UK CAR 
Used Car Review
Toyota Avensis 2.0 GLS 
Estate 2000

Avensis Toyota's Carina replacement.
The Avensis was introduced in Nov 1997 and facelifted in Jan 2003.

The model tested here is a 2000 GLS 16 Valve manual five speed.

The Avensis is a mid range car available in 4 door saloon, 5 door hatch and five door estate versions. Engines vary from 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, and a 2.0 Turbo Diesel. The 1.6 is not very powerful and therefore not the most desirable of motors. The 1.8 and 2.0 litre models are favourite with the diesel becoming ever more popular and trying to break the European stranglehold on diesel engined cars. When you think Diesel you probably think French followed by German, rarely does Japanese spring to mind.

Specification levels start oddly with the S spec going through to the CDX models with leather trim and all the goodies.

Toyota are not renowned for stylish looking saloons and the Avensis is no exception. It does, unfortunately, remind me of the dated Carina which it replaced - the wing curves and doors are very similar.

The front bonnet line is very plain, broken in appearance bar the multi lens headlights. These are still quite simple so Toyota obvious save all their top styling tips from Lexus. The bumpers are partially colour coded which is as well as the car is very bland and fully colour coding it would mean that it would not really have any visible features. So the black strip breaks the car up a little, along with the window trims which help to carry the theme quite well.

This car is protected with black rubber side mouldings which are very practical and do somewhat stop the car suffering bumps and bruising in supermarket car parks. Again, they are matt black which contrasts to the main body colour. The attractive lighting on the front prevents the car from being rather boring in appearance.

Roof rails are fitted as standard on the Avensis GLS estate which are useful and solidly fitted. These allow for fitting of after-market luggage boxes, thus increasing extra load capacity for the occasional family camping tours.

The sunroof seems out of place combined with the rails and I would question its practicality. However, it is a valued standard Toyota fitment.

 

Luxury Features
Air Conditioning
Air Conditioning
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Compact Disc Player
Compact Disc Player
Electric Mirrors
Electric Mirrors
Electric Windows (front & rear)
Electric Windows (front & rear)
Heated Mirrors
Heated Mirrors
Leather Steering Wheel
Leather Steering Wheel
Radio Cass Remote
Radio Cass Remote
Radio Cassette
Radio Cassette
Sunroof (electric)
Sunroof (electric)
Trip Counter
Trip Counter

The Avensis 2.0 GLS Estate retailed for around 17,000 when new which was a hefty price tag for a mid range estate although this reflects the level of standard fitment in the car.

The interior is fitted with the usual average Toyota plastic - everything is artificial or oil based apart from the velour seating which I'm sure is foam based underneath the veneer of textile. There is a small splash or plastic walnut in the door panels and on the dash area for that pretend extra expensive appearance. 

It is all, however, neatly put together but failed to impress me.

In keeping with current MPV vehicles and others, the Avensis has inserted the extra cup holders into the rear arm rest for those occasional spills which you just don't need from any children in the rear whilst touring with the camping equipment.

With front seats in a normal position you would not appreciate the rear leg room, if you were six feet or so.

Head rests are fitted front and rear and the front seats have storage pockets at the back for that homely feeling. It allows you to keep far more than you actually need in your car and also cuts down on the number of clear-outs you need to do. Simply keep storing what you can't be bothered to remove from the car into the storage areas and empty once a year (alternatively, you could sell to a taxi firm and buy a new one).

The dash clocks are easily read and very basic in design. Positioned in pure symmetry, the grey silver and red make them clear to register. A digital odometer and external temp gauge are fitted for extra info. I find it all plain and oh so boooorrrrinng.

I can't resist mentioning the stereo - it reminds me of the old Aiwa tape decks of the eighties. Very bright, very plastic and very crude. 
Who would have authorised such a piece of modern tat to be inserted into a bland and boring dash?

 

125mph top speed  9.8seconds to 60 mph 131 bhp
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed
24.6mpg 41.5mpg 33.2mpg
The engine is a tough straight 4 cylinder 16V in line standard east/west configuration.

The gearbox drives the front wheels though a five speed system.

The engine is from Toyota's range and not specific to the Avensis. It does appear dated now, having been produced since at least as long ago as 1992. Maybe even longer. It is, however, capable of sportily pushing the car beyond the speed limits and in reasonably quick time.

