During 2015 the Toyota Avensis received a subtle exterior upgrade. Where the big changes occurred was under the hood and an extra focus was placed on safety equipment. Toyota has a very good name in Ireland despite massive recalls in 2010. Trust appears to have been regained and Toyota are still one of the top selling brands in the country. The Avensis has been around Ireland since 1997 after it replaced the Toyota Carina E. This car has proven to be a hit with taxi drivers around Ireland and this confidence has rubbed off on the general public too.
Our test vehicle came with a 1.6 litre D-4D diesel engine. This offering seems slightly underpowered while pushing through the gears to motorway speeds, but once you reach cruising speeds things settle down. This particular engine offers 112 bhp and according to Toyota’s official figures it will bring you from 0-100 km/h in 11.4 seconds. The other diesel engine on offer is a 2.0 litre that increases those stats. This engine offers 142 bhp and according to the manufacturer it will bring you from 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds. There are two petrol engines available with a 1.6 litre and a 1.8 litre.
The Avensis has never been famous as being a fun ride. What it is famed for is its relative reliability. This car is nice on the road. The suspension set-up deals with bumps and road imperfections easily and the ride is generally smooth. Where the Avensis could be better is in its cornering, but remember this is a long-enough car and considering that, it compares well to the likes of the Ford Mondeo.
The Avensis is a nicely padded car and it doesn’t suffer massively from either wind or road noise. The diesel option that we drove was a bit noisy as we were pushing it to motorway speeds, but we put it under pressure. If acceleration is added more evenly then noise should not be a major issue. We have yet to drive other engines in the Avensis range but colleagues have made us aware that the petrol engines are quiet too.
Entry level Toyota Avensis can be a bit dull and lack character but as you move up the trim lines things do improve. The plastics within are of good quality but at entry level things are very grey. Our test model did have black leather seats with Alcantara inserts and the dash was presented with a matching colour scheme. The infotainment system was intuitive and easy to use too.
As already stated, the Avensis received an update during 2015 and one of the focuses from the manufacturer was on safety within the vehicle. As standard each new Avensis is fitted with Toyota Safety Sense. This is a mix of four safety features; Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Road Sign Assist. Each of these four systems are self-explanatory but the most interesting is the Pre-Collision system. This operates by using cameras and lasers to keep an eye on the road ahead. If the vehicle senses that a collision is imminent it automatically applies the brakes. The Avensis received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP.
Space on offer within the Avensis is very good. There are no head or leg room issues to the front or the back. The boot space is good too. The Avensis is available as a saloon or a tourer which means that it will cater for most needs.