The Toyota Avensis is loved by reps and Taxi drivers alike, hundreds of thousands brought the old model, for its frugal economy, ability to rack up mileage like the Starship Enterprise and interior that just wouldn't die (no matter how much you wanted it to). The Third and all new generation of the Avensis was released 6 months ago, huge changes had been made, for the first time ever it's actually a good looking car for a start! Up against the rivals, its stiffest competition comes from the Honda, the Volvo just isn't as strong and the Saab, well it just doesn't have the wide range of engine and body choices the two Japanese bring to the table.
It's stylish in an odd way, bulky but with sharp lines, I think I actually really like the look, it's something different in an area of the market that has suffered hugely with 'same-ol-same ol' syndrome. The new interior is a massive improvement and much more upmarket and useable. Everything has a purpose and a feel quality feel about it, it's also laid out really well. Huge bonus is the ability to operate just about everything in the car via the steering wheel controls, overall putting you far more in control more of the time, than if you were fiddling with the air-con whilst driving. Which brings me nicely on to how hot the inside of the Avensis gets when its parked on the drive minding its own business. Getting in it during any form of warm weather is akin to walking out of the Arctic and into a sauna. Comedy sketches ensued whilst I frantically waved doors and opened windows just so I could get in and start the car.
It's not just the body that's new; my test car had the 2L 150bhp petrol engine from the new 'Optimal Drive' technology engine range. The performance was good, not great, but better than average. 0-62mph takes a slightly longer than I would have liked 10 seconds, however on the motorway, flick the automatic gearbox to Sport and the Avensis comes alive in a huge rush of overtaking power. It's got enough performance to keep you happy, but I'd good for a slightly beefy engine to really complete the package.
The new engines are designed to increase fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. I was getting around the 45mpg mark combined and over 50mpg over 60mph, so not too shabby on the economy front, especially when you consider I wasn't driving like an octogenarian on the way to Bingo.
Toyota's rep carrier / Taxi cab is one of the best equipped car, as standard, we've tested. Huge specification and electric everything, regardless of the model level you choose. I really liked my T4 spec press car, it had everything I needed (included an upgraded Sat Nav and kick ass stereo system) and at a very reasonable price.
The Avensis is definitely great value for money, including actually running it. With its very lower CO2 emissions, good solid performance, great interior and stand-out exterior, it's a must try before you decide on your new motor. You'll be really surprised.