The engine is easily started and idles without any excess noise or intrusion. For a four cylinder it is very well balanced and smooth throughout its rev range. 

It is also happy to respond with 131 bhp if pushed for long enough. Its best achievement for me, though, is its ability not to burn excess fuel. It averages 33+ mpg and will deliver much more when cruising at reasonable speeds.

The gearbox is a standard alloy boxed 5 speed which drives the front wheels. The gear change is smooth and light, accompanied with a light clutch making the Avensis very easy to drive in heavy traffic.

The gearing is fairly low, encouraging you to rev it to get the car to sprint rather than grunt to speed.

The 2.0 unit responds throughout the rev range and will allow most styles of driving but it does not like to run a low speed under load and shudders a bit when asked to do so. 

Steer/Susp/Tech Features
Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brake (front)
Disc Brake (front)
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
Front Fog lamps fitted
Front Fog lamps fitted
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Wheel Covers

The Avensis has independent suspension front and rear. Braking is not over-reactive, giving good feedback and a secure feeling.

The steering is a little light and the car does not command corners as well as other estates in this sector but it is very predictable up to its limits. The Avensis weighs in at 1280KG and will tow slightly above this which is a goodly-sized caravan.

In normal driving the Avensis is absolutely average. It performs well in a straight line. However, if you wish to put down your right foot with lots of weight, the wheels struggle to keep grip and understeer is common. Try to throw this car beyond it's limits (which is easily done) and it will disappoint you.

I know it's a family estate but I feel it should handle better. I just can't glean a sense of confidence in this car - I wouldn't like to drive it in the wet and suddenly have to perform an emergency stop whilst driving in anything other than a straight line.



 

Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Child Locks
Child Locks
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Side Air Bags
Front Side Air Bags
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection
Three Rear 3 Point Seat Belts
Three Rear 3 Point Seat Belts

The Avensis is fitted with lots of electronics to help keep your car and all the rubbish you store in it. 

The immobiliser is very difficult to bypass. This technology, however, has lead to the current rate of car jackings as thieves try new tactics to get their filthy hands on your car. 

Air bags are fitted as standard. 

It must be noted that the drivers which is in the center of the steering wheel is particularly ugly.

In the unfortunate event of a crash the Avensis has state-of-the-art technology to help preserve you and your occupants. The seat belts are pre tensioned to pull you into the seat whilst the appropriate air bag explodes. Sounds alarming but it works very well.

Rear set belts are three point which is a bonus as not all estates have them fitted.

Chrome Grille
Chrome Grille
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Mirrors
Colour Coded Mirrors
Exterior Side Mouldings
Exterior Side Mouldings
Heated Rear Window
Heated Rear Window
Rear Wash Wipe
Rear Wash Wipe
Roof Rails
Roof Rails
Tinted Windows
Tinted Windows

Generally the Toyota is a sound and well tested make throughout the world. 

The Avensis is no exception to the typical endurance that the average Toyota can survive. Corrosion is rare and the paint finish is very good, keeping it's appearance with good effect. The paint lacquer used is both tough and resistant to marking or bird droppings, etc.

The car is reasonable to insure and run with medium to low service costs, provided you don't return to Toyota for the servicing.

It's all fairly roomy inside with plenty of leg and head room, providing you're sitting in the front. The driver's seat is quite comfortable, there are window switches in the door panel and the rest of the switches are easily accessed. Ignition is a standard barrel with steering lock activated when the key is removed.

Very useable boot area, with a low loading height and not much of a drop into the boot which helps to make heavy and awkward objects easier to load and unload.

I really do not wish to be too hard on the Avensis but I spend so much time running around in high speced, more dynamic cars that it is just difficult to get excited about this Toyota. However, millions of taxi drivers and family users run Toyotas quite happily and swear by them. If dynamics play second fiddle to stone axe reliability then the Avensis is a hard car to beat.  

 

Kerb Weight Tow Weight Length Width Height
1280kg 1300kg 457cm 170cm 149cm
Boot Seats/up Boot Seats/Down Seats
529 Litres 999 Litres 5
Sample data Click here to access specifications for over 30,000 UK cars. 

Car information and car pictures.

Many more used car road tests. 

 

For all Toyota cars specifications and data from:
www.ukcar.com click here.