2006 Toyota Avensis Hatchback 1.8 VVT-i from Germany

Summary:

A sensible and reliable family cruiser

Faults:

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).

General Comments:

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*.

Comfort:

- 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.

Driving:

- 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.

The dealer:

- 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 bad:

- 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

2006 Toyota Avensis 2.0 from South Africa

Summary:

The car is generally reliable and comfortable

General Comments:

The car is very silent when running and very comfortable.

The seating position is high and lovely.

I live in a complex of town houses. In early January I saw two guests of my neighbour coming to see my Avensis. I opened the car and let them admire whatever they wanted. They left very impressed with the features including the electric seats. They were driving a new VW Jetta which they had just packed.

I have travelled with the car from South Africa to Malawi across Zimbabwe, and Mozambique; a journey of 7800 km and never had to add a drop of water or oil. Recently I took a tour of the garden route and my my car continued performing wonderfully.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th January, 2008