This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Toyota Avensis Tourer (09-15) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The entry-level 1.8-litre petrol is fairly flexible and frugal. The 2.0-litre petrol engine while quicker, doesn’t feel a great deal livelier on the road. From 2003 to 2005 the only diesel offered was a 114bhp 2.0 D-4D, which performs adequately but anyone initially choosing diesel couldn’t select a higher performance option. In 2005, a 2.2 D-4D was also offered, with 136bhp, and was more competitive with other cars in its class.

From summer 2006 the 2.0-litre diesel was upgraded to 124bhp, the 136bhp 2.2-litre engine continued, but a 175bhp version of the 2.2-litre was also available, called the T180. Doesn’t feel as fast as you might expect – the gearbox seems to be set up for comfortable cruising rather than sprinting. Auto-only 2.4-litre petrol engine was relatively short- lived.

Very refined but there was low demand.

The Avensis handles safely and predictably. While the rear suspension is derived from the sporty Toyota Celica, it drives far more like a family car than a coupe. The Avensis turns in confidently with good body control, but the steering has a rather artificial feel to it, and doesn’t offer much feedback. Ride comfort is good though and the Avensis would make a good long-distance car.