‘SLOW BURNER SHINING BRIGHT’ Toyota Avensis 1 8 …

4 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи ‘SLOW BURNER SHINING BRIGHT’ Toyota Avensis 1 8 … отключены
TOYOTA Prius 1.8 VVT-i T3 CVT Continuosuly Variable

lsquo;SLOW BURNER SHINING BRIGHT’

Car and Driving ‘s Independent New Review of the Toyota Avensis 1.8 V-matic .

Ten Second Review

Smarter looking, better built, more efficient and with some mouthwateringly high-tech options available, the latest Toyota Avensis strives to shuck off its rather workaday image. Give it a chance and you might well conclude that it succeeds. Even in apparently humble 1.8-litre V-matic entry-level petrol form.

Background

Stick with this, it s worth it. Granted, most people s reactions to a Toyota Avensis are much the same as their reaction to magnolia paint or a medium white sliced loaf but in its revised third generation guise, it s time to leave the preconceived ideas behind. The Avensis has quietly become something to contend with.

Approach it with an open mind and you ll appreciate its qualities.

It builds on some solid if unspectacular foundations. The first generation car arrived in 1998 and made some respectable figures. The second generation car landed in dealers in 2003 and quickly garnered a reputation for offering near-Lexus build quality at Toyota prices. The third Avensis made landfall in 2009 and served up sharper styling and was better looking, better to drive and smartly equipped. Now Lexus has tidied up the styling, improved the interior and, like every other manufacturer, promised better efficiency.

We tried an entry-level 1.8 V-matic petrol model to assess the changes.

Driving Experience

The bar for driving dynamics in this sector is set extremely high and the Avensis has been playing catch up with a fast-moving target. There has been some tweaking of suspension components to offer a sharper drive but you ll look in vain for a sporty model. That said, it benefits from a fundamentally decent setup with wide front and rear tracks and minimal overhangs. The third generation car rides well and body control is good with decently accurate steering, if lacking in feel a little.


The latest updates will only improve on that.

Though most buyers of this car will want the 124bhp 2.0 D-4D diesel unit, there s still a market for petrol power, served by the 1.8-litre V-matic variant we tried, a car which puts out a useful 145bhp. A six speed manual box comes as standard but a minority may wish to opt for the Multidrive S continuously variable transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifts. It doesn t turn the Avensis into wholly convincing sports saloon though.

It needs a little more attitude for that.

Design and Build

Mid-life facelifts don t always seem as effective as they might have been but Toyota are right on the money with the Avensis. The biggest compliment you can pay to it is that it doesn t rehashed. The slimmer headlights, the more aggressive front intakes and the bolder grille give it a more assertive look that it always deserved. At the back, there s a revised bumper and light cluster pairing.

Alloy wheel designs have also been revisited.

As before, there s plenty of space inside. The generously proportioned cabin features decent front and rear leg room as well as a cavernous 509 litre boot. The Tourer estate of course offers the higher figure, extendable to 1609-litres if you activate the neat one-touch folding mechanism and flatten the split-folding rear seats. Take a seat inside and it s not the most eye-catching cabin in the class but we d wager it ll prove to be one of the most durable. Quality has been improved right across the board, with better upholstery, dashboard trims, switchgear and door pulls.

The front seats have been redesigned for better comfort and support and the amber instrument backlighting on the instrument binnacle is replaced by white lighting.

Market and Model

Prices start from around the £20,000 mark. That s for the saloon variant: the Tourer estate is around £1,000 more. Budget another £1,500 either way for the TR trim level most choose.

This kind of pricing is of course directly comparable to that of obvious rivals like Ford s Mondeo, Vauxhall s Insignia and Peugeot s 508.

The big news with the latest model is the integration of Toyota s information and entertainment systems. Toyota Touch, Touch and Go and Touch and Go Plus setups feature a touch screen display that, in its ultimate guise, controls sat nav, Bluetooth, an 11-speaker stereo, rear view camera, text messaging, voice recognition and speed camera warnings.

Otherwise, equipment across the range runs to air conditioning, an MP3-compatible audio system, heated electrically adjustable door mirrors, electric front windows, seven airbags, body coloured door handles and bumpers and a multi-information display. The Tourer model can also be ordered with a panoramic glass roof. Some interesting safety features such as Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Lights, Adaptive Cruise Control and a sophisticated Pre-Crash system are also offered. Not so long ago this sort of kit was the preserve of high-end luxury cars.

Now it s available on an Avensis.

Cost of Ownership

In the petrol 1.8, you ll manage 43.5mpg and 152g/km, all of these figures being for saloon variants, the Tourer estate only marginally worse. To help owners get somewhere close to these kinds of returns on an everyday basis and get the maximum range from the 60-litre fuel tank, there s everything from a gearshift change indicator to an Eco-route option on the sat nav system that guides you towards the most economical route, as well as the fastest or the most direct one. All of which should lead to an efficiency standard able to significantly impact your motoring costs.

Not only will the lower emissions quality your Avensis for zero road tax in the first year of ownership, but a Benefit-in-Kind rating down from 20 to just 13% will save the average 40% tax payer almost £600 on his or her annual tax bill.

This kind of showing has been of inestimable help in cementing this car s reputation as a cost-effective car to run, the issue upon which most sales battles are won and lost in the medium range marketplace. It also helps that maintenance costs for this car are lower than nearly all its competitors. As a result, respected residual experts CAP expect that after the usual three years and 36,000 miles, this Avensis will be worth more than rivals from Vauxhall, Peugeot and Ford, holding on to as much as 40% of its original value.

What else? Well there s the peace of mind of a five year warranty that puts the cover provided by some rivals to shame.

Summary

The Toyota Avensis is well worth a fresh look — even in petrol guise. It s almost like that girl you d known since you were a kid and thought was a bit of a plain Jane, only to arrive at college with her to find the guys falling over themselves. Forget the fact that it s an Avensis and you ll see it for what it is; one of the best-looking cars in its class, backed up by superb quality, low running costs and a surprisingly broad dynamic repertoire.

The latest set of revisions do a little to burnish what was already a very smart package and one that now makes many of its rivals seem very dated indeed. By improving efficiency and incorporating some seriously impressive technology on board, Toyota has created something that s at the same time sensible yet surprisingly covetable. Did I just say that about a Toyota Avensis? Either I m getting old or Toyota has smartened up its act.

Possibly a bit of both.

TOYOTA Prius 1.8 VVT-i T3 CVT Continuosuly Variable

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