Toyota Avensis

The new third generation Toyota Avensis made a public debut at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and features a few firsts when you’re talking about Toyota in Europe. The new Avensis is available in two bodystyles – sedan and wagon.

The new Avensis has the same 2700mm wheelbase as the outgoing second generation model, but Toyota claims this is a new platform, or perhaps an enhanced old one which they think deserves the term new. Despite being a D-segment sedan this is significantly shorter than the Camry’s 2776mm wheelbase. But then again apparently this is how the Europeans like their D-segment sedans so it’s quite normal for them.

Despite the same wheelbase, tread has been increased by between 30mm to 45mm and width has gone up by 50mm to 1810mm. The sedan is slightly more aerodynamic than the wagon at 0.28 Cd compared to 0.29 Cd. They are both 1480mm tall. The sedan is 4695mm long while the wagon measures at 4765mm.

The engine range consists from something as small as a 1.6 litre petrol unit all the way up to a 2.2 litre D-4D turbodiesel. All the petrol engine feature Toyota’s new Valvematic technology which incorporates continuously variable valve lift together with VVT-i valve timing control. The 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 Valvematic engines produce 132hp with 160Nm of torque, 147hp with 180Nm of torque and 152hp with 196Nm of torque respectively.

The 1.6 petrol unit only comes with a 6-speed manual but for the 1.8 and 2.0 litre models there is the option for the Multidrive S CVT transmission which succeeds the Super CVT-i transmission. This transmission behaves like a conventional CVT normally but when it senses you are driving hard, it automatically changes to a mode which swaps virtual cogs between 7-speed pre-determined ratios for a more sporty feel.

The oil burners range from a 2.0 litre and two 2.2 litre D-4D engines.These engines feature new piezo injectors and increased common rail pressure at 2,000 bar. The base 2.0 litre diesel produces 126hp and 310Nm of torque between 1800 and 2400rpm. The more sedate of the two 2.2 litre engines is the D-4D 150 which produces 150hp and 340Nm of torque between 2200 and 2800rpm.

The most powerful engine is the 2.2 D-4D 180, featuring 177hp and a massive 400Nm of torque between 2000 to 2800rpm. The D-4D 150 also comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, a first for a Toyota diesel passenger car.

Look after the jump for a photo gallery of the new Avensis.

PHOTO GALLERY: New Toyota Avensis
Click thumbnails to view high resolution photo