The top of the range
This is the fourth Avensis I have owned; besides this one there is another version from 2001 (T22 facelift, Sol version) in use. This particular model with its engine and trim level gives such a luxury and comfort feel, that actually it's difficult to get out of the car. With this one I'm not looking for shortcuts while driving, just enjoying the driving pleasure it's giving.
The only problem with Toyota is that they don't combine the automatic transmission with the diesel engines, so it wasn't that difficult to choose a version. The 2.4 engine comes standard with a 5 speed automatic transmission with sequential shift, which is like the one Mercedes has, you can only choose between the gear ranges (example: from gear 1 to 4 or 1 to 3), but it comes handy when approaching a slope. Besides this 2.4 engine, the automatic transmission can be combined with the 2 litre engine, but in this case you will only have a 4 speed version, but again with sequential shifting. With these two engines the story of the automatic transmission ends - I still cannot understand Toyota's thinking. I bet that sales would rise if they would offer the possibility of combining the auto transmission with the diesel engines. Then it would be no question if I would have to choose between the 2.4 or the D-Cat, for example.
Choosing between the Sol or the Executive version also wasn't such a difficult thing, as the leather seats and the Xenon lights come standard only with the top trim level, and they are not applicable even as an extra option with the Sol variants. I didn't order the Navigation System because there is still no map available of my country.
The car is very quiet, you don't even hear the engine running. Even with the standard 215/45 R17 W wheels you don't hear disturbing road noise, but to be honest I'm not surprised as Toyota never cut the expenses when the noise reduction was the question.
The boot in the Sedan is 520 litres, and the rear seats are foldable. Of course if you want to transport a bicycle or a TV, better stay with the hatchback version. With the Executive trim you get a full size spare wheel of course, with the 17 inch alloys.
As you open the doors, you still feel that very nice smell of the leather. The seats are perforated and can be heated. I'm missing a little that the rear seats cannot be heated. Front seats are electrically operated, too bad only the driver's side has adjustable lumbar support.
The auto-dimming rear view mirror and the rear sunshade comes in very handy.
Now about the engine, it pulls phenomenally, even when you accelerate from 140 kph. At the "cruising" speed of 130 kph the engine is revving only 2800, at this speed the car is still really quiet. And now the "bad news" : at speed over 200 kph you feel like it takes minutes to make the needle raise to 210, or to the 220 kph which suppose to be the top speed. I think this "slowness" is thanks to the fifth gear's ratio, because at 200 kph engine is revving only at 4400 rpm, while the maximum speed you can reach in the fourth gear is 201 kph. But if we look from another side, cruising at such high speeds and the engine is way far from the 6400 rpm red signal, so still not a disturbing engine sound even at that high speed. Given all that, I can still stay that I am very satisfied with the engine. Fuel consumption... well, during winter and only in city driving you can easily get 14 litres/100 km. When you leave the city this can easily get below 9 litres/100 km. The average is about 10L which I say is amazing from a 2.4 petrol engine with automatic transmission, lots of electrical things to operate and 1420 kilos of empty weight. The comfort, driving pleasure and the feel you have thanks to this powerful engine makes you forget those 10 litres easily. About the automatic transmission I only can say good things again, it's intelligent and really makes life easy.
The main thing I don't like is the trip computer. It's not reliable, and I only can reset some functions when refueling the car. For example the Range function never showed more that 400 km while I had a full fuel tank, and I several times drove for 60-70 kilometers with it showing 0. The other functions work properly, but in my case I don't like this refueling = resetting thing.
So the button that turns off the unit it can come in handy ...
As with all today's sedan cars, you can find yourself in a difficult situation when you need to reverse with the Avensis. So the parking aid comes in really handy.
What else could I say? I love it. I like that I don't get the attention of the pedestrians, it's not a trendy car, and that's what I like about it. Elegant, with plenty of space, reliability, friendly maintenance costs and that quietness that only a few makes can give you. Something I will never forget and I would really miss if I would own a different car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd June, 2006