Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Toyota Avensis Tourer - 5th Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Toyota Avensis Tourer - 5th Report

Date: 16 September 2009   |   Author: Guy Bird

Voice menu
Category: Estate
P11D price: £22,385
Key rival: Ford Mondeo Estate

In my experience, most in-car voice activation systems usually offer more comedy value and/or annoyance than actual assistance.

Unfortunately, my first experience with the system in the Avensis Tourer has proved no different. Activating it is easy enough: a press of a button just to the right of the steering wheel hub reveals a screen with options such as 'Go home', 'Destination' and a calm voice that prompts you to talk away. Encouraged, I start with what I thought was a very clear "Go home" only to be confronted with a concerned voice enquiring "Did you say golf course?". Here we go again.

Only three or four attempts later, including a few tries with the driver's window wound up and a new slower vocal pace and intonation that sounded like I was telling off a small (and slightly thick) child "Go.Home!" does the penny finally drop with the system, by which time I'm almost home anyway. To give the system the benefit of the doubt I tried it again when stationary with the engine off and the recognition system got it right first time. Typical.

I must say, though, on re-trying the kit more recently it now understands my 'Go home' command even with background noise. Trouble is, it's struggling with all manner of other instructions instead from 'Aux' - "Did you say all restaurants?" - to interpreting one random cough inexplicably as 'Zoom in'. Which makes me conclude this technology still needs a little ironing out before it's worth ticking as an option.

Toyota Avensis Tourer
2.2 D-4D 150 T4 5dr 6spd manual
Claimed combined
Our average consumption39.1mpg
P11D price£22,385
Model price range£16,560-£25,605
CO2 (tax) 150g/km/21%
BIK 20/40% per month£78/£157
Service intervalup to 20,000mls
Insurancegroup 8E
Boot space (min/max)543/1609 litres
Engine size/power2231cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph131mph/9.2secs
Why we’re running itCan it live up to its
new, sleeker and
more fuel-efficient billing?
PositiveSmart new exterior,
interior quality, ride
NegativeAnnoying handbrake,
steering response