Toyota Avensis (2015-2018) review
We're already a couple of facelifts into the Toyota Avensis, and the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6 rival is showing its age
It's fair to say it is one of the lesser known saloons in the class and you can thank dreary styling inside and out and average driving dynamics for that. However, a facelift in 2015 brought the Avensis in line with the rest of the Toyota range – models like the Aygo, Yaris and Auris – and introduced more daring styling and an upgraded interior.
Thanks to its competitive price, low running costs, comfort, efficiency and reliability, the Avensis remains a favourite of company car owners and taxi drivers alike. It’s certainly an accomplished machine, but it’s one you buy with your head rather than your heart.
We’ve had the Toyota Avensis for sale in it current guise since 2009, give or take a couple of facelifts. The model is available in saloon or estate car format – the latter badged as the Avensis Touring Sports - but there’s no hatchback derivative. The Avensis lines up against such rivals as the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and Vauxhall Insignia, and against such quality competition it’s fair to say the Toyota is showing its age. It also means there’s lots of choice and a wide variety of prices if you’re looking at a used Toyota Avensis.
Having said that, a Toyota Avensis still has a reasonable amount going for it. The Avensis is roomy, relatively economical and clean, and the 2.0-litre diesel is especially good for tax purposes – especially with the six-speed manual gearbox option.
Toyota revised the Avensis with facelifts in 2011 and 2015, which have made the car a little more interesting visually, but there’s no denying rivals like the Skoda Superb make a more impactful style statement. The same story is repeated inside, as the Toyota has a simplistic and functional interior but doesn't offer much in the way of wow factor.
Driving the Avensis won’t put a smile on your face either, although it's a comfortable and refined cruiser. It’s not an engaging drive though, as the steering feels inert and over-soft suspension means there’s lots of pitch and roll in corners. Rivals like the Mazda 6 offer a lot more enjoyment behind the wheel.
There's a small and simple range of trims and it's clear Toyota is thinking about the company car driver. The range kicks off with Active through to Business Edition, Business Edition Plus and top-of-the-range Excel. All cars get air-con, Bluetooth, cruise control and LED daytime running lights. The Business Edition adds an eight-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, auto lights and wipers and 17-inch alloys, while Plus gets part-leather seats, LED headlamps, rear privacy glass and unique alloys. The range-topping Excel adds leather, a panoramic roof and advanced connectivity options.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingWe're already a couple of facelifts into the Toyota Avensis, and the Ford Mondeo and Mazda 6 rival is showing its age
- 2Engines, performance and driveQuiet, refined and comfortable – that describes the Avensis. It's certainly not a thrilling drive
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsWith fleet buyers in mind, Toyota has made Avensis frugal to run which is a bonus for private buyers
- 4Interior, design and technology2015 facelift improved looks but Avensis still lags behind Skoda Superb, Mazda 6 and Ford Mondeo
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceRoomy inside the Avensis scores highly for comfort and space
- 6Reliability and SafetySafety is strong; good reliability and great warranty sweeten the deal