In-depth reviews

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

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Spacious cabin
  • Good value
  • Refined on motorway
  • Dull to drive
  • Forgettable styling
  • Dreary interior

The Toyota Avensis competes in the mid-sized executive saloon segment and can count cars like the Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia and Mazda 6 as its chief rivals.

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. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

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 MondeoVolkswagen 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.

Advertisement - Article continues below

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.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Toyota Avensis Touring Sports review

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.


More on Avensis

Toyota Avensis Touring Sports - front action
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports
25 Apr 2019

Toyota Avensis Touring Sports review

The Toyota Avensis Touring Sports is a very capable family estate - although it does lack a little excitement
Free Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis
15 Apr 2018

50,000 miles in a free car

A hand-me-down car is the ultimate money saver as they are usually free. We've run one for three years on peanuts to see what it costs
Toyota Avensis
14 Oct 2016

Axe hovering over Toyota's Avensis

The future of the Toyota Avensis family saloon is "under discussion" as sales continue to falter in the medium range sector
Skoda Superb Estate
8 Sep 2015

Skoda Superb Estate vs Toyota Avensis Touring Sports & VW Passat Estate

Skoda’s new Superb Estate is bigger and more stylish, but is that enough against rivals from Toyota and VW?
Toyota Avensis
27 Aug 2015

Toyota Avensis vs Hyundai i40

Can revised Toyota Avensis see off Hyundai and take a bigger slice of fleet sales?
Toyota Avensis - front action
Toyota Avensis Saloon
31 Jul 2015

New Toyota Avensis 2015 review

New Toyota Avensis family car is now more efficient and more desirable
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports - driving
Toyota Avensis Touring Sports
10 Jun 2015

New Toyota Avensis Touring Sports review

Fleet favourite Toyota Avensis gets a comprehensive update, with new looks, engines and tech
Toyota Avensis 2015 facelift
Toyota Avensis
15 Feb 2015

2015 facelift attempts to boost Toyota Avensis' appeal

Toyota has revealed images of its 2015 makeover of the Avensis large family car, with a front-end redesign and new engines
Toyota Avensis front static
Toyota Avensis Saloon
30 Oct 2012

Used buyer's guide: Toyota Avensis

The Avensis scores on value and is easy to own. But are there any pitfalls?
Toyota Avensis Tourer front tracking
Toyota Avensis Saloon
18 Jan 2012

Toyota Avensis Tourer

Can a fresh look, cleaner engine and suspension tweaks make the family car a contender?
Toyota Avensis front tracking
Toyota Avensis Saloon
13 Jan 2012

Toyota Avensis UK drive

New-look Toyota gets a dash of style, but the healthy kit count can’t compensate for a lack of fun
Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D front cornering
Toyota Avensis Saloon
9 Dec 2011

Toyota Avensis 2.0 D-4D

Subtle styling and revised diesel make the facelifted Avensis a smooth operator
Toyota Avensis Saloon
4 Sep 2009

Toyota Avensis Tourer: 9,156 miles

Final REPORT: Sharp to look at, easy to live with... and that’s just the car! Estate is a great load carrier, too, as our family man can testify
Toyota Avensis Saloon
10 Jul 2009

Toyota Avensis Tourer: 7,215 Miles

Third report: It’s a tale of three Toyotas, as we rate our diesel estate against other variants in the family car range.
Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis Saloon
15 May 2009

Toyota Avensis: 4,958 miles

SECOND REPORT: We add some sparkle to spacious estate’s bodywork!
Toyota Avensis Saloon
27 Mar 2009

Toyota iQ and Avensis

Twin report: Does a tiny city car or big estate make more sense for modern drivers? Our new Toyota's will help us decide.
Toyota Avensis Saloon
15 Jan 2009

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?
Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis Saloon
22 Dec 2008

Toyota Avensis

Estate variant aims to give newcomer fresh edge
Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis Saloon
7 Dec 2008

Toyota Avensis

All new model from Japanese firm aims to bring executive quality to the family car class
Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis Saloon
23 Apr 2008

Toyota Avensis

How reliable is the Japanese family contender after 60,000 gruelling miles? We reveal all...
Toyota Vanguard
Toyota Avensis Saloon
12 Aug 2007

Toyota Vanguard

RAV4's sibling shares its platform but adds a third row
Toyota Avensis
Toyota Avensis Saloon
29 Dec 2006

Toyota Avensis Saloon (2003-2008) review

With an unbeatable diesel range and other engineering upgrades, the Avensis is good to drive, but falls short of its competitors.
Toyota Avensis Saloon
30 Sep 2006

Volkswagen Passat v Toyota Avensis

Just how far have diesels come? These two family cars from Volkswagen and Toyota deliver the answer