Toyota Avensis Tourer full 9 point review
Petrol power is limited to a single 145bhp 1.8-litre engine, which is a little short of low-down shove and needs to be worked hard. The 124bhp 2.0-litre diesel is much more flexible, if still not exactly brisk. There’s also a 148bhp 2.2 that’s available with an automatic transmission, but it’s not much quicker than the 2.0.
Ride & Handling
The Avensis feels well off the pace compared with rivals such as the Ford Mondeo. It’s generally comfortable and at its best on the motorway, where the suspension quietly goes about its business. Throw in a few bends, though, and a shortage of steering precision and plenty of body roll quickly curtail any notion of enthusiastic driving.
It’s reasonably quiet around town and there's little to trouble you at speed, even if rough surfaces kick up some road noise. The diesel engines could be smoother and quieter, especially when being revved, but they’re decently hushed at a cruise. Pity the optional automatic gearbox isn’t a little smoother.
Buying & Owning
Despite similar performance figures, the 2.0 D-4D is far more economical than the 2.2-litre diesel, plus it costs less to insure and sits in a lower tax bracket. However, it's still not as efficient as the best family cars, so it will cost more to run as a company car. Resale values are nothing special.
Quality & Reliability
The Avensis doesn't provide the same feel-good factor as some rivals; the design and materials in its cabin are too bland for that. What's more, it was rated just average for reliability in the last JD Power customer satisfaction survey. At least everything feels solidly built and you get the reassurance of a five-year warranty.
Safety & Security
The Avensis comes with front, side and curtain airbags, and it has an airbag under the steering column to protect the driver's knees. There are also active front seat head restraints, along with a stability control system that helps get the driver out of danger in an emergency. Deadlocks and an alarm are fitted across the range.
Behind The Wheel
It doesn't score highly for style, but the Avensis's dashboard gets top marks for ease of use thanks to its bold, simple controls. The only quirk is the push-button handbrake, which takes some getting used to. The driver's seat is comfortable, although the system for adjusting the backrest angle is a little fiddly. Forward visibility is excellent, so it’s a shame that the thick rear pillars obscure your view behind.
Space & Practicality
The Avensis Tourer is a ‘proper’ – rather than lifestyle – estate, with maximum space taking priority over style. With the seats up there’s as much boot space as in a Ford Mondeo Estate. There’s not as much when they’re folded, but the load space is long and flat. There’s so much head- and legroom on board that no one will struggle for space.
Entry-level T2 models have the basics, including air-conditioning and an auxiliary input socket, but most buyers will upgrade to TR trim, which adds desirable features such as sat-nav, electric rear windows, automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth, alloy wheels and dual-zone climate control. Extras on T4 and T Spirit models include leather upholstery and fully electric driver's seat adjustment, but they push prices uncomfortably high.