Used buyer's guide: Toyota Avensis

The Avensis scores on value and is easy to own. But are there any pitfalls?

What to look for

• The glow plugs fitted to some diesel engines aren’t always durable; expect to pay £400 for a replacement set.• Diesels can suffer blown head gaskets, failed water pumps and wrecked turbochargers.• Squeaky brakes are a common complaint on the Avensis. It’s not dangerous, but the noise can be irritating.

One of the best things about the Avensis is its practicality, especially in estate form. While these cost more than equivalent saloons and hatches, they’re well worth the extra. The saloon’s boot is slightly bigger than the hatch’s, but the latter is more versatile.

The 1.8 petrol engine can feel weak; while the 2.0-litre is better, the diesels are the most muscular options and best for cruising.

At launch, the MkII Avensis was the safest car Euro NCAP had ever crash tested; in March 2004, Toyota made ESP, traction control and brake assist standard on all 1.8 models – it had previously been optional on some cars.

Recalls

Despite Toyota’s reputation for reliability, this Avensis has been recalled 10 times – the first concerning airbag faults just a few weeks after the car launched. The most recent came in February 2011, over potential fuel leaks. In between, the Mk2 has been recalled over suspension, brake and steering glitches, issues with the electronic stability programme (Toyota calls it VSC) and the risk of wheel trims damaging tyres. In February 2010, the car was also affected by Toyota’s infamous accelerator pedal recall.

Check out the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website for up-to-date recall information.

Driver Power

Our view:The Avensis MkII peaked in our annual Driver Power satisfaction survey in 2007, finishing 27th. This year, it came 51st – ahead of many newer, more costly models. Buyers love the car’s reliability, ride and practicality, but not its brakes or handling.

Your view:Jasmeet Bheelay of Leicester has owned the 2006 Avensis 2.0 D-4D in our pictures for two years. “It’s cheap to buy and run, with a big boot and lots of equipment,” he said. “I’d prefer a softer ride, though, while the headlights should be better.”

Contacts

Official: www.toyota.co.uk   Forums: www.toyotaownersclub.com | www.toyotanation.com

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