Toyota Avensis Business Edition Plus 1.6L D4D
£23,795 on the road

THE NEW Toyota Avensis has been given a facelift and is now more economical and more appealing.

The car has undergone a significant design overhaul, not by Toyota in Japan but almost entirely by the company's European arm.

The most notable change is a more prestigious look, including a front end which now has a wider appearance thanks to the use of slimmer headlights.

As well as its new face, the Avensis has new diesel engines sourced from BMW - a major plus point.

The redesigned front seats are also very impressive, providing enhanced comfort for long-distance journeys thanks to new shaping that spreads the body's pressure better, reducing fatigue.

The amount of standard equipment, including a package of active safety systems, is also worthy of note.

It seems likely that Toyota is targeting business drivers, with lower emissions and more comfort – two factors that are bound to appeal to high-mileage motorists.

Toyota says around 87 per cent of Avensis customers will buy them as company cars, and with two 'Business Edition' trim grades the firm is clear about its target audience. That said, the big boot at the back and the promise of trouble-free motoring for half a decade should make the Avensis appealing to parents, too.

While it might not set the pulse racing, there's no doubt that the Avensis is comfortable, smooth and benefits from Toyota's reputation for good reliability.

Perhaps the space on offer within this saloon, combined with low-cost and reliable motoring, also helps to explain the Avensis' popularity among Yorkshire's private hire drivers.

Indeed, rear seat passengers are blessed with plenty of room. Meanwhile, there is more than 500 litres of boot space to play with in the saloon.

The biggest improvements have come behind the wheel, where the car benefits from a new power steering calibration and proven BMW engine designs, giving it more punchy acceleration.

In terms of the controls, there's a new responsiveness and balance that was perhaps a little lacking on earlier models.

The 1.6-litre engine, tested here, is the most frugal on paper, with more than 75mpg theoretically possible. However, you'll have to work the engine pretty hard in the hills of Yorkshire, so expect returns that are at least 20 to 30mpg lower on such roads.

Of course, the motorway is where the Avensis really comes into its own in terms of fuel economy, with its tall gearing allowing it to return around 1,800rpm at 70mph, which is low enough for excellent cruising economy.

In the cabin, Toyota's Touch 2 media and sat-nav interface is a decent piece of kit, responding quickly to route changes.

Potential buyers would be wise to budget well over £20,000 for a mid-spec diesel, which is not cheap and brings it into line with some tough opposition. But the Avensis certainly feels to be a good all-round package, while the five-year, 100,000-mile warranty a sure sign that Toyota has confidence in the product.


  • Performance: Top speed of 115mph and 0-62 in 11.4 seconds
  • Transmission: six-speed manual, front wheel drive
  • Economy: 67.3mpg combined, 108g/km
  • Warranty: 5-year/100,000 miles
  • Insurance group: 12E


  • ECONOMY: *****
  • SPACE: ****
  • EQUIPMENT: *****
  • SECURITY: ****
  • VALUE: ****
  • OVERALL: ****