The Toyota Avensis is a quiet, unassuming kind of car. It doesn’t grab you instantly, but by the end of the test it had earned everyone’s respect.
The 2.2-litre diesel engine has enough pull to make the most of any overtaking opportunity. However, sixth gear is too high for towing. Responsive brakes stopped the Avensis from 30mph in just 10.4 metres.
The lane-change manoeuvre showed a shortage of grip compared with a Mazda 6 or Skoda Superb. Backing off the throttle from 60mph also caused the caravan to move around more than expected.
Cabin space isn’t in the same league as the Skoda, but unless you travel regularly with tall adults in the back, there’s enough room for most needs. A full load of holiday luggage could be squeezed into the boot, although we would have preferred a full-sized spare to a compact.