£20,090 - £29,345 Price range
43 - 67 MPG
The Toyota Avensis Touring Sports is a medium sized family estate that’s praised by motoring critics for its good equipment levels and reliability. Its main rivals are the Ford Mondeo estate, the Volkswagen Passat estate and the Mazda 6 Tourer.
When the Avensis was updated in 2015 it was completely redesigned and is now more stylish and built from better materials, although the infotainment system still feels a little out of date. The interior space remains unchanged, meaning three adults can sit in the rear seats comfortably, although the boot is smaller than most rivals.
Lots of changes were made to the suspension and reviewers are impressed with the way the Avensis Touring Sports drives – it is surprisingly agile and engaging, but its not as fun to drive as the Ford Mondeo. On the motorway the car is very quiet and the ride is comfortable, but never soft enough to produce excessive body roll.
The emphasis in the engine line-up is on diesels. The smaller 1.6-litre is relatively fuel efficient and cheap to run, whereas the larger 2.0-litre is more of a motorway cruiser. The 1.8-litre petrol has less than impressive running costs and performance.
The basic Avensis Touring Sports is priced below all of its rivals and comes with better standard equipment. The good number of passive and active safety systems along with the five year warranty should make the Avensis very good value for money.
The old car was commended for the robust feel of it’s interior, but reviewers found it a bit dull. The new one looks much more modern and the materials used are of higher quality. The buttons have a nice feel to them and the dashboard is easy to navigate, although the infotainment system looks dated when compared to the latest technology from VW and Ford.
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports passenger space
In terms of cabin space, the new Avensis is just as big as the old one. The flat floor in the back means that three adults can sit on the rear bench and not squabble for leg room and thanks to new seats the driver and passenger will be comfortable over long journeys.
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports boot space
Many buyers go for the Touring Sports over the saloon for the increased luggage space, but with 543 litres with the seats up and 1,609 with them down, the boot space isn’t as big as rival cars. For comparison, a VW Passat can hold 650 and 1,780 litres respectively.
Although Toyota has carried over the suspension from the old model, everything has been fettled with to make the car more agile and responsive. The chassis also has been stiffened to reduce body roll. A revised electric power steering promises better feel and accuracy.
Testers report that the new Avensis Touring Sports is much better to drive than the outgoing model. The car is more poised and the front end has good amounts of grip, although the Mondeo is still the most engaging and fun to drive in class. The revised steering is nicely weighted and pretty accurate. The suspension is set-up for comfort rather than sporty driving, although broken surfaces can unsettle the car. On the motorway the Touring Sports is very quiet except for some wind noise coming from the door mirrors.
Most of the cars in this class are sold with diesel engines and as a result Toyota has focused on providing the Avensis with the most fuel efficient and cheapest-to-run units it could. There’s a choice of two diesels and one petrol engine. The manual gearbox is nothing spectacular, but does its job well, however despite many revisions and updates the CVT automatic is still not a recommended choice.
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports petrol engine
The only petrol option is a 1.8-litre with 150hp that is aimed at private buyers. It will accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 124mph when paired with the manual. The combined fuel economy is 47.1mpg . In a time when rivals have very efficient turbocharged engines, this non-turbocharged one feels dated and slow.
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports diesel engines
The diesels are much more economical and have the latest emission reducing technologies. The smaller 1.6-litre replaces the 2.0-litre in the outgoing model and has a decent fuel efficiency – 67.3mpg combined. However, testers weren’t impressed with the performance of the engine especially its narrow power band which requires lots of gear changes to keep the car moving at a reasonable pace. A Skoda Octavia estate with the same capacity engine is faster and more fuel efficient.
The bigger 2.0-litre engine is supposed to address the disappointing performance, but with 145hp and a 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds it is one second slower than a Passat Estate with the same power. It is a bit less fuel efficient than the 1.6-litre but still able to return 62.8mpg.
The new Avensis scored the maximum five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 and was commended on occupant protection. It’s packed full of safety equipment too.
Toyota’s Safety Sense system is a standard fit and depending on the trim level you get more active and passive assists like lane departure alert, road sign assist and automatic high beam, which detects other vehicles and turns off the car’s high beam so as not to dazzle other drivers. However, automatic city braking is standard across the range.
The cheapest Avensis Touring Sports undercuts most of it’s rivals in terms of price, but it falls down in several areas. For example, the Mondeo has a bigger boot and the Passat has better engines.
To compensate for that the Avensis Touring Sports is generously equipped. Basic Active trim gets air-conditioning, cruise control, hill-start assist and Bluetooth phone connection. The Business Edition trim comes with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation, half-Alcantara leather seats and a reversing camera among other things.
The top of the range Excel comes with heated leather seats, voice activated multimedia and a 10-speaker stereo, but it not only swells the price of the car, but also makes it unnecessarily luxurious – the Business trim is all you’ll ever need.
The Toyota Avensis Touring Sports is not a bad purchase. The reputation of reliability and the impressive value for money are still better than many rivals. The Touring Sports is also quite nice to drive and although the engines won’t win any races or break speed records, they are relatively frugal and cheap to tax. Fleet customers will certainly enjoy the generous equipment levels and the fact that the Avensis is cheaper than a Hyundai should at least warrant a test drive if you are looking for a family estate.