In the past 25 year the Avensis, and the proceeding model, Carina, have been the bestsellers in their class on 21 occasions and not used to playing second, third or fourth fiddle, Toyota is gearing up for conquest sales when the 152 registration plate arrives in July.
n recent times, the crown has slipped with VW and Ford forging ahead, but the fight is on and Toyota is aiming to be in the top two sellers list in the family/fleet segment during next year when new car sales are expected to grow to 120,000 units.
The competition is tough with VW Passat, Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia and Hyundai i40 new or upgraded models, but the good news is that the D segment saloon and hatchback sales have grown by 33pc this year.
The omens are good for the future, despite the growth in Crossover/SUV/MPV sales and Avensis has a loyal following with over 44,000 models already on Irish roads.
Toyota's confidence on its future success is based on the arrival of their new Avensis - a new car, but using the same platform and some well-proven mechanical elements of the old model. Up front, there are new headlights, a sharper nose, a wider look with big air intakes and fog lights moved further to the edge. There is a sleeker side profile and new light clusters and design features at the rear. Overall, a sharper looking stance.
The quality of the cabin has also been improved with the seats getting special treatment to make long-distance cruising more relaxing. Up front, plastics and other materials have also been improved to give a greater feel of luxury and there are colour-coded interior trims available.
But it is the new engines on offer that make the Avensis more attractive to those who appreciate economy and refinement under the bonnet. There is a new 1.6-litre and 2-litre diesel line-up bought in from BMW. The 1.6 replaces the old 2-litre and the new 2-litre takes the place of the 2.2-litre unit to bring improved efficiency that Toyota claim will reduce running costs by 20pc over a 90,000km usage over three years. With longer service intervals, the savings could be up to €500.
The 1.6-litre will be the most popular choice with 112bhp on tap with emissions of just 108g/km C02, while the 2-litre puts out 14bhp and C02 emissions down to 119g/km.
The 1.6 litre has good pulling power, produces 270Nm of torque, and is exceptionally quiet, even at high revs, which suggests that Toyota has gone to some lengths to subdue noise levels. A very welcome development.
The suspension settings iron out road surfaces well and makes light work of cornering and bumpy surfaces.
There is also a choice of a 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre petrol powered models with prices starting at €25,875.
The 1.6-litre diesel costs €27,710.