Toyota Avensis Tourer 2012 Review

Toyota Avensis Tourer 2012 Review

Quite possibly the wettest two weeks ever on the Coromandel thwarted my attempts to use a nice little beachside spot for photographing the Avensis. Upon taking advice from my friend (and Coromandel native), I proceeded to drive across the grass which revealed itself quickly as a marsh.

Road tyres quickly fill up with mud and become slicks, and so it was that I decided not to bury it up to the axles and do what most men wouldn’t do:

seek help early. A bit of a push and some dried phoenix palm branches in the tyre tracks got us the four metres to safety again, at which time I could start thinking about the Avensis’ true practicality.

It’s not a four-wheel drive and it’s not even remotely designed for off-roading, but it is a station wagon with a practical boot and comfortable ride. It’s not a demon in the corners, but a drive up the road from Thames to Coromandel didn’t expose any handling weaknesses that your average Avensis buyer would worry about. Obviously, it’s going to push the nose wide if you go into a corner too hot, and the softer suspension means there’s a bit of lean in the corners, but try getting into a Land Cruiser afterwards and you’ll appreciate how flat the Avensis does remain.

Compared to Toyota station wagons of old, the Avensis has a very European look. It’s not your typical boxy wagon as the rear is sculpted around to its flanks in an attractive line that is reminiscent of Honda station wagons. Looking from the side there is a nice cohesion between how the front lights point to a strong shoulder line. You could definitely put a set of mag wheels an inch or so bigger than the standard 16-inch ones.

There’s a 112kW 4-cylinder petrol engine lurking under the bonnet. Torque is 196Nm and it drives through a CVT gearbox. Open road cruising is easy; overtaking requires a bit of planning. With sensible driving Toyota reckons you’ll get 7.1l/100km on the combined cycle.

We established the exterior is attractive and that the driving performance is as to be expected. It’s even relatively quiet on the open road. The weak link is the interior design. When you compare it to Toyota’s current offerings, the Avensis looks under specced and dated. There is also an odd choice of some interior options. For example, why would you need power lumbar for the driver’s seat when the rest of the seat controls are not powered?

You get dual climate control, leather steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and parking sensors, but not much else of note. The dashboard’s two LCDs look like they’re from several years ago and there is under-utilised space.

Boot space is excellent. There is 1609 litres of room with the rear passenger seats folded flat. Open the boot and you get a floor that’s flush with the boot aperture – very useful for loading heavy shopping or boxes. Lift the floor and you’ll find a couple of extra luggage compartments either for hiding valuables or separating out dirtier items like beach gear.

There is a 6-speaker stereo system that supports a variety of formats. The overall sound quality was a bit budget. You get a USB input for your iPod and Bluetooth phone integration. I still don’t understand why some Toyota models (e.g. Prius and Land Cruiser) will connect to my phone (Nokia N95), and some, like the Avensis and Camry, won’t.

There is the usual complement of traction control, vehicle stability control, ABS, brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution plus an excellent 9 airbags to give a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

The Avensis is a good, middle-of-the-road, sensible station wagon. Whether you’re purchasing for family practicality or work practicality, the boot size is substantial and the ride quality is good. Its external design is bolder and fresher than previous Toyota wagons, but the interior should be nicer for this price – Camry Atara SX is only a thousand more, but much better.

Price: $47,990

Pros

  • Comfortable drive
  • Attention to safety
  • Practical boot

Cons

  • More expensive then I expected
  • Interior feels dated

Specifications

Brakes

Description Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist(BA), Vehicle Stability Control Plus (VSC+) and Traction Control (TRC)
Front Ventilated Disc
Rear Solid Disc
Park Brake Electronic Parking Brake (EPB)

Dimensions

Front Track 1560 mm
Rear Track 1550 mm
Gross Vehicle Weight 2050 kg
Kerb Weight 1465 – 1560 kg
Minimum Ground Clearance 140 kg
Overall Height 1480 mm
Overall Length 4780 mm
Overall Width 1810 mm
Tow Capacity Braked 1800 kg
Tow Capacity Unbraked 500 kg
Wheelbase 2700 kg

Engine

Engine Model Code 3ZR-FAE
Type In-line, 4 cylinder, 16 valve, DOHC Chain Drive with Valvematic and Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i)
Alternator 100 amps
Battery Voltage 12 volts
Bore 80.5 mm
Capacity 1987 cc
Compression 10.0 : 1
Condition Combined
Emission 165 g/km
Test EU Directive 70/220/EEC
Fuel Tank Capacity 60 litres
Fuel Type Premium Recommended
Injection Type Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)
Location Front, Transverse
Maximum Power 112kW at 6200rpm
Maximum Torque 196Nm at 4000rpm
Starter 1.3 kW
Stroke 97.6 mm

Fuel economy (claimed)

