The Japanese brand plans to branch out of the upper-medium volume sector with a special version of its UK-built Avensis which blends high performance with low exhaust emissions.
Toyota Europe planning executive Duncan McMath said: ‘No other compression-ignition engine can match the output and cleanliness of our new 2.2-litre D-4D in D-CAT form – it is unbeatable and will offer significant benefits well into the future. ‘This is an engine which will stimulate demand for the Avensis, which is already winning a reputation as a product of superior quality…this is a development with the potential to take us into the premium sector.’
Speaking at a preview of the D-CAT in Germany, McMath added: ‘Going into the high-performance diesel segment represents a great opportunity for us and we are predicting this engine will account for 25% of Avensis sales.
Already in production at the company’s Burnaston factory in Derbyshire for some European markets, the flagship Avensis will not reach UK showrooms until July 2006.
The car will be launched to coincide with the model’s mid-life makeover and will be the ‘halo’ version the company will feature in a charm offensive aimed at wooing potential user-choosers.
Boasting a string of advanced gadgetry, including piezoelectric technology in a third-generation common rail injection system, the D-CAT engine pushes the Avensis to nearly 140mph and has a 0-to-62mph time of 8.6 seconds to provide acceleration to match.
McMath said: ‘We are handling the launch of the new engine as if it were a full new model.
‘We see it as a solution to the classic dilemma because it offers performance with low impact on the environment.
Where there are financial advantages for diesel particulate technology, this engine may account for 25% of our total diesel sales.’
Although initially restricted to the Avensis, Toyota’s technology to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) to below the levels required by Euro IV regulations will become available on the Corolla Verso and other models in the near future.
Behind the wheel
THE D-CAT may well be dedicated to countering environmental concerns, but the fact that it behaves more like a Big Cat Jaguar out on the open road is likely to win it more interest in showrooms. However, knowing that it produces fewer harmful exhaust emissions than any other diesel engine only serves to heighten the pleasure of driving a roomy saloon which responds like a sports car when the accelerator is pressed.
Irrespective of how quickly it happens to be travelling, a dab of the right foot sends this Avensis surging ahead, and a combination of good stability and tall gearing make it a superb motorway express.
PRICING has yet to be fixed for the ultimate Avensis but with wood and leather trim, our test car had the luxury feel which suggests this ‘best-of-both-worlds’ motoring will command a hefty premium when it goes on sale in a year’s time.
Engine (cc): 2,231
Max power (bhp/rpm): 175/3,600
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 295/2,000
Max speed (mph): 137
0-62mph (sec): 8.6
Fuel consumption (mpg): 46.3
CO2 emissions (g/km): 161
On sale: July 2006