The Toyota Avensis Touring Sports is the Japanese brand’s entrant in the big family estate class. Its core rivals are the Ford Mondeo, VW Passat and Skoda Superb Estates, against which the Avensis struggles to make a case. Sure, this estate variant of the Toyota Avensis is reasonably well priced, and has the benefit of a five-year/100,000-mile warranty that makes this an appealing long-term prospect.
However, in the family estate class, interior space and practicality rank high and the Toyota is not as roomy or as functional as the Mondeo, and is even further behind the excellent Superb Estate that leads this class.
It’s also not as refined and not as enjoyable to drive as the alternatives, and it’s short of engine options. Toyota only offers three engine options – a 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesel, and a 1.8-litre petrol, and while these will serve the purposes of plenty of buyers, there’s none of the breadth of options you’d expect. You can’t have an automatic gearbox with either diesel engine, for instance.
If you do find the Toyota’s workhorse nature and reputation for reliability tempting, we’d opt for the 2.0-litre diesel - an engine that combines reasonable CO2 emissions with respectable performance. The 1.6-litre car may be more economical but it feels sluggish on the road.
We would avoid entry-level Active models (partly because you can’t have the bigger diesel) and go for Business Edition trim. This adds climate control, sat-nav, alloy wheels and a rear-view camera.