Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Petrol power is limited to a single 1.8-litre engine, which is a little short of low-rev shove and needs to be worked hard. The 124bhp 2.0-litre diesel is much more flexible, if still not exactly brisk. The 2.2-litre version doesn't feel much quicker. There’s also another 2.2 diesel that comes with an automatic gearbox as standard, but it can be slow to respond, so unless you need an auto, we’d avoid it.

Ride & Handling3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad The Avensis Tourer feels well off the pace compared with rivals such as the Ford Mondeo Estate. It’s generally comfortable and at its best on the motorway, where the suspension quietly goes about its business. Throw in a few bends, though, and a shortage of steering precision and plenty of body roll quickly curtail any notion of enthusiastic driving.

Refinement3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad It’s reasonably quiet around town and there's little to trouble you at speed, even if rough surfaces kick up some road noise. The diesel engines could be smoother and quieter, especially when being revved, but they’re decently hushed at a cruise. It's a pity that the automatic gearbox (standard on the 2.2-litre D-CAT diesel) isn’t a little smoother.

Buying & Owning3 out of 5 starsReview-OnRoad Despite similar performance figures, the 2.0 D-4D is far more economical than the 2.2-litre diesel, plus it costs less to insure and sits in a lower tax bracket. It's still not as efficient as the best family estate cars, however, so it will cost more to run as a company car. Resale values are nothing special. The Avensis Tourer doesn't provide the same feel-good factor as some rivals; the design and materials in its cabin are too bland for that. What's more, it was rated just average for reliability in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey. At least everything feels solidly built and you get the reassurance of a five-year warranty. The Avensis Tourer comes with front, side and curtain airbags, and it has an airbag under the steering column to protect the driver's knees. There are also active front seat head restraints, along with a stability control system that helps get the driver out of danger in an emergency. Deadlocks and an alarm are fitted across the range. 

Behind The Wheel4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin It doesn't score highly for style, but the Avensis Tourer's dashboard gets top marks for ease of use thanks to its bold, simple controls. The only quirk is the push-button handbrake, which takes some getting used to. The driver's seat is comfortable, although the system for adjusting the backrest angle is a little fiddly. Forward visibility is excellent, so it’s a shame that the thick rear pillars obscure your view behind.

Space & Practicality4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin The Avensis Tourer is a ‘proper’ – rather than lifestyle – estate, with maximum space taking priority over style. With the seats up there’s as much boot space as in a Ford Mondeo Estate. There’s not as much when they’re folded, but the load space is long and flat. There’s so much head- and legroom in the front and rear seats that no one will struggle for space.

Equipment4 out of 5 starsReview-Cabin Entry-level Active models have the basics, including air-conditioning, Bluetooth and an auxiliary input socket, but we'd go for Icon trim, which adds desirable features such as sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera and a digital radio. Icon Business Edition versions also get leather and Alcantara seats. Excel models come with electrically adjustable heated leather seats, a panoramic glass roof and a better stereo, but they're pretty expensive.

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