Toyota Avensis saloon (2008)

Published: 31 March 2008

Toyota isn’t deserting the family car heartland just yet – these spyshots of the new Avensis  prove that the Japanese are going down the tried-and-tested route with the new saloon.

Our spies caught it testing in Germany, but the Belgian plates betray its origin; Toyota’s HQ and R&D centre are both based around Brussels. It’s being put through its paces ahead of a debut expected at this autumn’s Paris Motor Show when we hear it will stick with the Avensis badge – rather than picking a sexier new name, as happened when Toyota dropped the Corolla in favour of the Auris tag in 2007.

Bodystyling: the Avensis family tree

Toyota is dropping one of the Avensis’s bodystyles this time around – we expect the five-door hatchback to be dropped, leaving just a sporty Tourer estate and the four-door notchback pictured here.

As detailed in our last scoop on the Avensis, there are few surprises under the bonnet with engines spanning from 1.8 to 2.2 in petrol and diesel form – but we hear there will be a mild hybrid version with petrol-electric powertrain to trim CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

The new Avensis will again be built at Burnaston, Derbyshire, alongside the Auris. The plant first opened in 1995 when it built the Avensis’s forebear, the first Carina E for the European market.

Expect UK sales from early 2009 priced from around £16,000.

Interested in the new Avensis? Or does Toyota’s latest have all the excitement of a new washing machine? Click ‘Add comment’ and let us know

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet