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Like the car it replaces, the third-generation Toyota Avensis is a well engineered, tightly built and practical vehicle, both in saloon and Tourer forms.

It is a car that now pulls off the not inconsiderable task of near combining class-leading performance with reasonably impressive economy and emissions figures. This alone is evidence of the engineering effort Toyota has poured into its development. 

We wish Toyota had made the Avensis a more gratifying car to own and drive

There are a few faults, especially the ride – it’s fidgety and a bit uncomfy around town where neither the primary or secondary ride is especially well resolved. Things are better on the motorway where the Avensis really comes into its own as a comfortable and refined cruiser.

Refinement is a bit of an issue around town with the diesel engines – they’re a bit rattly by modern standards. Some of our testers also found the seats less than comfortable.  

If your search begins and ends with a car that will transport you and yours quietly, safely and reliably, the Avensis will prove wholly satisfactory. There’s plenty of space inside, a decent level of equipment and residual values are surprisingly good for a mainstream D-segment car.

If only Toyota had spent a little longer making it a little more visually desirable inside and out, those resale values could be so much better. As it is, the Avensis appeals more to the head than the heart.

As enthusiasts, we also wish Toyota could have diverted a little more effort into making the Avensis a more satisfying, engaging car to drive and own. Because what it lacks most is sparkle.