The Avensis is effortless to drive and the interior is comfy and easy to use. Most models are well equipped and benefit from comparatively low ownership costs.
The Avensis looks bland, inside and out. It’s not as much fun to drive as a Mondeo and the pricier models aren’t significantly better than the cheap ones.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
You couldn’t criticise any of the estate’s engines for being short on performance, but the extra grunt of the diesels make them the most sensible choices, especially if a full boot will be a regular fixture of your motoring life. And, if you will regularly have the car fully laden, go for the 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is the only one to feel strong enough when the car is loaded to the gunwales.
Ride & Handling
The Avensis is certainly a pleasant car to drive, if not an exciting one. It has good body control, with or without a full load, and a comfortable ride, particularly at higher speeds, when it loses the firm edge it has around town. The Avensis has decent grip, too, but the steering does not have much feel and, at the wheel, you will always be aware of the car’s size, whereas some other rival models seem to shrink around their driver.
The diesel engines are quiet, as are the petrol engines – most of the time. However, at high revs, they sound coarse and you can feel some vibration through the clutch pedal and gearlever. Wind noise is well contained, but you are aware of some road noise in the cabin, although all the controls work with the precision we've come to expect of Toyotas.