Used Toyota Avensis Hatchback 2003 - 2009 review

Category: Family car

Safe, dependable and spacious family transport

Toyota Avensis Hatchback (03 - 09)
  • Toyota Avensis Hatchback (03 - 09)
  • Toyota Avensis Hatchback (03 - 09)
Used Toyota Avensis Hatchback 2003 - 2009 review
Star rating

What's the used Toyota Avensis hatchback like?

This is such an easy car to live with. It's a doddle to get comfortable behind the wheel, the dashboard layout is intuitive and the well-weighted controls work with real precision.

It's practical, too, with plenty of oddment spaces around the driver, and four passengers won't be short of room in the solidly screwed-together cabin. The boot - hatch or saloon - is one of the largest in the class, too.


Safe, dependable and spacious family transport

  • Masses of safety kit and a five-star Euro NCAP rating
  • Noisy petrol engines, firm ride

You get plenty of equipment to keep you safe and comfortable, and the car secure (an alarm, deadlocks, marked parts and etched windows are standard).

On the road, too, the Avensis is similarly impressive, and the engines are refined, although the petrols can get noisy when you rev them hard. In this respect at least, the diesels are better and cruise in near silence.

Whatever engine you have under the bonnet, the Avensis goes round corners tidily, with little lean, and the firm ride is fine until you build up speed, when it can become jittery. Wind noise is well contained on the motorway, but road roar does intrude.

Ownership cost

What used Toyota Avensis hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Toyota Avensis hatchback?

You'll need to stump up a fair stash to get hold of one - the Avensis holds its value well as a used car. Still, that also means you should get back a good chunk of what you paid when you flog it on later.

That slow depreciation is typical of the car's fine running costs. Insurance costs are low, for example, partly because the Avensis carries so much safety and security kit. The 1.8 VVT-i and our favourite 2.0 D-4D turbodiesel are rated as group 7, and group 10 (for the 2.2 D-4D) is as bad as it gets.

Servicing will set you back about the same as for a Vauxhall Vectra. But, you can trim about one-third from the labour bill by using a good independent, according to Warranty Direct research. You'll be fine at the pumps, too. The worst you'll get in normal driving will be about 30mpg (the 2.4 petrol) but the other petrols give 35-40mpg and the diesels mid- to high-40s.

Our recommendations

Which used Toyota Avensis hatchback should I buy?

The saloon is slightly cheaper than the equivalent hatchback, but we'd pay the (very small) premium to have five doors. Access to the hatch's luggage area is easier and its split rear seats fold completely flat, whereas the saloon's sit slightly proud.

We'd also take the 114bhp 2.0-litre diesel for its smooth, refined pull and mile-stretching fuel economy. If you think that still won't be enough, there's also a very fine 148bhp 2.2 diesel, linked up to a six-speed manual gearbox, for even more punch.

That said, the petrol engines are all decent enough. The 1.8 can feel a little underpowered at times, so the 2.0 is a better bet, while a 161bhp 2.4 direct injection motor tops the range.

You'll certainly not want for safety kit, which includes twin front, side and curtain airbags, as well as one for the driver's knees, plus electronic driver aids. Air-con and a CD player are standard on all models; T3-S, T4 and T Spirit have sat-nav.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Toyota Avensis hatchback?