What is it?
This is the Toyota Avensis Tourer, the estate version of the third-generation Toyota Avensis.
Of the two body styles available from launch, the Toyota Avensis Tourer, with its more substantial proportions, that feels the more successful interpretation of a euro-friendly large family car. Having said that, the Avensis is no more of a looker than a Ford Mondeo or Honda Accord estate.
Much emphasis has been placed on this Avensis’s potential for lower running costs. This is in comparison not only with the outgoing model, the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of which it substantially improves upon, but also its rivals, most of which it betters as well.
Some of the economy gains have been made through a new range of so-called Valvematic petrol engines, which have the ability to alter the degree of inlet valve lift. This largely eliminates the role of the throttle body butterfly valve, reducing pumping losses and allowing for more acutely optimised combustion.
The 42.8mpg combined and 155g/km achieved by the 1.8-litre petrol engine we test here, for instance, are very competitive.
What’s it like?
Not quite what you’d hope, given Toyota’s ambition for this car. On the plus side, the Tourer is modestly handsome, the interior finish is a decisive improvement over the previous model’s and the equipment you get is comfortingly generous.