Comfortable and relaxing, but smaller engines are more work
Practical, comfortable and hassle-free
Everything you could want and more
As good as it gets
Versatile, roomy and user friendly
Cheapest trims are best avoided, but TR is well priced and gadget-packed
This is a car that's well suited to doing a lot of miles. Supple ride, light controls and a well-insulated cabin mean that it's a quiet and comfortable journey whether you're around town or on the motorway. High-mileage drivers should opt for the more expensive engines available in the Avensis, as the 145bhp 1.8 petrol engine that you get in the cheapest model lacks low-down grunt and needs to be worked hard. Even with the more powerful motors, the Avensis falls short of the Ford Mondeo estate when it comes to the fun factor.
Rather like the rest of the car, the cabin of the Avensis lacks flair but is hassle-free. The driver's seat is comfortable, visibility is excellent and all the switches are easy to see and use, though you'll need to opt for the mid-range TR trim level if you want any gadgets. The cheapest trim only gets MP3-connection and air-conditioning in the cabin, but TR adds Bluetooth connectivity, alloys, climate control, auto headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. The estate boot doesn't disappoint when it comes to practicality, either. There's as much room as in a Mondeo and the floor is long and flat so you'll rarely struggle for load space. Passengers are well catered for too, with plenty of head and leg room in the front and back.
Safety levels are excellent, with every imaginable safety device included as standard on all models. Reliability won't be a problem as Toyota scores consistently well in consumer surveys.
The Avensis is competitively priced and over time will hold more of its value than the next best rival, the Ford Mondeo estate. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is our pick of the engines on offer, and has low CO2 emissions yet is still punchy and easy to use.