There is a lot to say about the new Toyota Avensis and the special qualities it will bring to the upper medium D segment when sales start on 1 March. As a gentle introduction to its many advances in technology, performance, handling, comfort and convenience, we thought we would go back to basics and the simple alphabet.
Forget all about A for Apple, because of course A is really for….
Avensis: the name was launched with the first generation model in 1997 and continues with the all-new range of saloon, hatchback and Tourer estate. Built exclusively at Toyota’s Burnaston plant, near Derby, the car completes Toyota’s core product line-up alongside Yaris and Corolla and is presented as the company’s European flagship model.
B is for Brakes: powerful and stable braking performance is one of the central elements of the new Avensis’s active safety package. Discs are used front and rear and all models feature ABS and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). What’s more, all 2.0-litre petrol versions are equipped with Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
C is for Catalyst: catalyst technology has been advanced to deliver an engine line-up that combines performance and fuel economy with low emissions levels. This autumn Toyota will launch its Diesel Clean Advanced Technologies (D-CAT) system with a 2.0-litre D-4D diesel engine in the new Avensis. This includes a four-way catalyst to achieve big reductions in CO2, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions.
D is for Design: the new Avensis is the work of Toyota’s own European design studio ED2 in the South of France. The intention was to create a classic, timeless appearance that would reflect the car’s in-built superior quality rather than taking a radical or futuristic approach. The saloon was the principle design from which the hatchback and Tourer evolved.
E is for Europe: the new Avensis has been designed, engineered and built in Europe and is Toyota’s new flagship model for the European market. The car has been tuned following extensive testing on European roads to ensure it meets the demands of local driving conditions.
F is for Fukusato: Chief Engineer of the Avensis project Saguya Fukusato had great personal input into the car. As a former rally driver, he was determined to achieve the most rewarding handling, and as a music lover, the quality of the eight-speaker sound system was important, too. As a self-professed Euro-phile, he also strove to capture an essential European feel in the new Avensis.
G is for Grades: for the UK market the new Avensis is available in five distinct grades: T2, T3-S, T3-X, T4 and T Spirit. All models come with nine airbags, air conditioning, xenon headlamps, alarm and immobiliser with double locking, eight speaker audio system with CD player and steering wheel-mounted controls, nine airbags (including Europe’s first standard-fit knee airbag) and Optitron instrument display.
H is for Health and Safety Check: under Toyota’s pan-European Health & Safety schedule, the new Avensis only requires a major maintenance service every 20,000 miles. In between, Health & Safety check-ups with an oil change are required every 10,000 miles or once a year. Labour time for regular servicing has also been reduced with components that are simpler to maintain or replace. All this contributes to the new Avensis’s excellent cost of ownership profile.
I is for Intelligent Technology: windscreen wipers that ‘feel’ the rain, a climate control system that can distinguish between one side of the cabin from the other and airbags that know how far to inflate to offer the best protection are all examples of the ‘intelligent’ technology at work in the new Avensis. Using multiplex wiring has allowed vehicle systems to communicate with each other and provide enhanced levels of safety, convenience and comfort.
J is for Journey planning: an optional DVD-based satellite navigation system provides the fastest route search currently available on the market. It also has the capacity to store a map covering all of western Europe on a single disc and can provide the driver with three route options. The system comes with a handy remote control, so passengers can do the programming, or optional voice command recognition.
K is for Knee airbag: the new Avensis is the first car in Europe in its class to be equipped with a driver’s knee airbag as standard equipment. The airbag deploys from beneath the steering column and provides extra protection for the driver’s knees and upper shins. It is one of nine airbags provided as standard in all versions of new Avensis.
L is for Luxury: the engineers responsible for the new Avensis designed in quality that appeals to all the senses. The result is a car offering many luxury touches and all the ambience of a premium segment model. Dual zone climate control, ultra-fast DVD-based satellite navigation, 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a cabin finished in top quality materials throughout are just a few of the highly appealing features of the Avensis range.
