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Handsome value for money 3rd generation Avensis; The new Toyota, made in Britain.

Byline: Malcolm ROBERTSHAW

THE completely new third generation Toyota Avensis has been created to deliver more style, higher performance, improved fuel economy and lower emissions.

It is built in Britain - at Toyota's Burnaston factory in Derbyshire.

Driven here is the Avensis Tourer which comes with T4 trim. Third in the four trim Avensis line-up, T4 delivers a generous level of kit with the likes of auto dual zone air con, electric windows all round, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, 11-speaker audio system with CD changer and MP3 connection, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, smart entry and start button, cruise control and electronic parking brake, all as standard.

However, the large panoramic roof included in the test car is a pounds 590 option.

In the safety stakes, you do get seven airbags for your money while driver safety features include ABS braking with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist to effectively slow down the proceedings when required, plus steering assist vehicle stability control and traction control are on hand to help keep drivers on the road.

The provision of good interior space has been pretty well thought through. Although the middle position of the rear seating set-up may not provide headroom to suit all passengers, manoeuvrable leg and shoulder room front and rear are very accommodating while the well shaped, wide boot, which also includes four underfloor stowage boxes, provides 543 litres of family style luggage space with all seats taken, This expands further to around 1,600 litres of long and flat cargo area with the rear seats folded.

In the well built cabin the neatly put together dashboard is perhaps more practical than eye catching but the designers have wisely avoided introducing a plethora of items to press.

You also get the so called keyless entry system with the latest Avensis, which means that starting up the 2.2-litre diesel engine is simply a case of pressing a button to the right of the steering wheel before calling on the electronic parking brake placed behind the wheel which you push to apply and pull to turn off.

Paired with a smooth switching six-speed automatic gear change, the 2.2-litre D-CAT engine proved a perfect companion, well suited for eating up lots of miles, handling the tarmac in conservative fashion without perhaps looking for medals in the dynamic stakes.

All round visibility is excellent from a comfortable driver's seat and, despite its lack of flair, the driving environment is a nice place to be with light touch controls neatly to hand in a well insulated cabin as the car delivers a quietly comfortable, supple ride. While the 0-62mph mark is arrived at in a little under 10 seconds, overall progress from the 148bhp diesel is sedate, the car tending to neatly side step any calls for the fun factor, while remaining comfortable and very user friendly throughout the journey time.

Overall, this is a fine effort from Toyota and, while a little more dynamism could perhaps have been factored in, the well-priced Avensis Tourer diesel with its handsome looks, decent running costs - well capable of 40mpg - and practical businesslike manner has the attributes to appeal to the family/business driver.

FAST FACTS Toyota Avensis T4 2.2 D-CAT Tourer Price: pounds 23,985 Mechanical: 148bhp, 2231cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox Max speed: 127mph 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds Combined mpg: 42.8 Insurance group: 8 CO2 emissions: 174g/km BiK rating: 22% Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


INSIDE VIEW: The latest Avensis features a well built cabin with a neatly put together dashboard BUILT IN BRITAIN: The Toyota Avensis T4 2.2 D-CAT Tourer has been created to deliver more style, higher performance, improved fuel economy and lower emissions
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2009
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