► First pics of facelifted Avensis
► Word is, Avensis won't be replaced
► New look, new tech too
Is this the last throw of the dice for the Toyota Avensis? Toyota has confirmed its D-segment contender will be getting a thorough refresh at the 2015 Geneva motor show in March - and word is this might be the last iteration of Avensis before the Japanese giant tries its hand at a different type of family car.
Yep, Toyota is considering what's known in industry circles as 'doing a Qashqai'.
This is not an all-new Avensis, but it is about to receive a significant injection of European cash. The redesign has been orchestrated by Toyota’s ED2 design studio in the south of France while the engineering has been undertaken at the firm’s R&D centre in Brussels.
On past experience, this means the new car could be surprisingly good to drive. Honestly.
So what’s new about the 2015 Toyota Avensis?
Among the key changes is an as-yet-undetailed ‘new’ engine range. Performance should increase alongside efficiency – but since when have new models ever offered less than those they replace? No shock there.
This may even include the company’s new 1.2-litre turbo bound for other small Toyotas.
A new package of safety technologies called ‘Toyota Safety Sense’ will also be offered on the latest 2015 Avensis. Depending on exact spec – which is TBC – this includes autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic high beam assistance and road sign recognition – with the last featuring a warning buzzer to tell you when you’re exceeding the speed limit.
The exterior redesign isn’t quite as radical as the ‘X-face’ on the latest Aygo, though squint and it does sort of look like you might imagine that Aygo to look as an old man.
The estate is almost handsome; the saloon has perhaps a little too much of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell car about it. Actually, no. That’s cruel.
When will we find out more about the 2015 Toyota Avensis?
The new Avensis, which will continue to be built at Toyota’s Burnsaton plant in the UK, needs all these things and more if it’s to survive against the impressive new Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo. Not to mention premium alternatives such as the BMW 3-series and Audi A4.
To this end we’ve already heard whispers (CAR magazine, September 2014) that there may not be another Avensis at the end of this lifecycle. Toyota might instead elect to ‘do a Nissan’ and withdraw from the conventional mid-size sector in favour of a more consumer-friendly crossover.
More details from the 2015 Geneva motor show on 3 March.