The quality dictator
Stable, safe and designed to respond to the European roads, this is the latest family saloon fromToyota.
Car surveys all over the world have at
least one Toyota model in a leading place
of customer satisfaction and reliability.
This ranking doesn't come as a surprise
for Toyota since their communication
campaign on superior quality will show
their logo for the international sign of
A model that has tried to concentrate this concept of quality is the Avensis, aimed at the heart of the family saloon or Volume D segment. competition in this segment is fierce, as each producer attempts to up the ante with a clever combination of interior features, innovative tweaks to its engines and sophisticated exterior design. This is why the key words the designers of the new Avensis have used to describe their new car are modernity, dynamism and sophistication.
The Toyota Avensis is clearly a progression over the previous model. Designed in France, for European tastes and road condition, the engineers have managed to produce a car with outstanding ride features, low noise and increased comfort.
On boarding, one is first arrested by a sense of safety and durability. The optitro n dashboard lights are spectacularly designed, encircled in snazzy chrome. Although the test drive car was more than one year old and had clocked up about 35,000 km, no sign of wear or tear was evident. The upholstery of the chairs was in perfect shape, as well as other parts of the interior such as door handles or gear shift knob, which is usually subject to scratches and signs of early wear.
Since its launch, Toyota
Avensis has proven to be a best
seller in one of the most
competitive segments of the
European car market. With its introduction Toyota is raising, once again, the standards of
design, innovation, driving
pleasure and quality.
Soft touch materials on the dashboard and door panels give a feeling of comfort and safety.
On-board luxury and comfort include the dual-zone air conditioning control, which allows driver and front passenger to pre-select a temperature to create their own individual climate. Another interesting feature is the hot gas heater, which is available for the D-4D diesel engine. The audio
system manages to combine the radio, cassette and CD player functions into one standardsized unit, while the large switches and clear design not only look good, they make operating the audio system easy.
It should come as no surprise that the new Avensis boasts a standard equipment list that also takes it into the premium segment. Other luxury comfort features include power seats with ten-way adjustment for the driver's seat and four-way adjustment for the front passenger seat, heaters are also available, as are automatic wiper sensors.
Many customers will use the new Toyota Avensis for both every-day activities and also for weekend trips or long holiday drives with their family. This means convenience becomes as important as comfort in every situation. Rear seats are split to fold 60:40 on all models and, on the Liftback andWagon, double fold to create a flat floor space.
Avensis's engineers have
developed a car tuned for
European roads and there is
no greater challenge for a
driver than Romania's
The prototype was tested on more than 2,000,000 km along the widest variety of European roads to see how it would perform and to adapt
various aspects of its performance to deal with problems particular to these differing road conditions.
The result is a car with a saloon feel, while the suspension filters with ease the bumps in the road without compromising handling or stability.
The rear suspension uses a double wishbone module derived from the Toyota Celica sports coupe, widely recognized as one of the best handling cars in its class.
ToyotaAvensis has a choice of three
petrol engines from 1.6 litre to 2.0 litre
and one diesel engine of 2.0 litre. All
engines comply with the EURO V
The 2.0 D-4D engine that equipped the test drive car has a variable nozzle turbocharger, allowing an appreciable gain in power and torque. The diesel engine behaves in a similar way to the petrol option, with fast acceleration and surprisingly low noise due to the use of innovative and highly effective sound absorption materials.
In the petrol engined-versions, theToyota Avensis offers a second generation 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine, that offers fast acceleration and an average fuel consumption of only 8.1 l/100km.
The lively engines are backed by a finely-tuned gear shift that changes with precision and even gives a sporty feeling using short gear ratios. As a driver, I particularly enjoyed the placement of the gear shift at the exact height necessary for a minimum hand move from the wheel or arm rest. Models in the range are offered with the option of a multi-mode automatic transmission, offering drivers the choice of automatic or sequential shift operation.
First up is the very high five-star
rating in theEURONCAPcrash tests.
All models in the newToyotaAvensis range have anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution as standard, with brake assist available with two-litre engines.
The use of large-dimension disc brakes all round contributes to excellent braking feel and effective stopping performance.
Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control is available on selected models to offer greater control, driving enjoyment and safety under slippery
conditions or during high performance motoring. Further active safety is available through the optional high intensity discharge headlamps, which
offer near-daylight illumination.
The airbags are present all over the car, with a premiere 18-liter knee airbag that deploys from the panel beneath the steering column.
The knee airbag is just one element of the advanced Supplemental Restraint System installed in the new Avensis, which takes passive safety protection to new standards in theDsegment and gives the front passengers the feel, in an accident, of being dive-bombed into a bouncy castle. ISO-fix child seat fittings in the rear seat are standard equipment and the Child Restraint System (CRS) is also equipped with a top tether to help prevent the child seat from tipping forward in the event of an impact.
The inner superior quality of theToyota Avensis comes from its strong, rigid body structure, which provides both a safety cabin for the occupants and a platform for the advanced suspension package. Toyota has designed structural components to help absorb and disperse impact energy, which will minimise cabin distortion.
Although the Avensis is a Japanese
car, and some might expect some heavy
duty taxes, the purchasing price is very
competitive, due to the fact that the car is
manufactured in the EU. The startingprice for an Avensis is 17,600 Euro with
all taxes included.
A feature that makes the Avensis a good deal in terms of ownership cost is a program developed to drastically reduce repair costs for low speed frontal and rear accidents. Specific action includes items such as headlamp mounting brackets, which are designed to break on impact before the lamp itself is damaged, the large front bumper, which reduces damage to the bonnet during collisions and aluminum rear bumper reinforcements.