Toyota Avensis (2003 – 2009) Review

Toyota Avensis (2003 – 2009) At A Glance


+Solid car. Sophisticated multi-link suspension deliberately unstressed for long life. Quite quick T180 diesel from July 2006.

-Middle of the road looks have become accepted. Amiable and unstressful rather than exciting to drive.

On average it achieves 98% of the official MPG figure

I ran an original 115PS Toyota Avensis D-4D for six months a couple of years ago. I wound up describing it as “an amiable thing. Does the job very well. And never, ever snaps back.” 

The fully independent chassis was always capable of carrying more power, and was always adjustable. It wouldn’t take much tinkering underneath to make an Avensis grip and handle like a track day car. However, that would create more wear on the bushes and tyres than Toyota and 99% of its customers want in a family car. So, though it has plenty of potential, the Avensis is set up to last.

Nevertheless, Toyota has now give the Avensis a mid-life facelift, improved the suspension, put indicators in the door mirrors, sharpened up the diesels, made all engines timing-chain (the old 2.0 D-4D was belt) and added a cool £1,500 to most of its prices.

The old 114bhp 2.0 D-4D goes up to 126bhp, plus a useful extra 20Nm torque and an extra (6th) gear. There’s a new 150bhp 2.2 D-4D 150 6-speed. And to top off the Avensis range, a 175bhp (177PS) 2.2 D-4D 180 6-speed. 

Toyota Avensis D-4D 2003 Long Term Test

Toyota Avensis D-4D 2003 Long Term Test

Toyota Avensis D-4D 2003 Six Month Test

Toyota Avensis 150 and 180 D-4D 2006 Road Test

Car seat chooser

Child seats that fit a Toyota Avensis (2003 – 2009)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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Real MPG average for a Toyota Avensis (2003 – 2009)


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

25–60 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.

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Ask Honest John

What budget car would you suggest for a trip around Europe?

"What car would you suggest for a trip around Europe (two months long)? Our budget is £3000 to £4000. "
We'd be looking for a Skoda Superb - it would be a very comfortable choice and, with a diesel engine, will be very economical. Avoid the early 1.9 - the 2.0-litre diesel is the one to go for. Also, consider a Toyota Avensis - they're very reliable.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's a good diesel to buy on a £3000 budget?

"I'd like to buy a used diesel family car within the £3000 limit. I need it for commuting so needs to be good on fuel? Any ideas and what mileage is best for the age?"
A diesel at this price has the potential to be problematic. You want one with reasonably high miles and extensive service history - it's better to find a diesel that's done lots of motorway journeys rather than one that's been used around town. I'd be tempted by a Skoda Octavia. They're popular with taxi drivers, which is a sign that they're pretty reliable, but look for signs that it might have been used for private hire. Also consider a Toyota Avensis for the same reason.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Whats the best used estate for £3000?

"I have a budget of £3000 and would like to get a used estate car and diesel. What are the best ones to be looking at for reliability and economy? "
Do you really need a diesel? They might be problematic at this price, especially if you don't cover many motorway miles. If you do, I'd recommend a Skoda Octavia. The 1.9 TDI seems to be a tougher engine than the 2.0-litre and you'll get one from around 2009 with your budget. A good alternative is the Honda Accord with the 2.2-litre i-DTEC (if you can find one within budget) or a Toyota Avensis D-4D - there's a reason taxi drivers love them.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What fuel should I use to keep my 10 year old Toyota Avensis running?

"You mention that supermarket petrol can clog up engines and reduce MPG from the deposits in their additives. I understand that it's best to use branded super unleaded. Is it the case that branded normal unleaded is similar to supermarket unleaded? I have just bought a one owner 10 year old petrol Toyota Avensis and don't know what fuel has been used in it. Should I add Redex in case it will improve it. What do you suggest? "
No I didn't write that. What I wrote was that supermarket fuels often lack the additives that keep fuel systems clean. All fuels have to meet a basic British Standard of 95RON for 'Premium' unleaded and 97RON for Super. Some exceed these RONS (Shell V-Power petrol is 99RON) and that is in addition to their additive packages. I recommend you use Super and do not add any further additives.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Toyota Avensis (2003 – 2009) cost?