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Used Avensis

My 1st car

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Hi guys, my husband & I are planning to buy our first car (2nd hand). I am expecting our first child in six months time and we were looking for something with reliability and well as space. A friend of ours suggested the Avensis as her boyfirend has one & he said that it is a v.v good car. I have been reading up on the discussions on this site and though it may be a good idea to ask for some advice please. We have a budget of about £6500.00 and was wondering if going this route (2nd hand Avensis) is actually a good idea. Help us Please. :unsure:

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I'd say a good bet.

If budget allows try to get one made after 2001 (Y reg) they were much improved and have far better engines. These engines have variable valve timing (VVTi) which makes them more economical and better performing. You can easily tell the newer cars by the large chrome 'fish mouth' grill on the front. Safety was also improved on these models so that is worth considering with kiddie on the way. The later ones also get sat nav.

Overall the Avensis is fairly good - they do suffer from a few rattles and they are not quite up to usual Toyota build quality but they are reliable and do the job.

The hatchback is more liked (and common) than the saloon - worth bearing in mind at re sell time.

Of course a main dealer is your best bet but expect to pay £1000 more than an equivalent private sale – however from a Toyota dealer you will get a warranty and RAC cover. Green and Maroon ones are less popular and so should be cheaper - Silver and Black command the huighest prices. The car supermarkets have loads but they will be high mileage ex fleet or hire cars - not really a problem if it has history. The 60 000 miles service is quite expensive so bear in mind if you look at any around the 50 - 59 000 mile mark.

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If you test drive one, listen for any squeaking from the steering column when you turn the wheel when stationary or at low speed, moving forward or in reverse. Any squeak may mean a new steering rack - FOC from Toyota, probably. Again as per advice here and on other sites, feel carefully for any gearbox noises or problems engaging gears, particularly with the 1.8 version. The Avensis seems to be quite heavy on front disk wear so feel for any judder while breaking. Build quality seems quite variable. Amongst other things look for good, uniform, door fit etc. Some people have reported that the paint chips quite easily (mine does) so look out for scratches and un-touched-up stone chips on the bonnet. I've had problems with one of the driveshafts on mine (road-speed-related judder on hard acceleration). Think this is unusual but a bit of posting on the web got replies from a couple of people reporting a similar issue.

All that aside, the car is good fun to drive and the engine is nippy and responsive. They seem to rate good to average in reliability surveys. Purchasing a warranty for at least the first year may be a wise precaution.


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Just don't get the saloon if you've got a kiddie on the way. I've got the saloon and getting things in and out of the boot (which is quite big) is a pain as the opening is too small to allow any big things in.

Also make sure you have enough space in the back to get a child in and out of a car-seat without banging their head on the door frame or ceiling as there's not too much room in my car (I don't know if the hatchback has any more headroom than the saloon) and the door openings are the wrong shape/size for getting a baby into our new Brittax c****at (I actually wrote "c !Removed! a t" :lol: ) when it's rearward facing.

Looking back I often wish I'd bought an estate just so I could get more in the boot of my saloon, especially when you consider the amount of rubbish you'll be lugging around when the baby arrives.

Just one other thing, don't get a 1.6 as this isn't really big enough for a car this size. I sometimes struggle with my 1.8 (but this is an older non-VVTi engine) so either go for the 1.8VVTi or 2.0VVTi.

Apart from the saloon having a few niggles I've been chuffed to bits with my Avensis. It's miles better than my old car which was a Punto.

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:thumbsup: i would say go for it, but depending on your budget get the older engined ( carina e ) car up to w reg 2000. the vvti's are good but its a problem engine or if you do want the slightly improved interior and better front grille then go for the d4d diesal its a gem of a car. I had a larger Audi A6 AS A family car and believe me the quality might differ in ride only but the Avensis is totally cheaper to run, economical safer and most importantly more practical for a family.

I've had all the engines 1.6, 2.0 and now a 1.8, the 1.8 is a good all round performer and the models are widely available and respectably priced source one from a private buyer and you wont be dissappointed. I swear by the cars so much so that the 1.6 i bought from a rather scrupolous trade dealer had never been serviced since new exception of two possible oil cahb=nges and it still drove like there was no tommorrow.

infact if your really interested i'll give you mine as i'm looking for a d4d

1.8 gls with 43k and full history

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I would agree that the pre-VVT-i engines are better, there not quite as quick perhaps but are smoother and quieter and don't seem to have some of the gremlins of the newer units, the 2.0 3S-FE engine is very good as is certainly a tried and tested unit having been in production for over 20 years before being replaced with the VVT-i version.

What I would recommend however, is see if you can find an old shape Camry, the build quality is far superior, the engines are excellent, even the 2.2 is adequate, they got a higher crash test rating and come with more useful everyday spec, also they don't seem to suffer from the easily marked paint.

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