From £7,755
The Avensis has been mildly sharpened to remain a strong contender in the class. That the new 2.0-litre diesel is a fine engine only adds to its real-world appeal.

Our Verdict

Toyota Avensis
Toyota tries to maintain the substance and turn up the style

The Toyota Avensis is adequate but generally underwhelming family transport

What's new? The Derbyshire-built Avensis has a freshened exterior and some revised mechanicals along with introducing Toyota’s all new 2.0-litre D-4D engine. The front and rear bumpers may look very similar, but have been re-styled. The door mirrors now have integrated indicators. The interior has new trim, the T 3-X specification providing climate control, dusk-sensing lights and traction control as standard. The Avensis also has a five star EuroNCAP rating. What's it like? Impressive, if a little uninspiring. The D-4D 130 is a talented unit. It offers more power, more torque and better acceleration yet produces fewer emissions than the 2.0-litre it replaces. It’s quiet, refined and flexible and, when mated to the standard long-legged six speed ‘box, makes this car is an excellent motorway companion. The ride is firm yet supple thanks to re-tuned shock absorbers and thicker anti-roll bars. The body control when cornering is better, though the steering lacks the precision of the Ford Mondeo's. However, superb ergonomics and a near faultless driving position mean you can drive for hours in this car without plotting your next visit to the chiropractor. But there are still a few mutterings. Wind noise manages to infiltrate the cabin above the windscreen and the brake pedal feels a bit spongy: a symptom uncharacteristic of all the other controls, which feel tight and sharp. Should I buy one? If you don’t mind owning a car that won't stir your emotions and offers little by way of driving pleasure, the Avensis is a rare breed of family car that does everything very well. Decent space, a great engine, refinement and undisputed reliability definitely make this car worth considering. Jon Quirk

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