If you want a large family car that’s easy to live with and affordable to buy, the Toyota Avensis Mk2 is for you.
You won’t be excited by its styling and the driving experience isn’t that much fun. However, it handles safely, there’s plenty of space for the family and – as with most Toyotas – it’s generally as reliable as a Swiss watch.
Throw in a choice of saloon, hatchback or estate bodystyles, plus an array of highly efficient engines, and the Avensis serves up great family transport.
The second-generation Avensis went on sale in the UK in March 2003, with a choice of T2, T3-S, T3-X, T4 and T Spirit specs. Buyers could opt for 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol engines (with the option of a sequential auto box), or a 2.0-litre diesel.
Soon after, a 2.4-litre petrol auto arrived, but Toyota saved the best for last; its 2.2-litre D-4D diesel debuted in June 2005, in 148bhp form. By spring 2006, it had been joined by a 175bhp edition.
A few months later, in July 2006, a facelift brought a new nose and tail-lights, more kit, revised suspension and steering, plus a more powerful and more efficient 2.0 D-4D diesel engine.
The Nissan Primera offers amazing value, space and reliability, plus lots of kit. So does the Honda Accord, but you’ll pay more. Also consider the VW Passat, which is really solidly built, roomy and comes with some great engines.