Toyota’s compact MPV was given a facelift last year and admittedly, this Avanza looks pretty good. Out front, it gets a new grille and headlights and bumper, new alloy wheels for both 1.5L and 1.3L variants. Changes in the rear are more subtle with the brake lights getting a new look.
Inside, the Avanza gets an up market feel with a two tone grey and predominantly dark brown fabric and dash and door trim. The second row can comfortably seat three adults, they also easily fold and tumble forwards with one touch, but the 50/50 split third row would be better suited for small children.
The entertainment system is a touchscreen 2-DIN system that supports AM/FM/CD/MP3/Aux/USB, Bluetooth and is navigation ready via the SD card slot. Audio from this head unit is pretty good! You get amenities like power windows, locks, side mirrors, a rear window defogger and a rear wiper. There are a lot of nooks to put your things but I noticed there weren’t any cup holders save for a deep receptacle behind the handbrake. Safety is beefed up with Dual SRS Airbags, 3 point ELR seatbelts for 7 passengers, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD).
Under the hood is a 1.5L 4 Cylinder, 16 Valve DOHC, Chain Drive with Dual VVT-I that puts out 103Hp at 6,000rpm and 136Nm of torque at 4,400rpm mated to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic, we tested the A/T. Seemingly small on paper, it felt a bit more than 103Hp, the engine revs smoothly and the automatic transmission shifted smoothly up through to its top of 4th. The ride is pretty smooth considering this Avanza is still body on frame and I like that its also rear wheel drive.
The Avanza is available in Nebula Blue Metallic, Grey Metallic, Silver Mica Metallic, Black Metallic, Beige Metallic and White. And this variant we tested is PhP 924,000.00
The last time I drove the Avanza was the first gen and I can say that this has definitely come a long way. The Eco indicator helps give you an idea if you’re driving economically and it has a small turning radius of 4.7 meters.. A people mover, you can expect to get many reliable years of service from as is it’s a rear wheel drive, chain driven engine with a body on ladder frame. And history shows us, that, cars that last for generations have those three aspects.
Specifications: Price: PhP924,000 Engine: 1.5L 16V DOHC Chain Driven Dual VVT-I Transmission: 4-Speed Automatic Gate-Type Output: 103HP @6000rpm Torque: 136Nm @4400rpm Suspension: Front – Mcpherson Struts with Stabilizer Rear – 5 link coil spring Brakes: Front –Disc Rear – Drum Seating capacity: 7 Fuel Capacity: 45L
Words and photos by Neil Pagulayan