It’s not significant and occurs only when the 2.2 engine of the D-4D is put under full load. But the low-volume rattle lurks somewhere behind the dashboard.
Normally, I’d ignore such a minor deviation from perfection, but after making such a big thing about the lengths to which the Japanese giant goes to banish all sources of noise and vibrations, it’s right to include it here.
The rattle started at around the 6,000-mile mark and provided the excuse to be critical – albeit slightly – about a product that reflects top-line build quality.
Flawless paintwork, uniform gaps on panels, doors that close with a reassuring clonk and a gentle damping action on lids and grab handles all give the Avensis appeal as an above-average offering in this sector.
The Tourer has something of an upmarket air. Roomy and comfortable, this is quiet and efficient transport.
And the demeanour of the car has improved as the mileage has increased – the sound from the engine bay becoming even more subdued.
Economy has been impressive from day one, particularly on long hauls, where the high sixth ratio provides perfect gearing for effortless motorway cruising with the engine lazing at just over 2,000rpm.
The 49.4mpg returned over a 3,000-mile European holiday is credit to the car, hauling heavy loads at high speeds and has helped average economy of a very impressive 49.6mpg – above Toyota’s claims.
Niggles? Hardly any, except that the CD player holds only one disc and the headlights are not automatic. But the Avensis is better equipped than most because it comes with satellite navigation as standard.
Price (OTR): £20,645
CO2 emissions (g/km): 156
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £79 per month
Insurance group: 10
Combined mpg: 47.1
Test mpg: 49.6
CAP Monitor RV: £6,400/31%
Contract hire rate: £454
Expenditure to date: nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles.