To appreciate the new but not-so-new Avanza, one needs to put all prejudices aside and accept it for what it is; an affordable family MPV. Sporting the new face of Toyota, the 2016 Avanza looks more refined that its predecessor with large windows and muscular lines forming part of its visual identity. It might not be a far cry from the model it replaces but while the previous model's looks wasn’t offensive, it looked very much like a commercial van and had that delivery vehicle persona. However, the new face-lift has done the trick and it most definitely looks like a passenger car now.
Apart from the front grille, the Avanza doesn’t give you any reason to think that it’s a Toyota. But that isn’t what it is about, it’s about practicality. It sits higher than most MPVs, with huge gap between the wheel arches and the wheels being clearly visible from any angle at any distance. The Avanza is aimed towards comfort and is fitted with a set of 15-inch alloys that not only improves the ride quality, but also makes the replacement tires affordable.
As simplistic as it may be, the Avanza is still no short being pleasing to the eye. Frankly speaking, it has no flaws exterior-wise. Often we see cars that are design-focused and yet a disaster in terms of looks. But that isn’t the case with this humble-looking MPV.
The cabin is where the major strides have been made. The quality of the materials feels higher than before and the instrument cluster is cleaner than before. The two air-con dials coupled with a built-in stereo system makes up the humble centre console. There is no sign of the god-awful beige colour that haunted the interior of the previous model. The darker interior colours in contrast with the brushed aluminium trimmings give the Avanza a more upmarket feel than before.
There are seven seats to make use of, albeit with a small bit of squeeze involved. The last row of seats is better suited for kids rather than adults. However, the use of the third row hampers luggage space, but it can be folded for more luggage space if needed.
The new Avanza also got at heart transplant along with the facelift. The old 3SZ-VE has been replaced by the new 2NR-VE for better fuel economy. The 1.5 litre Dual-VVT-I engine is paired with a four-speed automatic gearbox chunks out a modest 103HP. Though the numbers seem a little weak for a seven-seater, but the acceleration didn’t seem that bleak and to be honest the car was pulling away from the starting line with ease. The best thing about the Avanza is that despite being a seven-seater, it still, somehow manages to do 13 kilometres to the litre inside city, which means once you fill it up, you wouldn't have to worry about refuelling for quite some time.
On the safety front the Avanza is fitted with antilock braking system, electronic brake-force distributon and dual front airbags.
The Avanza is as practical as it gets and that too with the reliability of a Toyota. The fact is, if you want a solid and robust seven-seater that won’t complain on rough roads or even when fully loaded, the Avanza without a doubt is still the best choice. Although, as far as comfort goes, it’s starting to feel its age and the other choices seem to trump it in terms of value. Despite all that, it still transports seven people, churns out a good fuel economy and it is not unpleasant to live with in terms of maintenance. Whether or not that’s acceptable, depends entirely up to you.
Navana Toyota 3S Center 205-207, Tejgaon Industrial Area Dhaka-1208
Phone: 880-2-9892911, 880-2-9893048, 880-2-9851212
Price: 32.5 Lakhs