Road Test: Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D T4 saloon
Sector: Upper-medium Price: £23,585 Fuel: 62.8mpg CO2:119g/km
Value and comfort may be rather prosaic ambitions, but not everyone can be ultra-dynamic and expensive.
Toyota knows this well, just as it knows that it can’t compete image-wise with the premium badges in the upper-medium sector. So instead it has turned its attention to making the Avensis a more attractive proposition to business drivers and operators, and also making the model more comfortable to drive.
A few tweaks to the body and suspension have delivered a very comfortable car in which to rack up big mileages with ease. While the pliant suspension is noticeable, so is the lack of wind noise or vibration into the cabin. Even at motorway speeds the Avensis displays a level of refinement which very few cars in the sector (or those from several sectors above) can match.
Also new is a revised version of the 124bhp 2.0-litre D-4D turbodiesel engine. Thanks to a host of under-bonnet tweaks such as lower friction parts and an improved combustion process, it is now 15% more fuel efficient, the Avensis returning a claimed 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 119g/km – a 14% reduction from the previous model’s 139g/km.
This engine perfectly suits the Avensis’ nature – torquey and quiet, it does its business of chugging the Toyota along with minimal fuss.
Revisions have also been made to the steering set-up to inject a more direct feel. This may be true, but because you get lulled into the Avensis’ easy-going gait you don’t ever feel the need to throw the car into corners to find out.
Toyota’s action on upping spec (integrated satellite navigation with Touch and Go Plus connectivity is now standard on all models), lowering emissions and boosting fuel economy have translated into some big gains in terms of running costs, with the new D-4D model cutting £2,000 of its total cost of ownership figures over three years and 60,000 miles, according to Kwik Carcost.
There’s a refreshing lack of marketing puff from Toyota when it comes to the Avensis… no claims of attracting younger lifestyle buyers, etc. Just two simple claims which have been backed up: making the car more attractive from a business point of view and making it more comfortable. As a mid-life refresh goes, Toyota has hit the nail on the head with the Avensis.