9. Toyota Avensis

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9. Toyota Avensis
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Jim Holder
6 Oct 2008 10:35

Toyota unveils the third-generation Avensis family car at Paris before the car goes on sale in the UK in January from about 15,500.

Sure, it's no show-stopper to look at, but it oozes practicality and will sell by the bucket-load.

There's more space in the cabin and boot as well as lower emissions and fuel consumption. Power increases across the range, too. Toyota also reckons the Avensis is better to drive than before, something we'll be put to the test in December.

From launch, the saloon and estate will be available with three diesel and three petrol engine options and four trim levels. A continuously-variable Multidrive S transmission is available on the petrol engine, while the diesel comes with an automatic option for the first time.

All models will be fitted with seven airbags as standard (including a knee airbag), stability control, front electric windows, CD stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls and remote central locking.

While entry-level models get steel wheels and manual air-conditioning, every other in the range has alloys and climate control.

Top-end options include a package of hi-tech features, such as adaptive cruise control, which speeds up and slows down the car according to traffic conditions, and Lane Keep Assist, which can steer you along the motorway (as long as you continue to hold on to the steering wheel).

There's also a pre-crash safety system on offer. This detects if a collision is unavoidable and does its best to minimise impact speeds and injuries by pre-loading the brakes and tensioning the seatbelt in anticipation of the collision.