Toyota Avensis (2015-present)

A sensible and reliable choice, the Toyota Avensis is overlooked by drivers who want a bit more character to their car

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Track record of reliability
Long warranty
Practical interior

Weaknesses 

Only available as a saloon
Uninspiring design
Not involving to drive

In the business and family car world, the Toyota Avensis is a byword for competence and reliability. Unfortunately its rivals, which include the classy and desirable Volkswagen Passat, that brilliant all-rounder the Ford Mondeo and the good-to-drive Mazda6 are equally as strong in these areas, so the Avensis has its work cut out to keep up.

It helps that it comes with a long, five-year, or 100,000 miles, warranty, an impressive Euro NCAP five-star safety rating and a 1.6-litre diesel engine that does almost 70mpg and costs just £20 to tax. It helps, too, that it’s very quiet and comfortable, a feature close to the hearts of the sort of high-mileage business drivers the model is aimed at.

It’s handicapped by the fact there’s no hatchback in the line-up. The two body styles offered are a four-door saloon and an estate. Still, they’re both very roomy. For example, unlike most of its rivals, the Avenisis has no ‘transmission’ hump in the rear floor so a third rear-seat passenger can get comfortable. There are plenty of cubbyholes dotted around the cabin, too.

The saloon’s boot is large but aced by the likes of the Passat’s. At least the Toyota’s 60:40-split back seat folds flat for longer loads. If you think you’ll need to carry anything bulkier, you should check out the Avensis estate.

The interior wont win any prizes for design but it is tough and well appointed. Even basic Active versions have those business essentials including air-conditioning, cruise control and electric windows, and, outside, alloy wheels. Our favourite, though is the even better-equipped Business edition.

Last Updated 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 10:15