What is it?
All new car? Er, actually, it's not. In true Toyota fashion, it's about as much fun as a 50-plus swingers party. That said, the interior's good and it's fine on a motorway.
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.
So far we've only tried the 2.2-litre diesel, and with its 148bhp and 250lb ft of torque, 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and 131mph top end there's not much to talk about. The diesel is noisy and the auto ‘box takes a while to get the gist of what you want it to do. Hopefully the petrol manual versions might sort a bit of that out.
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. 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, I've fallen asleep. Zzzz.
The fleet-type stats are impressive: 119g/km and over 60mpg 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.