When you factor in steering that feels precise enough without ever really telling you what’s going on, a strange grittiness to the gearbox when moving the stick left to right and stability control that can’t be turned off, you have a car that should be avoided by the keen driver. A Ford Mondeo certainly has nothing to fear.
Inside, the Avensis remains a spacious choice, albeit not quite on the level of the huge Skoda Superb. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of rear head and legroom for adults, and centre-seat occupants will appreciate the flat floor.
Up front, drivers get plenty of adjustment for both the steering wheel and seat, including adjustable lumbar support on all but basic Active models. You also get a good-sized boot, although hatchback-bodied rivals are easier to load.
As for the new dash, it may look a little more contemporary than the old one but it still lags behind those in the Skoda Superb or Volkswagen Passat. Not only is it bland, there is a surprising amount of cheap-feeling plastic in areas you interact with regularly.
We’re also not the biggest fans of its infotainment system. It may have standard sat-nav but it can be laggy, and the graphics look dated. Even worse, the screen sometimes goes black when you’re navigating between functions, something that proves distracting during the hours of darkness.
Should I buy one?
Make no mistake; the Avensis is by no means a bad car. It has a five-year/100,0000-mile warranty, plenty of equipment, and it's generally comfortable to drive. For those that are even slightly interested in the way a car handles, though, there’s little of interest here. Those buyers are still best off in a Mondeo.
Yet, even wearing our sensible hat, it’s hard to build a case for the Avensis when you could instead have a Skoda Superb. Certainly not when they cost similar money, and offer more room and cheaper running costs.
Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D Business Edition
Location West Sussex; On sale Now; Price £23,155; Engine 4 cyls inline, 1995cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 141bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 221Ib ft at 1750-2250rpm; Kerb weight 1470kg; Gearbox 6-spd manual; 0-62mph 9.5s; Top speed 124mph; Economy 62.8mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 119g/km, 21%