Loved by short-hop minibus taxi drivers, Uber drivers and the occasional family, the Toyota Avanza has always been a cheap seven- seater.
Now the company has decided to try to move it away slightly from its cheap look and feel to something a little more modern with an additional bit of luxury.
The new generation has a refreshed exterior design in a bid to elevate its status while Toyota says it has advancements under the skin, with improved noise, vibration and harshness levels, ride quality and refinement. The exterior receives a substantial makeover thanks to the adoption of the new Toyota corporate face.
At the front, a large radiator grille is the focal point, framed by a bold colour-coded “brow” and trapezoidal head lights. There are revised rear taillights and more chrome. Inside, there is a classic black interior colour scheme as well as more modern interior panel trim and trendy accent panels. The driver gets a new instrument cluster, with amber-hued inserts, a silver outer bezel and white night-time illumination.
Providing the entertainment is a four-speaker audio system with USB input. A multi-information display provides feedback on various elements. All models receive a new eco-indicator to provide feedback on economical driving.
The new, split third row seat allows passengers to adjust the back row seating. The third row seats also feature a tumble function to increase cargo space. The adjustable second and third row seating make it possible for owners to configure the interior layout to suit their requirements, offering various combinations of passenger versus cargo space.
Auto up and down operation has been incorporated into the driver’s power window, while a new console tray positioned at the front in close proximity to the 12 -volt power outlet creates a storage space for loose items. The rear window wiper now gets an intermittent function and the interior light has auto-off functionality, preventing the risk of battery depletion.
Contributing to an increased level of safety, the second seating row has been fitted with a centre headrest, which uses a split design, allowing the seats to fold down individually. A three-point centre seatbelt is also on offer. Isofix child seat restraint points are featured, which are further complemented by a seatbelt warning system for driver and front passenger, as well as driver and passenger airbags.
Electronic brake-force distribution has been added to all models, adding to the ABS system. An anti-theft system with alarm and immobiliser is also included in the Avanza. The company says the suspension Geometry and design have been tweaked to provide improved handling and stability, steering feel as well as enhanced ride comfort. According to Toyota, these design changes also deliver a reduction in cabin noise.
Under the bonnet there is the option of two new engines, in 1.3l and 1.5l guises. This family of engines is shared with the Etios hatchback, but Toyota says they have been tuned differently for the Avanza. The 1.3l engine delivers 70kW with 121Nm of torque, with the 1.5l delivering 77kW and 137Nm. A five-speed manual is available on the 1.3 with the option of a four-speed automatic box on the 1.5. Fuel economy is said to have been improved with a 6.1l/100km figure being claimed for the 1.3 and 6.3l/100km for the 1.5 manual.
The automatic derivative is said to deliver 6.7l/100km. There are three trim levels to choose from. The range starts with the S-grade model, which features electric windows, remote central locking, power steering, a centrally mounted console box, intermittent windscreen wipers and an anti-theft system as standard.
The SX grade adds colour-coded exterior mirrors with power operation, air-conditioning and a vanity mirror for the front passenger. Topping the line-up is the TX grade, which is equipped with new Switchblade 15-inch alloy wheels and chrome treatment on the front as well as a roof spoiler at the rear. A 1.3l panel van remains part of the line-up.
-Motor News Reporter
1.3 S R193, 400
1.3 SX R208, 500
1.5 SX R214, 900
1.5 SX AT R231, 600
1.5 TX R245, 600
1.3 panel van R198, 000