I bought the car as a nearly-new ex demonstrator five months ago. It has proved to be far better than other cars I have owned, much better that the outgoing VW Passat.
It has been totally reliable, is quiet and feels safe. There is loads of space inside and everything has a quality feel. Fuel economy is outstanding for a large petrol car, and insurance costs are very low.
To drive, it is hardly sporty, and even a bit dull, but it goes well enough and holds the road extremely well. The brakes are excellent and it generally imparts a feling of solid security on the road.
It has proved very comfortable for me at six feet and my wife who is about a foot shorter. The boot is huge and there is loads of space for alll the kids' stuff.
All in all, a highly competent car. If you want a sports car go elsewhere, but as a family car it takes some beating.
I bought this car in March 2004. I wanted a safe, reliable, fuel efficient machine with lots of room.
The diesel estate Avensis fulfils all of these requirements - and more. Everything works as it should - with the possible exception on the air-con, which struggles a little when its very hot - and has to be used on a high setting. I get fantastic mpg around town for such a large car - and it is a large car in the estate version - you get a LOT of room.
The whole driving experience is one of quality, and smoothness. The TDI is responsive, and the brakes are excellent. It was a risk for me spending so much more on a car than I normally do - but I have no regrets that I made the decision to go ahead with this Toyota - I can thoroughly recommend it.
The car was delivered new in May 2004 and not one single item has failed or given any reason for concern or complaint, now having passed 15,000 km on the clock.
The handling is very good with the focus on safety and comfort. Consequently, it cannot be considered a sporty vehicle.
ABS and stability control is very effective in icy and snowy driving conditions. Traction is very good using Viking Continental "friction" (not studded) winter tyres. Heating and A/C are powerful in wintery conditions on the south-westerly coast of Norway.
I am very pleased with the professionalism and friendliness shown by the salesman and workshop (the latter I've only visited once for a standard 15,000km service).
I took out a demonstrator before ordering and didn't want to give it back. If you try out the back seats for legroom, don't forget the childlocks on the doors as it's quite a scramble into the front cabin if there's no-one around to help!!
It's 21 months old now and with 53,000 on the clock. A wonderful smooth cruise on the motorways, a real big car feel and an imposing presence. It has oceans of boot space for holidays. I am very tall and have had back problems, so a good driving position and comfortable seats are high on my priority list.
Not so good on twisty bumpy roads, some acceleration dead spots, especially trying to pull out at junctions in second gear at very low speed. Often have to come down an extra gear to get some real oomph for overtaking, not too bad when alone but noticeable when the teenagers are onboard.
Good sound system and climate control. Both headlight bulbs failed at 45,000, annoyingly within days of each other. Why don't they replace these things in pairs and avoid the extra trip to the garage? I would consider the 2.0 VVTi T4 next time, but quite a hike in CO2 tax liability.
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