Avensis the

brilliant family

Toyota

Toyota Avensis, front
Toyota Avensis, side
Toyota Avensis, rear
Toyota Avensis, interior
Toyota Avensis, Touch and Go Plus display
Toyota Avensis, boot

STYLING can sometimes put us off a car that is otherwise excellent to drive and to live with.

The Toyota Avensis is one of these because of its rather bland look front and rear, but it's a cracking car to drive, with marvellous handling and beautifully informative power steering.

The roadholding is excellent, with tremendous grip even when pushed mercilessly, and the ride is comfortable over the worst of surfaces at speed.

Add the fact that it's a Toyota, and therefore among the most reliable and long lasting cars you can buy, and it makes a great secondhand buy.

The model built from 2009 has a wide range of engines, and petrol models started with a 1.6 which had no less than 130bhp. Then comes a 1.8 with 143, and a 2.0-litre with 147, 197 or a storming 211.

Diesels are 2.0 and 2.2-litres with either 124, 147 or 174bhp, and the lower two of these are probably the most plentiful on the British market due to the fact that they have been a favourite with company buyers.

Even the 1.6 and 1.8 petrols are good to drive, and easily man enough for the weight of the saloon body as long as you wind them up!

But diesel performance is right up there with the petrols, even if they don't have the same beautiful sound!

And it's worth mentioning that while the petrols are not as economical as the diesels, they will be a good deal cheaper secondhand.

The driving position is comfortable for all shapes, the build quality top notch, and the controls all very easy.

There is plenty of space for a family of five and a good size boot with a split folding rear seat in both the saloon and the Tourer estate.

All have an alarm, alloy wheels, audio remote controls, traction control, stability control, aircon or climate, electric windows and remote locking.

Move on up the range and you'll get Bluetooth, automatic headlights and wipers, leather and sat nav.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Avensis

Price:Pay around £6,900 for an '11 11-reg T2, or £10,530 for a '13 13-reg TR

Mechanical:124bhp, 1.998cc, 4 cylinder diesel driving the front wheels via a 6 speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph:9.7 seconds

Combined MPG:62

Insurance Group:21

C02 emissions:119g/km

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