The title of “Most Boring car in England” has historically been bestowed upon the Toyota Avensis. The 2009 Toyota Avensis, which goes on sale next year, looks no different and we'll tell you why.
In England, tax loopholes, the economies of scale and business culture combine to create a market for some of the most boring cars ever conceived: the repmobile. It’s a common practice there to supplement the salaries of mid-level management and business sales reps with free company cars. Those cars are purchased by fleet managers motivated by bulk discounts and low running costs; nothing else. This results in the large-scale production of incredibly yawn-inducing mid-size sedans, created to do little more than provide basic, uninspired transportation for the kind of people Ricky Gervais likes to make fun of.
The new Toyota Avensis goes on sale on 1 January in both saloon and estate (for sales reps with large product samples) body styles. The extent of our interest lasts only to the comic “Toyota Optimal Drive Powertrains” badge, which essentially means that the Avensis comes with a medium-sized choice of so-average-it-hurts engines and transmissions. If you’re still interested, or one of the unlucky people who will have one of these leased for them, read on for the full press release.
TOYOTA PRESENTS THE NEW AVENSIS: BUILT IN BRITAIN
* New generation of Toyota’s European flagship, built in Britain
* Saloon and tourer body styles, with sleek, athletic styling
* New Toyota Optimal Drive powertrains deliver lower emissions and more power
* All-new petrol engines and revised diesels
* Petrol units offered with new advanced continuously variable transmission
* Packed standard specification with four trim levels – T2, TR, T4 and T Spirit
* On-the-road prices from £15,760
* On sale from 1 January 2009
* Full media information, images and video footage now available via the Toyota GB press web site: www.toyotagb-press.co.uk.
The all-new, third generation Toyota Avensis delivers more style, higher performance, improved fuel economy and lower emissions. Toyota’s flagship model in Europe, built exclusively at its Burnaston factory in the UK, benefits from athletic, contemporary styling, superb build quality and advanced engineering.
New engines and transmissions have been developed using Toyota Optimal Drive technology to return significantly better fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to the previous generation model. New Valvematic petrol engines and revised D-4D and D-CAT clean diesel units balance driving pleasure with strong environmental performance and reduced running costs. Together they offer the private and company car driver all the power and comfort they are used to as well as the low emissions and fuel consumption they now demand.
New Avensis is available in saloon and tourer body styles with four equipment grades: T2, TR, T4, and T Spirit. All offer a high level of features for safety, comfort and convenience, with advanced features such as a Pre-Crash Safety system (PCS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Warning (LKA/LDW) and premium satellite navigation system with built-in hard drive for storing music files available in the model for the first time.
UK sales of new Avensis start on 1 January with on-the-road prices from £15,760.
TOYOTA OPTIMAL DRIVE POWERTAINS
Toyota Optimal Drive is a new concept in powertrain engineering and design that is being applied to all new Toyota models. Toyota Optimal Drive means no compromise on performance, emissions or specification. On new Avensis, it brings new engine technologies and advanced transmissions, with low friction components, lightweight compact design and enhanced combustion efficiency.
New 1.8 and 2.0-litre Valvematic engines – more power for less fuel
Valvematic is an innovation based on Toyota’s proven dual Variable Valve timing – intelligent (dual VVT-i) technology. In addition to the variable timing of the inlet and outlet valves, Valvematic adds a lift control system that continuously varies the lift of the inlet valves to better control the volume and speed of the intake airflow. This provides a breakthrough in combustion efficiency that ultimately delivers more power for less fuel.
Across the range the new 1.8 and 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol engines achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of between 10 and 26 per cent, while at the same time increasing power by between three and 20 per cent, compared to the VVT-i engines used by the previous generation Avensis.
Revised D-4D and D-CAT diesel engines – up to 10% lower emissions
New Avensis offers customers one of the most comprehensive ranges of diesel engines in the D-segment, all of them benefiting from Toyota Optimal Drive technology. Entry point is the 2.0-litre D-4D 130, followed by the 2.2-litre D-4D and D-CAT 150 as mid-power options, and the 2.2 D-CAT 180 as the higher power unit (the D-CAT 150 engine with automatic transmission will join the range in spring 2009).
