The Avensis packs quite a punch, thanks to its 177bhp engine. It blitzed the 30-60mph test in 12.4 seconds; only the Volvos are quicker in this class.
As the saying goes, power is nothing without control, and the Avensis has that, too. It’s impressively stable at the legal limit, and tackled the lane-change manoeuvre at speeds that would have sent many cars sliding. We were even more impressed with its performance in the brake trial, coming to a halt from 30mph in just 9.86 metres.
Buyers won’t go short of toys, with climate control, alloy wheels, a CD multichanger and cruise control as standard. Mind you, for the thick end of £23,000 you should expect creature comforts.
But – and it’s a big but – the Avensis has a low towing limit; just 1300kg. That’s 5kg short of an 85% match, so those aiming for the 85% ratio when loading risk breaking the law by exceeding the car’s limit.