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This guide is aimed at those of you who are perhaps considering purchasing a Toyota Avensis but have yet to make up your mind. Before going on to give an assessment of the Avensis I should point out that I drive many different types of car throughout the course of my professional work and therefore I feel that I am well placed to give an unbiased judgement on Toyota's rival to the Mondeo, Vectra and Accord. I have not as yet written a guide in respect of any car - I usually review Digital Camera's - but the Avensis is a real gem and worthy I feel of guide all to itself.

The 2003 onwards model of the Avensis is a well built and reliable offering from Japanese car giant Toyota. The T3-S is the mid-range spec vehicle but comes with a host of factory fitted extras that should please even the most toy-hungry driver. Available in 1.8 and 2.0 litre Petrol and 2.2 litre Diesel variants, all of the engines are powerful and extremely economical returning an average of 38mpg, 36mpg and 53mpg respectively in general driving conditions. The interior is well screwed together and all switchgear is placed ergonomically around the driver. Leg room is generous both in the front and back and the boot is massive with over 510 litres of space.

The Avensis is extremely comfortable and effortlessly glides around town with ease. The ride is firm and the suspension absorbs every bump with minimal disruption to those inside. On the motorway the Avensis really comes into it's own and is happy to sit at 80mph plus all day with little or no effort. The built-in SatNav is extremely good with turn-by-turn voice direction and the addition of Air Con keeps the cabin and it's occupants fresh for those longer journeys.

Image wise, the Avensis isn't to everyones taste but personally, because it looks so different to mainstream large family cars, I find it a real eye-catcher. Having driven the Mondeo, Vectra and Honda Accord I can honestly say that the Toyota is way ahead in all respects. Bullet-proof reliability means trouble free motoring and residual values are extremely good.

If you can find a 2003 onwards model with full service history - a Toyota Approved is the best to go for - it won't come cheap but it will be money well spent. The looks of an Audi A6, the ride of a BMW 5 Series and the build quality of .... well a Toyota, you can't really go wrong.



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