Category: Upper medium Prices: £15,515-£22,515
Per month: £362 Key rival: Ford Mondeo

Back at the start of 2004 the Avensis scooped our top Fleet Excellence Award for New Fleet Car of the Year. And for good reason, you, the readers of Fleet Week, voted the car into pole position for its amazing costs, quality interior, understated looks and the first Euro4 diesel in the sector.

At the time we wrote: “Regardless of whether you plump for a 1.8 or 2.0-litre petrol, or the fantastic 2.0-litre D-4D diesel, each Avensis either beast its rivals or comes very close in doing so, on insurance, repair costs, servicing, lease rates and CO2. Residuals are also an excellent 35%.”

Toyota has given the Avensis a mid-life rework and everything we said then, still holds true now.


Visually, the revisions are best described as subtle. The easiest way to tell the difference compared with the outgoing version is by the door mirrors, which now house the side indicator repeaters.

Inside the dash feel and look has also been improved. But it’s the diesel engine line-up that see the biggest changes and there’s now a choice of three new diesels. From the top down; Toyota’s 177PS 2.2-litre diesel is offered under the T180 badge, there’s then a 150PS version of the same engine, but from a business car perspective the 126PS 2.0-litre diesel engine is the expected biggest seller.

The highest selling corporate trim level will be the T3s. The ‘s’ in T3s indicates satnav as standard and at a P11D price of £17,367 this is impressive. The only rival to come close is Renault’s Laguna.

The mid-spec T3 model doesn’t skimp on other kit either and includes trip computer, CD player, aircon and more. with the only obvious absence being cruise control.

The revised Avensis excellent on costs. The overall cost per mile of 27.9p is 4ppm better than its next nearest rival – the Laguna. This advantage comes mainly from a low depreciation figure – ahead of its rivals by at least £1700.

The official fuel consumption sits above 50mpg so the CO2 output is also impressive and the Avensis qualifies for the 19% benefit-in-kind tax band, one lower than the equivalent Laguna or Vectra.

As you’d expect from ultra reliable Toyota the service maintenance and repair costs is also the best against the rivals listed below. Only on lease rate does the Avensis not come up to scratch and this will be because of a greater level of manufacturer support for its rivals. However, this higher lease rate is partially cancelled out by the lower tax bill.

The one area the Avensis misses out on is the emotional user-chooser attraction. The car doesn’t look special and isn’t exciting to drive but in the emotion free world of fleet, it’s a winner all the way.