Toyota Avanza 1,5 TX

It is what it is”. If I had a Rand for every time I’d heard this adage being applied to the Toyota Avanza, I could probably buy a fleet of these compact MPV’s. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit, but in the case of this compact MPV the aforementioned statement does hold true.

The Avanza has no sporting intentions, cannot traverse terrain that would make a mountain goat consider the long way home and doesn’t come packed to the gills with technology. The Avanza is built to carry a family and its associated detritus in the most compact, practical and, above all, affordable package.

At R139 700, the range-topping Avanza 1,5 TX is well equipped for it’s price. Standard features include front- and rear air conditioning, electric windows (with one-touch up and down function for the driver), power steering (standard across the range), ABS with EBD (from the 1,3 SX upwards), driver- and passenger airbags (again, from the SX upwards), electrically-adjustable mirrors and 15-inch aluminium wheels.

From the outside, the appearance of the 1,5 TX is aided by the inclusion of a boot spoiler with LED brake light, a chrome grille surround and smoked privacy glass for the rear windows. The overall design is innocuous and neat; overhangs are small and the vehicle has a high, narrow stance born from the requirement to seat seven occupants. Its looks won’t set pulses racing or warrant double-takes from the opposite sex; besides, the majority of Avanza owners will be more concerned about the needs of their family than garnering envious glances.

The inside of the Avanza is a bright, airy place to be thanks to generous glazing and light-coloured trim. However, the ivory hue of the seats does have its drawbacks – the Avanza’s been in our test fleet for just two weeks and its upholstery already looks a bit tatty; a prolonged dose of kids/pets/flat-pack furniture would probably take a hefty toll on the material. Up front, the dash is ergonomically sound with most major controls being clearly visible and falling easily to hand. Fit and finish is fairly good for a vehicle in this price bracket, although the brittle beige plastic and annoying rattle in the dash (of our car, at least) remind you that this is a vehicle built to a budget.