Fuel Economy Rating 4.5 out of 6
Litres per 100km 7.1
Fuel Cost Per Year $1,990

Exterior

Body Coloured Electric Exterior Rear View Mirrors with Heater, Power Retract Function and Side Turn Signal Lamps
Body Coloured Exterior Door Handles
Body Coloured Front and Rear Bumpers
Daytime Running Light (DRL) System
Front Fog / Driving Lights
Fuel Cap with Tether Anchor
Intermittent Rear Wiper
LED High Stop Light
LED Rear Combination Lamps
Multi-reflector Halogen Headlights with Manually Adjustable Beam Level and Automatic Light Control System
Rain Sensing Washer-Linked Variable Intermittent Wipers
Rear Fog Light (1)
Rear Parking Sensors (4) with On/Off Switch
Rear Side and Rear Privacy Glass
Rear Spoiler
Rear Window Glass and Roof Mounted Radio Antenna
Roof Rails (Silver)
Tinted Laminated Acoustic Windscreen Glass

Interior

Safety

<td >Driver and Passenger Front, Side, Driver’s Knee, and Front/Rear Curtain Shield Airbags
2×3-Point ELR Front Seat Belts with Pre-Tensioners & Force Limiters
3 x 3-Point ELR Rear Seat Belts
Active Front Head Rests with Height Adjustment
Child Proof Rear Door Locks
Child Restraint ISO Fixing Points with Tether Anchors (2)
Front Passenger’s Airbag On/Off Switch
Rear Headrests with Vertical Adjustment

Interior Design

<td ><td >60/40 Split Folding Rear Seats with One-Touch Fold System<td >Centre Console Compartment with Storage Area/Bottle Holder<td >Remote Central Door Locking with Vehicle Speed Sensing Auto Lock, Answer Back and Double Door Locking Functions

3 Spoke Leather Steering Wheel with Audio and Multi-Information Display Controls
AM/FM Radio and Single Disc In-Dash MP3/WMA CD Player with 3.5mm Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Input Jack, Bluetooth Handsfree Phone and Audio Capability & 6 Speakers
Automatic Glare-Resistant Electrochromic Interior Rear View Mirror
Chrome Plated Interior Door Handles
Cigarette Lighter with Illumination
Clean Air Filter
Climate Control Air Conditioning with Separate Driver and Passenger Controls
Coat Hooks (2)
Coin Box
Cruise Control
Dash Light Dimmer
Digital Clock
Digital Type Heater Controls
Door Ajar Warning
Door Operated Interior Room Light
Driver’s Footrest
Engine Immobiliser and Alarm System
Front Accessory Power Outlet
Front Ashtray
Front (2) and Rear (2) Assist Grips
Front (2) and Rear (2) Cup Holders
Front and Rear Door Pockets with Bottle Holders
Front (2) and Rear (2) Personal Lights
Front Door Courtesy Lights
Front Seat Back Pockets
Front Seat Belt Warning Lights and Buzzer and Rear Warning Lights
Front Seats with Slide and Recline Functions, Driver’s Height Adjustment and Power Lumbar Support
Front Sunvisors with Illuminated Vanity Mirrors & Covers
Fuel Level Warning Light
Gear Shift Position Indicator on Instrument Panel & Centre Console
Headlights-on Reminder
Illuminated Entry System
Key Remind Warning
High Grade Fabric Seat Material and Door Trim
Leather and Chrome Gear Shift Lever
Lockable Glovebox with Light
Luggage Area Light
Luggage Area Storage Compartments and Dividers
Luggage Rail System with Moveable Tie-Down Hooks (4)
Multi Information Display with Outside Temperature, Current and Average Fuel Consumption, Range, Average Speed, Elapsed Time, Date and Rear Seatbelt Reminder Functions
Optitron Instrument Panel
Overhead Console with Sunglasses Holder
Outside Temperature Display
Park Brake and Brake Fluid Level Warning Light
Power Remote Boot Release on Key Fob
Power Windows with One-Touch Auto Up/Down, Anti-Jam Safety Function and Key-Off Operation
Rear Armrest with Trunk Through
Rear Demister with Timer
Rear Passenger Footwell Air Conditioning Vents
Remote Fuel Lid Release
Retractable Tonneau Cover with Net
Shift Lock System
Shopping Bag Hooks (2)
SPORT Mode Switch
Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column
Twin Trip Meters
VSC/TRC On/Off Switch

Steering

Description Electronic Power Steering (EPS)
Minimum Turning Circle 10.8 m
Steering Ratio 14.5
Turns lock to lock 2.9

Suspension

Front MacPherson struts with stabiliser bar
Rear Double wishbone with stabiliser bar

Transmission

Description Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with 7-Speed Sport Sequential Manual Mode, Sport Mode and Eco Driving Light
Drive Type Front Wheel Drive
Reverse Ratio 1.668
Final Ratio 5.182
Shift Type CVT


Words: Darren Cottingham
Photos: Vanessa James and Darren Cottingham
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