The challenge was to develop these engines to give excellent performance and low CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, while at the same time achieving a substantial reduction in the level of particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions. Together the new diesel engine technology features deliver a reduction in CO2 and fuel consumption levels between one and 10 per cent compared to the previous generation Avensis; the 2.2-litre D-4D 150 and 2.2-litre 150/180 D-CAT engines all meet Euro V emissions standards.
Advanced new transmissions – diesel automatic for the first time
New Avensis uses a range of advanced transmissions that strike a balance between responsiveness, smoothness and fuel efficiency.
Multidrive S, Toyota’s new and advanced continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available with the 1.8 and 2.0-litre Valvematic petrol engines. And for the first time on a Toyota diesel passenger car, a six-speed automatic will be available, offered on the 2.2-litre D-CAT 150.
All petrol engines are fitted with a newly developed six-speed manual transmission, while the diesel engines are matched to the proven six-speed manual gearbox featured in the previous generation Avensis.
NEW PLATFORM WITH REVISED SUSPENSION
New Avensis has been engineered for smooth ride comfort, but with dynamic handling for rewarding driving characteristics.
A new platform provides an excellent balance of high-speed stability and low speed agility, and to enhance performance, both the MacPherson strut front suspension and the double wishbone rear suspension have been re-engineered with improvements in torsional stiffness and roll rigidity. Front shock absorber and rear lateral force steer specifications have also been upgraded.
New, large diameter wheels with wider tyres are fitted to further improve stability and dynamic handling. A flush underfloor design helps maintain stability at high speeds, reduces noise and contributes to fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics.
New Avensis’s precise and flexible responsiveness is built on the strong foundations of a new, precision-welded platform of exceptional rigidity and a car body with excellent aerodynamics. This new platform is fundamental to the car’s handling and also contributes greatly to its safety and quiet running. High tensile steel accounts for much of the constituent steel body components, which helps reduce weight, increase rigidity and ensure superb collision safety performance.
HIGHEST SAFETY STANDARDS
Toyota has built on the exceptional safety standards of the second generation Avensis, using a robust new construction and providing an effective complement of active and passive safety systems.
Active safety for full control
New Avensis is equipped with latest-generation ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) as standard.
Steering Assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) is a new feature on Avensis, also fitted to all models. VSC+ operates with the Traction Control (TRC) to improve traction and safety in low grip conditions, going beyond the protection provided by conventional VSC systems by adding steering torque assist to help the driver counter the effects of under or oversteer in an emergency situation.
Optional Pre-Crash Safety system
T Spirit versions of the D-CAT 150 automatic will be available (from spring 2009) with the option of a Pre-Crash Safety system, a package that also includes Adaptive Cruise Control, which maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, and Lane Keep Assist/Lane Departure Warning, which provides a warning and steering assistance when it detects that the car is drifting out of lane.
Entry point to the new Avensis range is T2 grade. Key features include air conditioning, six-speaker audio system with CD and MP3 file player (from disc), heated electrically adjustable door mirrors, electric front windows, seven airbags, body coloured door handles and bumpers, electronic parking brake, a multi-information display and chrome window surround. The active safety provisions include ABS, EBD, Brake Assist (BA), and Steering Assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+). Security is covered by a Thatcham Category 1 immobiliser and alarm plus remote central locking with double locking and lockable glove box. An anti-hijack system automatically locks all doors when vehicle speed goes above 12mph and all locks and latches are reinforced.
TR is the feature grade, accounting for a majority of new Avensis sales, and builds on the T2 specification with the addition of 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, automatic air conditioning, audio system with Bluetooth and Aux-in socket, cruise control with speed limiter (not 1.8 Valvematic with Multidrive S), automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, driver’s seat power lumbar support, leather steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth switches, leather gear knob trim, titanium centre console finish, electric rear windows and, on the tourer, boot rails.
Key elements of the T4 grade, above the TR specification, include special design 17-inch alloys, leather upholstery, auto-dimming rear view mirror, electric adjustable heated front seats and steering wheel with memory setting and Toyota’s Smart Entry and Start keyless system. The T4 tourer comes with rear privacy glass.
T Spirit is the pinnacle of the grade structure, adding 18-inch alloys in an exclusive design, rear parking sensors, a premium sound system with 11 speakers and CD changer, bi-xenon headlamps with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) and headlamp washers. The T Spirit Tourer is fitted with a panoramic roof as standard.