What should I look for in a used Toyota Avensis hatchback?
A full service history is very important. The Avensis isn't the kind of car that needs to be regularly pampered in the workshop, but a complete maintenance record is vital to maximise its resale value.
So far, this version of the Avensis has, like its predecessor, shown itself to be extremely robust. No surprise there, because it's a Toyota. However, there have been reports of clutches failing as soon as 10,000 miles, especially on the diesels. Most will have been replaced under warranty. Some cars have trouble with water or condensation in the headlights and with bulb holders melting. Again, you should be able to persuade a Toyota dealer to fix it under the warranty if it's still valid.
Check the steering and brakes, too, as they can give trouble in rare instances. Finally, there have been a couple of recalls for brake-related issues and the steering column can rattle - a known problem - but it isn't dangerous.