Toyota has unveled the latest in a lineage of Avensis models that stretch back over four models to the original launched in late 1997. In all 1,711,800 Avensis models have been sold, so this new one has to please existing customers, while hopefully bringing in ‘conquest’ sales.
Toyota proudly claim that the new Avensis is designed and engineered in Europe and will be built exclusively in Britain. It’s not a car that has been designed to get the heartbeat picking up pace and its strongest attributes have been its ease-of-use and reliability.
It’s a formula that has worked, with the Avensis consistently taking high quality, durability and reliability ratings. Last year it took the highest score in last years J.D. Power ownership satisfaction survey in Germany. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Avensis holds a particularly strong place in the fleet market with about 75% of ‘D’ segment business in Europe.
But, Toyota has recognised the need to strengthen its appeal in particular areas, if it is to bring in more private customers. Private buyers, Toyota say, are looking for prestige, luxury and elegance and the new design is aiming to satisfy that demand.
Of course, it wouldn’t be truly a new design direction if it didn’t have a name, so it does. The style of the new Avensis is called ‘Energetic Elegance’.
In an attempt to woo more private customers and ‘user choosers’ Toyota’s new design aims to inject more of a dynamic, sporty character into the new model, along with a touch of chic.
That chic might well be communicated in the use of a new version of the ‘X’ graphic front end which we recently saw on the Toyota Aygo
. Incorporated in this are LED headlamp clusters and LED daytime running lights.
Particular attention has been paid to the interior, where the aim has also been to inject more elegance to create a more refined style. We’re told that designers have worked hard to provide this more up-market look, by selecting the new car’s trim and finishes not only for looks, but also for feel. A focus on reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) aims to give the new Avensis greater refinement.
On the safety front, Toyota have gone public with their ambition to achieve a five-star Euro NCAP rating for their new car. To this end, the new Avensis includes a new Toyota Safety Sense package as standard. Step up to the ‘Active’ trim level and the safety package includes a pre-crash safety system and autonomous emergency braking that will automatically brake the car if a collision is sensed and the driver takes no evasive action.
These days, use of touch-screen technology and advance ‘infotainment’ systems is important in persuading buyers to part with their money and Toyota aim to satisfy this demand with their Toyota Touch 2 system and an eight-inch multimedia touchscreen.
The new Toyota Avensis is 40mm longer than the outgoing model and, in addition to the saloon, it will be available as the estate-car-style Touring Sports.
Prices for the new Avensis range will start at £17,765 for the Avensis 1.8 VVTi saloon, rising to £28,440 for the Excel Touring Sports 2.0 D-4D. Included in the range are new 1.6 and two-litre D-4D engines. The 1.6 has a combined fuel economy figure of 67.3 mpg and carbon dioxide emissions of 108 g/km.
The first new Avensis will roll off the UK production line in about two weeks’ time, where the new model is to be produced on the same production line as the Auris.