M is for Minimum Intrusion Cabin Structure: the construction of the new Avensis features a strong, rigid central passenger cell, designed to absorb and disperse the forces from an accident impact away from the cabin. The Minimum Intrusion Cabin Structure is crafted from high-strength sheet steel and features carefully located reinforcements, crossmembers and impact beams.
N is for Neutral Tones: Toyota engineers wanted the new Avensis to smell nice as well as look good, sound quiet and feel pleasant to touch. Neutral tones were sought from the materials used inside the cabin to create an inviting atmosphere, in particular the Thermoplastic Poly-Urethane (TPU) used for the upper dashboard.
O is for Options: the new Avensis is so well specified across its five grades, there are just three extra cost options. Cruise control, full-colour DVD-based satellite navigation and 19-inch alloy wheels are available, according to engine/grade combination.
P is for Phase Alignment Technology: does your favourite CD sound distorted when you play it in the car? Phase Alignment Technology applied to the new Avensis’s eight-speaker audio system works to deliver pure sound to your ear, free from any distortion caused by driving conditions.
Q is for Quality: Superior Quality is the foundation of Toyota’s European brand DNA and has been the guiding principle behind all aspects of development of the new Avensis. You will see its influence in such areas as the car’s prestige design, excellent fit and finish, high-quality interior and superb ride and handling.
R is for Reminder: driver and front seat passenger won’t forget to buckle up, thanks to a new two-stage seatbelt reminder. If the system detects belts are not fastened, a light will illuminate on the dashboard, followed by a warning buzzer once the car reaches 10mph. If seatbelts are still not in place after 30 seconds, the buzzer becomes louder and more frequent.
S is for Suspension: the rear double-wishbone-type suspension on the new Avensis is central to its excellent handling characteristics. The system is a development of the one used on the Toyota Celica sports coupé, tuned to suit the demands of a family vehicle.
T is for Targets: in a full year, Toyota aims to sell 27,000 Avensis models, contributing to a Europe-wide target of 130,000 units. These figures underline the importance of Avensis in Toyota’s medium term ambition to secure a five per cent share of the European market, equivalent to around 800,000 annual sales.
U is for Ultra Light Concept: noise and vibration levels have been brought down to premium car levels with help from this revolutionary new damping material. Not only is it effective in soaking up road and engine noise, it is also exceptionally light. The weight saving from using Ultra Light Concept helps reduce fuel consumption.
V is for Value: the new Avensis is exceptional value for money. On cost of ownership it is hard to beat with equal best-in-class insurance ratings (from Group 7E for 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel models), reduced parts and maintenance pricing, extended service intervals with reduced labour time for standard checks and excellent fuel economy. On the road prices start at £13,995 for the 1.8 T2 hatchback and saloon.
W is for Wipers: automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers are fitted as standard to grade T3-X models and higher. The sensitivity of the rain sensor has been tuned to provide improved performance and its location has been moved clear of the driver’s eye-line.
X is for X- factor: Toyota’s indefinable formula for style and street presence that makes the new Avensis stand out from the D segment crowd.
Y is for Younger: the new Avensis is targeted at a younger market than the previous model. Most owners are expected to be male, aged in their 30s and with successful careers.
Z is for Zero emissions: the new Avensis can’t boast zero emissions yet, but Toyota’s continuing development of cleaner engine and power solutions has produced some of the most efficient power plants on the market. The arrival of a 2.0-litre diesel engine with D-CAT in the last quarter of 2003 will set a new benchmark for clean diesel engine performance with emissions substantially below the requirements of the EURO IV legislation that comes into force in January 2005.
The new Toyota Avensis will go on sale on 1 March in saloon, hatchback and Tourer body styles. Prices will start at £13,995 for the 1.8-litre T2 hatchback and saloon, rising to £21,495 for the T Spirit Tourer with sequential automatic transmission.