New Avensis will also contribute to a reduction in Toyota's fleet average CO2 emissions to 140g/km by 2009. The Toyota Optimal Drive philosophy has been applied through a range of new petrol engines, upgraded diesel engines and new, advanced transmissions.
New Avensis will be available in saloon and Tourer body styles. These were designed in parallel, so the Tourer was designed specifically for its purpose, rather than being a saloon with a raised and stretched rear. Both versions have a sleek appearance. The bonnet has been lowered, the slim A-pillars flow forwards and the C-pillar is slanted backwards to produce a flowing silhouette. Excellent aerodynamics gives a Cd figure of 0.28 for the saloon and 0.29 for the Tourer, helping reduce CO2 emissions.
New Avensis is 50mm longer than the previous generation model, giving an overall length of 4,695 for the saloon and 4,765 for the Tourer. Both have a 2,700mm wheelbase and are 1,480mm tall – the same height as the current Avensis. Thanks to the new platform, the track has been increased by between 30 and 45mm, while the car's width has grown by 50mm to 1,810mm. Repositioning the wheels nearer the outside edges of the floorpan has achieved a more solid, powerful appearance without adding unnecessary weight or mass.
Avensis is also more spacious inside. Although overall vehicle height remains unchanged, there is more headroom. Cargo space in the Tourer is more flexible, with cargo rails available to divide and secure separate loads. Fold flat seats have a one-touch folding mechanism to create extra space when needed in both saloon and Tourer. The new-look instrument panel makes good use of the car's width to emphasise the spacious feel of the interior. This can be further heightened in the Tourer with the option of a panoramic roof.
The new 1.8-litre Valvematic offers a choice of the new six-speed manual transmission or new Multidrive S, Toyota's latest continuously variable transmission technology. Power is greater by 14 per cent compared to the previous 1.8 VVT-i unit at 145bhp (147 DIN hp) and there is an extra 10Nm of torque, with a maximum 180Nm delivered at 4,000rpm. CO2 emissions are down 10 per cent at 154g/km in the saloon with manual gearbox; 16 per cent at 157g/km with Multidrive S transmission.
The 2.0-litre Valvematic is at the top of the petrol engine range, offered with six-speed manual and Multidrive S transmissions. Maximum output is 150bhp (152 DIN hp), three per cent higher than Toyota's 2.0-litre engine, and maximum torque is 196Nm, produced at 4,000rpm. With manual transmission, CO2 emissions have fallen 15 per cent to 163g/km; with Multidrive S the decrease is even greater – down 26 per cent to 164g/km.
The 2.0-litre D-4D 130 engine delivers power through a six-speed manual transmission and produces 124bhp (126 DIN hp) at 3,600rpm and 310Nm of torque between 1,800 and 2,400rpm. Emissions are down seven per cent at 134g/km for the saloon, with improved performance.
The 2.2 D-4D 150 offers a strong balance of power and economy. Output of 148bhp (150 DIN hp) is reached at 3,600rpm, with an increase in torque of nearly 10 per cent to 340Nm, generated between 2,000 and 2,800rpm. This means maximum torque is available in most driving conditions, cutting the need for frequent gear changes, whilst still delivering less than 150 g/km.
The top-of-the-range diesel, the 2.2 D-4D 180 has a unique combination of a low compression ratio and a high boost turbocharger, which gives remarkable power and engine efficiency. With 175bhp (177 DIN hp) and 400Nm of torque across a rev band from 2,000 to 2,800rpm, it is among the most powerful diesel engines in the D-segment. Nought to 62mph acceleration is achieved in 8.5 seconds, yet CO2 emissions are 157g/km for the saloon, making it one of the cleanest high power diesels on the market. Like the 2.2 D-4D 150, it uses Toyota D-CAT for cleaner operation.
Steering assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+) is new to the model, a system which increases the protection provided by a regular VSC system by adding steering torque assist to counter any yaw movement during sudden changes in handling or on slippery surfaces. In an emergency situation the driver may sense torque movement on the steering wheel in a given direction to help ensure the right steering input is made to compensate the under- or oversteer. New Avensis is fitted as standard with an emergency brake signal, which activates flashing brake lights to warn following vehicles of sudden hard braking.
Within the range, features that will be available will include dual zone automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights and windscreen wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, full-map touch-screen satellite navigation with Bluetooth, Smart Entry and Start system, a panoramic roof for the Tourer, and an 11-speaker premium audio system with the 10Gb hard disc drive.