Toyota has truly upped its game, with the arrival of the new Avensis. It now benefits from a stylish design with a new front that incorporates new headlights, a new grille with a more noticeable Toyota emblem, along with a larger lower grille and integrated fog lights. The rear has been tweaked too, with new led light technology. This new improved Avensis is available to Irish motorists in a saloon and touring (estate) body style, we recently tested the saloon variant.
It’s good news when you sit inside the Avensis too. The cabin is uplifted through the use of quality materials and switch gear. Our test car had golden copper trim inserts on the dash and door cards which truly lift the appearance and enhance a sense of luxury. The Toyota Touch 2 infotainment system has an 8-inch touchscreen, an increase in size from the predecessor’s 6.1-inch. Navigating your way through the various menus for the radio and telephone etc. is effortless with unambiguous menus. This screen also acts as a monitor for the colour reversing camera. There are three grades to choose from, Aura, Luna and Sol. The entry-level Avensis (€25,870) comes equipped with cruise control, daytime running lights, 16” alloy wheels, front fog lights, a leather steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and Toyota’s pre-collision system. The Luna variant benefits from 17” alloy wheels, dual zone climate control, 8” display screen, a rear view camera, automatic wipers, Alcantara trim inserts and lane departure alert. Our test car was the Sol model which gains leather seats with Alcantara inserts, keyless entry and rear privacy glass.
There is a range of petrol and diesel engines powering the new Avensis, the petrol line-up consists of a 1.6-litre Valvematic engine and a 1.8-litre Valvematic MultiDrive unit. Undoubtedly the key seller for the Irish market will be the 1.6-litre D-4D diesel engine with pricing commencing from €27,710. There is also a 2.0-litre D-4D diesel engine with 143hp and 320Nm of torque priced from €31,450. We drove the 1.6-litre diesel unit which offers satisfactory power producing 116hp and 258Nm of torque. This engines works in harmony with a six-speed manual transmission that is light to touch. The Avensis handles with confidence around town, on the motorway and on country roads. One of its main competitors the Ford Mondeo has previously out shone the Avensis in the handling stakes. Now thanks to a strengthened bodyshell and improvements to the front and rear suspension the Avensis can stand tall against the competition.
New to the Avensis is Toyota’s Safety Sense, this consists of four active safety technologies. Standard across the range is Toyota’s pre-collision system, this uses a camera and laser to detect other vehicles in the road ahead. If a collision is detected between 15 to 140km/h there is an audible warning and brake assistance is activated if the driver fails to brake. The lane departure alert which is standard on the Luna and Sol grades detects lane markings in the road ahead and will alert the driver if the car starts to deviate from its lane without an indicator being turned on. The Automatic high beam (standard on the Luna and Sol grades) automatically switches between high and low beam for night time driving. Toyota’s road sign assist (standard on the Luna and Sol grades) displays the current speed limit in the driver’s cockpit display.
Aided by new styling, technology and powertrains this new Avensis is an extremely competent all-rounder. Our choice model is the Touring variant equipped with the 1.6-litre D-4D diesel engine in Luna or Sol grade.[table “222” not found /]