The Avensis should prove reliable and there’s the reassurance of Toyota’s five-year warranty. However, it’s an unremarkable car to drive and tow with.
At 60mph the Avensis Touring Sports was stable, but some drivers found the car less secure at 70mph. Short, sharp steering inputs unsettled the Toyota, and the back of the car began to slide when tackling the lane-change manoeuvre at speed.
There’s enough power to tow a sensibly matched caravan, but it’s not especially brisk: accelerating from 30-60mph took 16.4 seconds.
The electronic parking brake held the car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 test hill, but it took plenty of revs and clutch slip to coax the Avensis to the top. There was a hot smell from the clutch after reversing partway back up the far slope.
Inside, the Avensis doesn’t have as much rear-seat space as a Skoda Superb or a Volkswagen Passat. That said, the luggage space coped with all our bags, and the Toyota scored points with our practicality testers thanks to towing electrics which power the caravan’s battery and fridge as well as the road lights.
As a solo drive, the Avensis is set up for comfort rather than rewarding handling. So if you are looking for entertainment, this isn’t the car for you. It’s a sensible buy, but hard to get excited about.