Comfortable, quiet and relaxing, but don't expect grin-a-minute thrills
Practical, comfortable and hassle-free - but don't expect any stylish design touches
Seven airbags, active head restraints to prevent whiplash and stability control, plus deadlocks and an alarm: it's all here
It might all look a bit bland, but Toyota always scores well in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys
Versatile, roomy and user friendly, although saloon shape limits what you'll be able to fit inside
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. A supple ride, light controls and a well-insulated cabin mean you'll have a quiet and comfortable journey both around town and on the motorway.
High-mileage drivers should opt for a diesel, as the petrol engine in the cheapest model needs to be worked hard. However, even with the more powerful motors, the Avensis isn't nearly as much fun to drive or stable around corners as a Ford Mondeo. We'd avoid the automatic gearbox, which is jerky.
Like the rest of the Avensis, the cabin lacks flair but is hassle-free. The seats are comfortable, visibility is excellent and all the switches are easy to see and use.
The Avensis can't match a Ford Mondeo for outright passenger or boot space, but only the most churlish would complain. A near-flat rear floor makes life more comfortable for a central rear passenger. Although the rear seats split and fold, the saloon boot does limit practicality.
The cheapest trim gets you an MP3 connection and air-conditioning, while TR models add sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels, climate control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
Owners reported above average mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power survey, and Toyota's standard five-year warranty is also reassuring.
The Avensis scored well in Euro NCAP crash tests, with 90% awarded for adult safety and 86% for child protection. Seven airbags, stability control and active headrests to prevent whiplash are standard.
The Avensis is competitively priced and, over time, it will hold on to more of its value than many rivals, including the Ford Mondeo. The 2.0-litre diesel engine is our pick, because it offers low running costs without kissing goodbye to performance.