Toyota has launched the latest iteration of its popular entry-level MPV, the Avanza. According to the company, the new model has grown not only in dimensions, but also in terms of its style, refinement and practicality.
The new Avanza, which goes on sale early next month, has grown 20 mm in length and 25 mm in width. The frontal styling incorporates a prominent "snout" similar to that of the new Yaris flanked by arrow-shaped headlamps. The flanks feature flared wheelarches, a glasshouse treatment that’s meant to emulate a single pane of glass and a prominent character line, while restyled brakelamps round off the rear appointments. As before, the more upmarket touches (think chrome-look finishes, rear spoiler and 15-inch alloys) are still the preserve of the TX model while the more modestly finished SX and S models roll on a set of 14-inch items.
The previous car’s somewhat utilitarian interior has made way for a more car-like facia and what Toyota claims are more upmarket materials and finishes. By making incremental changes to the interior (read thinner seatbacks and slightly revised door trimmings), Toyota as managed to free up approximately 15 mm of legroom for the second- and third-row passengers. SX and TX models also now feature a sliding function for the second-row seats to aid access to the rear seats and/or improve foot space.
The range kicks off with the S model, which features ABS with EBD, remote central locking, power steering, immobiliser, electric windows and dual airbags. The SX model adds electric mirrors, air-conditioning and the aforementioned sliding second-row seats while the TX brings in roof-mounted vents for the rear passengers, a 4-speaker sound system with USB input and dual-zone climate control.
The 1,3- and 1,5-litre VVT-I petrol engines have effectively been carried over from the outgoing model, but the new car’s lighter construction (20 kg less than its predecessor), improved air conditioning management system, new electric power steering module and low rolling resistance tyres help reduce fuel consumption. The 1,5-litre unit develops 76 kW and 136 N.m of torque while the 1,3 serves up 67 kW and 117 N.m. Toyota has also added a resonator to the engine’s air cleaner hose to help alleviate the boominess for which the previous car’s powerplant was often criticised, while improved sound insulation has also been added. The biggest new development is the addition of a four-speed automatic SX model to the range.
The new Avanza rides on MacPherson struts up front and has a 5-link rear suspesion set-up. Toyota has reportedly tinkered with shock absorber rebound rates, increased the tyre tread widths and increased the caster angle and trail rates to give the new car a more sure-footed demeanour.
Avanza 1,3 S – R155 900 (incl. VAT and emissions tax)
Avanza 1,3 SX – R168 800
Avanza 1,5 SX – R175 500
Avanza 1,5 SX AT – R189 600
Avanza 1,5 TX – R202 200
All Avanza models come with a 4-year/60 000 km service plan and a 3-year/100 000 km warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.