Review: Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015)

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Efficient 1.8 Valvematic petrol engines almost as economical as diesels. Excellent Multidrive S CVT. Good quality ride. Very reliable.

Dull looks and image. No hatchback. Not as much fun to drive as a Mondeo or Mazda6.

Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015): At A Glance

Leaner, greener Avensis. With new, more powerful, and higher revving, yet more economical, lower emission petrol engines, while diesel engines develop more torque at lower revs to give better real world economy.

This translates into benefits for company car providers and BIK taxpayers because all 1.8 petrol models, including the CVT auto, and all diesels except the D-4D 150 auto and the 180 T-Spirit Tourer come in under 160g/km. And at 154g/km CO2 the BIK percentage of list price of the new 1.8 Valvematic goes down from the 25% of the old Avensis 1.8 to 18% for the new one.

Toyota Avensis 2009 Road Test

Toyota Avensis 2012 Road Test


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Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4695–4780 mm
Width 1810 mm
Height 1480 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

The Tourer has a nice, long, protrusion-free luggage deck with indentations at the back for golfers to stow their clubs. But, though the seatbacks flop down in one easy movement, the luggage cover cassette and dog guard are as fingernailbreakingly difficult to remove as in an Audi A4 Avant. Toyota designers could have taken a look at the excellent, fuss-free ‘Karakuri' luggage cover and seat folding system in the new Mazda 6. And our car was upholstered in cream carpet which, while nice to look at and feel, I doubt many families will find a very dog friendly choice.

All new Avensis have an electric motorised parking brake, operated by a switch slightly awkwardly placed under the dash to the right of the steering wheel. It requires you to push it, counter intuitively to lock the brakes, then pull to switch them off. But, get used to it, and it does disengage as you drive off, so that's no real hardship.

Child seats that fit a Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015)

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What's the Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015) like to drive?

We kicked off with the 2.2D-4 150 6-speed automatic Tourer, a combination that won't be available in the UK until Spring 2009, but which is nevertheless a match that a lot of private buyers want, despite its company car unfriendly 174g/km CO2.

It's a very sweet, obedient autobox that can be paddleshifted when you want either by locking it in paddleshift mode, or simply taking over from straightforward ‘D'.

And it's a quiet, pleasant, motorway cruiser, though I don't recommend the 18" wheels with 245/45 tyres that feed every pothole, speed hump and ride through to the cabin. It feels, and is, a more compact car than the Honda Accord Tourer diesel automatic, or the Mondeo estate, though the Mondeo definitely rides and handles better even on 245/45 x 18s.

Having thought diesel was the way to go, our real surprise was the next car we drove, a one-up-from-base TR spec 1.8 Valvematic manual.

This is a new chain-cam engine that, as well as having variable valve timing also has continuously variable lift for the intake valves by means of a screw thread actuator mechanism. This allows more precise control of the flow of air into the engine giving multiple benefits of improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions, increased power and better engine response.

You both have your cake and get to eat it. The engine is incredibly smooth, almost inaudible at idle, and really good to drive, making the car (on sensible 215/55 x 17 tyres) a pleasant, relaxed cruiser pulling a high (for a petrol car) 28mph per 1,000rpm in top.

It handles well too. Better, in fact, than the diesel Tourer on its 245/45 x 18s. So, at a list price of £17,470 (£18,450 for the Tourer) it's probably the best 1.8 petrol you could run as a company car.

We did a fuel check and worked out we'd actually got over 40mpg over around 160 miles of test route involving all kinds of terrain and traffic, together with rain, mist and snow. So why pay more for a diesel that runs on more expensive fuel and doesn't provide any tangible benefit?

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.6 V-Matic 43 mpg 10.4 s 152 g/km
1.6 V-Matic Tourer 43 mpg 10.6 s 153 g/km
1.8 V-Matic 43–44 mpg 9.4–9.7 s 152–153 g/km
1.8 V-Matic automatic 42–43 mpg 10.4–10.7 s 153–154 g/km
1.8 V-Matic automatic Tourer 42 mpg 10.7 s 154 g/km
1.8 V-Matic Tourer 43 mpg 9.7 s 153 g/km
2.0 D-4D 61–63 mpg 9.7–10.0 s 119–120 g/km
2.0 D-4D Tourer 61 mpg 10.0 s 120 g/km
2.0 V-Matic 41 mpg 9.0–9.3 s 163–164 g/km
2.2 D-4D 51–52 mpg 8.9–9.2 s 143–149 g/km
2.2 D-4D 180 47–48 mpg 8.5 s 157–159 g/km
2.2 D-4D T180 47 mpg 8.8 s 160 g/km
2.2 D-4D Tourer 51 mpg 9.2 s 147 g/km
2.2 D-CAT 44–46 mpg 9.5–9.8 s 165–173 g/km
2.2 D-CAT Tourer 44–44 mpg 9.8 s 170–173 g/km

Real MPG average for a Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

28–58 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Toyota Avensis (2009 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

If I start using premium fuel after 80k miles, will there be a release of carbon deposits and would this damage the engine?

My Avensis has done 82,000 trouble-free miles on supermarket petrol. If I now start using Shell high octane fuel, will I get a sudden release of carbon deposits and would this damage the engine? I have noticed a tendency for lumpy running when holding a low gear.
It's theoretically possible that the cleaning properties of the premium fuel will dislodge some of the deposits within the engine. However, I would recommend getting to the bottom of the lumpy running of the engine in gear one and two. Have the spark plugs ever been changed? If not, they are probably worn out and causing the issue.
Answered by Dan Powell
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