2006 Toyota Avensis Hatchback 1.8 VVT-i
A sensible and reliable family cruiser
Normal age-related ailments:
- Air conditioning leaking refrigerant.
- Exhaust pipe rusted and snapped just behind the catalytic converter. Repaired by the dealer at no cost.
- Suspension parts and underbody alarmingly rusty.
- Rust bubbles on rear door frames.
- Windscreen broken by a flying pebble (the worst type of pebble).
We needed a large family car, my wife likes the looks of the Avensis and I like hatchbacks, so we bought the Avensis 5dr.
The very low mileage for the age of the car fooled me into skipping a more thorough inspection prior purchasing. Something I am now regretting, as the price was steep.
As a family car:
- The big boot is easily accessible and it can take a stroller and a suitcase, no sweat.
- The rear seats fold flat easily, which allows for relatively ambitious trips to IKEA.
WARNING! The rear seatbelts are too short for our baby seat, so we had to buy an ISOFIX base.
- Has ISOFIX in the rear.
- Rear windows are relatively high and small, so children are not particularly happy about the riding experience.
- 9 AIRBAGS, ESP, EuroNCAP 5*.
- Comes with all the kit a simple man needs: a decent stereo (but no Bluetooth or AUX input), multifunctional steering wheel, automatic climate control, a trip computer, electric windows and mirrors, rain sensor, external thermometer.
- Interior looks well put together, and the materials have a quality feel to them, bar a few edges on the plastic mouldings here and there.
- Fake leather on the steering wheel, gear knob and the doors, feels nice.
- Cruise control was never available on the 1.8, unfortunately.
- The dashboard layout is simple and easy on the eyes, I like the orange backlight.
- Seats are OK, but lacking back support. Can be tiring after a few hours.
- Steering wheel adjustable in height and depth.
- Headroom in the back limited, but can fit 3 adults.
- The 1.8 is not particularly refined, but quite torquey and pulls strong throughout the revs. Don't expect wonders, though, as the long gears care for economy and not speed.
- Gear changes are smooth and precise. Toyota use steel ropes, instead of solid linkages. The shift throw is on the longer side, though.
- Suspension is comfy, rather than sporty. Some body roll when pushed, but stable and predictable. Feels solid at high speed.
- Road noise is very limited till 100 km/h, acceptable up until 140 km/h, and bearable above that. An issue to have in mind on the German Autobahn.
- Very friendly before purchasing, did not budge a cent on the asked price.
- Absent-minded after payment was done.
- Mechanics are good, but the dealership management do not seem to care too much for the customer.
- The underbody and many suspension parts are rusting, which must be due to the car having been driven in the German Alps for 10 years. Just surface rust and no holes yet, but it does not look pretty, and it will be only getting worse.
- Automatic air conditioning was blowing warm air at the time of purchasing. Inspected and refilled by the dealer, but I suspect it will need a refill again next summer. Not too much of a worry, as German summers are not that hot.
- I want a GT86.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th January, 2017
9th Mar 2018, 13:45
An update on the Avensis after two years and 15 000 km.
Front suspension control arms have rusted through, meaning a failed inspection.
The rear doors on the hatchback model are too low for comfortable placing of a toddler in the child-seat. I need to "maneuver" my child in and out, bumping her head into the ceiling, every now and then.
Other than that, trouble-free motoring.