We tested the Tourer (estate) version of the Avensis with the 2.0-litre diesel rather than the 2.2 fitted to the saloon. How much difference does losing 200cc make? Quite a lot, actually.The Tourer moved from 30-60mph in 18.7 seconds – a full 3.5 seconds slower than the four-door.
At a steady 60mph, the Avensis was stable. At higher speeds, it was less happy, and was pushed around by the van through the lane-change test. Towing electrics were not as easy to reach as we’d have liked, and a full-size spare would be better than a compact tyre. There was plenty of room in the boot, though.
Despite its high price tag, the Avensis should be cheap to run. Official figures promise 54.3mpg on the combined cycle. Very little should go wrong with it; Toyota finished fourth in the 2009 JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey.