Toyota Avensis vs Honda Accord

Toyota and Honda are both gunning for premium German rivals with their Tourer-badged estates. Can new Avensis or Accord topple the class-leaders?

Nobody can afford to stand still in the hugely competitive familycar market. Just ask Toyota. A raft of new arrivals has raised the barin the sector, and with such formidable opposition, the trusty Avensishas plummeted down the pecking order.

Bosses are hoping toredress the balance with the latest model. Both four-door saloon andfive-door Tourer versions will be available from launch, and thepractical load-lugger has most to gain in the less crowded estate endof the market. The model we test here has an economical 2.2-litre D-4Ddiesel engine to go with its user-friendly bodystyle.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Toyota Avensis

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Flagship T-Spirittrim also brings luxuries such as a panoramic glass roof, dual-zoneclimate control and leather.

Competition comes from another Japanesecar with premium aspirations. The latest Honda Accord Tourer hassacrificed some of its predecessor’s practicality in the name of style.But in EX trim it’s generously kitted out, and the excellent 2.2-litrei-DTEC engine is one of Auto Express’s favourite diesels.

Thesecars look evenly matched on paper. But can the Avensis make homeadvantage count on the roads around Toyota’s Burnaston plant inDerbyshire, where the first models have recently rolled off theproduction line?

Verdict

The old Avensis was famously advertised as the car that could silence any critic. But in reality, it was so bland few could think of anything to say about it. Amazingly, the new version comes perilously close to falling into the same trap.

Nevertheless, it runs the Accord Tourer close in this contest, as the Honda’s new-found style has come at the expense of versatility. The problem is, although the roomier Avensis does everything you would expect from a Toyota, it really offers nothing more.

While the Accord is slightly smaller, it’s way ahead for styling and driving dynamics. Generous kit combines with stronger predicted resale values to make it a more attractive ownership proposition than its rival.

The Avensis is a capable all-rounder and still a safe bet, but that alone isn’t enough to win. So the search for a characterful Toyota continues!

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