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Toyota Avensis: 4,958 miles

SECOND REPORT: We add some sparkle to spacious estate’s bodywork!

  • The Toyota doesn’t feel quick, but it’s a bit of an illusion – the smooth diesel engine has such a linear power delivery that you often don’t realise just how fast you’re going until you look at the speedometer. It’s great for overtaking safely.
  • Most of the cabin is well laid out. However, the switch for the electric parking brake is hidden behind the steering wheel. I can reach every other button in the cabin, but have to lean forward to get to this one. Why?
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Blending into the background is fine for some people, yet that’s not what I wanted to do when I got the keys to Auto Express’s new Toyota Avensis Tourer. Even though the estate is quite handsome in my eyes, the uninspiring grey paintwork does it no favours – and as the motorway miles started to add up, it needed some help to shine.

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So, when cleaning expert Meguiar’s offered to detail the Avensis at its HQ in Daventry, Northamptonshire, I was only too happy to accept. After a short briefing, the car was put under the glare of the spotlight in the firm’s valeting bay.

Powerful lamps show up any paint defects such as swirls or scratches that detract from the finish – and although our Toyota is only a few months old, it hadn’t escaped unscathed.

The worst affected area was the bonnet, but I attacked it with a machine polisher under the gaze of Meguiar’s technicians, and soon had it gleaming like new. Brake dust had baked on to the alloys, yet they were sparkling again after a light spray of wheel cleaner, while the tyres were dressed to give a factory-fresh look.

A coat of wax provided the finishing touch – and while the Avensis isn’t the most dramatic-looking vehicle in the car park, I’m now confident it will remain one of the cleanest.

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Of course, looks are not central to the Toyota’s appeal – what sets it apart is its wide range of abilities. I don’t have a large family to move around, yet it’s impressed as a support car on track days. The simple rear seat folding mechanism makes it easy to free up masses of space, allowing the Avensis to swallow helmets, tools, spare wheels and other essentials. Plus, keyless entry ensures loading all this kit is a breeze. The smooth 2.2-litre D-4D diesel means the car feels at home both in town and on the open road.

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On my daily commute to Auto Express’s central London office, the unit’s flexibility impresses – I simply select a high gear and waft along on the 339Nm of torque. And the car is proving easy on my wallet, with 39.8mpg economy.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, though. The electronic parking brake is a constant source of irritation – it’s hidden away behind the steering wheel and is counter-intuitive. What’s more, the Bluetooth set-up keeps losing its connection with my phone. I’m sure I can resolve this by flicking through  the hefty instruction manual!

Still, these are minor gripes, and by and large the Avensis just does what I ask it to – like an old friend who never lets you down. So, hopefully, this is going to be
a long and happy relationship – as well as a clean one.

Second Opinion

Like Graeme, I’ve found the Toyota’s load carrying ability very useful. After a recent house move, I’ve filled the boot with flat-pack furniture on a number of occasions. While the Avensis isn’t the most exciting car to drive, this practicality – in addition to the deceptive pace and decent refinement – more than makes up for it.
 
Owen Mildenhall
Road tester

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