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The Top Gear car review:Toyota Avensis
For:Well built, well equipped, reasonably fuel-efficient and reliable
Against:Tragically dull, poor automatic gearbox, feels old next to newer, more able rivals
2.0 D-4D Icon 4dr
About as exciting as slow-motion chess, but a competent motorway-muncher with a nice interior.
There are two standard routes to facelifting a car - you either alter the looks, or you change the chassis/engines. Rarely do the two schools of...
What we say:
The facelift in 2012 seems to have worked for Toyota's Avensis. Tragically dull, but not without merit
What is it?
Yes, you can still buy a brand new Toyota Avensis. We know, us neither. In true Toyota fashion, it’s about as much fun as a 50-plus swingers party. That said, the Avensis is not without merit.
More of the same from the mid-size Toyota in that it ticks most of the boxes, but as soon as you ask more from it, the Avensis just gives up early. You won’t be excited driving this car - there’s too much understeer that has to be controlled by the electronics. Good for munching through the motorway network, because that’s the job description - though it doesn’t like cross winds. Drive it through corners and you find initial liveliness but detached steering and strange inconsistent sogginess as it loads up.
Great on motorways, where the Avensis can iron out the bumps, but there’s a deal of wind noise when the going gets faster. The suspension is a bit niggly on smaller roads - it gets crashy and unrefined - and the steering is numb, so it’s a mixed bag.
The 2.2-litre diesel delivers 148bhp and 250lb ft of torque, 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and 131mph top end. It’s noisy and the auto ‘box takes a while to get the gist of what you want it to do. We’d stick with the 2.0-litre diesel, which you can have with a manual gearbox (unlike the 2.2). It’s substantially more economical not that much slower.
On the inside
The good news is that the new Avensis has nicked some cues from the Lexus IS, so the dials and dash look much better. Dated, yes, but better. There’s nothing wrong with the Avensis’ quality - it’s just boring.
It’s got a big boot, decent space all round. Erm. That’s it, we’ve fallen asleep. Zzzz.
The fleet-type stats are impressive: 119g/km and over 60mpg for the 2.0 diesel make the financial controller a happy man. Insurance is low because nobody ever steals them even if the keys are left taped to the door. This silver cloud is small and not particularly shiny.