THE BUSINESS car sector has always been a hotly competitive zone in the UK market arena.
And products have kept pace with changing trends, needs and taxation requirements.
At one time the sector fell into two marked divisions, the so-called rep's car, and the management mobile.
Today, with the emergence of the user-chooser market rather than massive company fleets the gap between the two types of car has narrowed considerably, with mid-sized hatches and tourers boasting some very comprehensive specifications.
This is typified by the British-built Toyota Avensis Business and Business Plus editions which are finely honed to meet the needs of the working person whose car is an essential tool of the trade.
The latest Avensis aims to make things easy for the customer, with added style, new engines and some innovative technology.
Designed and engineered in Europe and built exclusively in Britain, more than 1.7 million Avensis types spanningfour model generations have appeared on European roads since the original was launched at the end of 1997.
Avensis is one of the market's quiet achievers, never relying on glitzy gimmickry but on a solid reputation of reliability, a fact proven by it netting the highest score in last year's J.D. Power Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Survey in Germany.
Although the larger cars in the private market are not as popular as they were, the corporate market is still vibrant, so with the Business Edition Toyota adds to this strong foundation with the Toyota Touch 2 with Go touchscreen multimedia and navigation system, digital/DAB audio package with eight-inch display, reversing camera, front fog lights, rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlights, automatic air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels and part-Alcantara seat upholstery.
The active safety features extend to automatic high beam, lane departure warning and road sign assist.
Business Edition Plus delivers further premium features including leather upholstery with Alcantara inserts, front fog lights with a cornering function, LED headlamps, smart entry and rear privacy glass. The LED daytime running lights gain light guides, creating a distinctive lighting signature.
This car was a Business Edition Plus Tourer powered by Toyota's Optimal Drive four-cylinder 16-valve 2.0-litre diesel.
This delivers lively performance with 124mph on tap and a 0-62mph sprint of 9.8 seconds.
A combined economy figure of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km add to what is a very attractive package for £26,135.
The car was, like all Avensis models, fitted with a speed limiter which can be overridden by pressing the throttle.
Bang up to date features include ‘follow-me-home' headlights which can be set to remain on for a short time after the car is stopped and locked.
And to add to a very modern environment, the multimedia system allows smartphone-like gesture control.
Avensis takes active safety and driver assistance to new levels with Toyota Safety Sense.