As you’d hope from a car destined to rack up serious mileage, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel of the Avensis. Both the driver’s seat and steering wheel have plenty of movement, although we’d like it to drop a touch lower to accommodate the truly lanky, while all but entry-level Active models receive adjustable lumbar support. The dash is also fairly straightforward, with all the main controls where you expect them to be, and visibility all-round is among the best in class, albeit a fraction behind the Superb for the visibility to the rear three-quarters.
Disappointingly, there’s a significant amount of scratchy feeling plastics in areas you often interact with. For example, the door grab handles are made out of a hard, glossy plastic that isn’t particularly tactile and easily attracts greasy marks. Ultimately, a Superb feels much classier inside, and a Passat feels vastly more premium.
That’s not to say that the materials won’t be very durable, but as a whole the interior looks a bit drab and uninspiring compared to the aforementioned rivals.
Even the infotainment system looks and feels dated; the 8.0in colour screen is too slow to respond, and can be distracting at night as it’s prone to showing a black screen when switching between displays.
The main screen is augmented by a smaller display in front of the driver. This displays additional data clearly enough and is simple to navigate. Some other controls look a little dated, especially the LCD display for the climate control, and the dials to control it feel flimsy.
Even basic Active models get electric heated mirrors, cruise control, air-con and a Bluetooth hands free system. Moving up to Business Edition adds climate control, alloys and sat-nav, among other goodies.