially for the newest model – but rest assured that you are buying a quality car with the potential to hit hundreds of thousands of miles.
What to check
Nothing really. It’s the beauty of having a Toyota; they hardly ever break down. All you need to check is that all the electronics are working and you should be on to a winner.
A clutch assembly will cost around £185, while an exhaust is £375. A new starter motor retails for around £175, which is more expensive than its French rivals but is still relatively respectable for a big saloon car.
How it drives
It drives how it looks: well. That’s not to say it’s good or bad, it’s just ok. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s conservative, unassuming, easy to drive and very good for economy. It won’t blow you away with multi-link suspension or even push your head into the headrest with incredible g-forces, because, well, it can’t.
If you were really harsh, you’d probably say the Avensis is boring, but in reality, it’s not. It’s just a car for people who don’t want any fuss; who just want to drive with as little issues as possible and save some money whilst doing it.
The boot space is very good, it’s well-made, comfortable, inconspicuous and has good residuals. Really, it’s the perfect saloon for the economy we’re currently living in. And for that, you have to consider it as an option, if nothing else.