Here's a quick Avensis primer for those of you who need to get up to speed. The first generation car was introduced back in 1997 and made decent numbers while never really challenging the middleweight elite. In the final years of its life it developed into something quite respectable, but was replaced in 2003 with a vastly improved second generation car that was bigger and felt virtually indestructible. This second generation model might not have been exciting to drive but owners loved them and only a few problems with diesel injectors, dual mass flywheels and starter motors on ultra high mileage cars affected an otherwise impressive reliability record.
The third generation model was designed to attach a little more style to the Avensis badge as well as drive down running costs still further. Improving quality, offering more dynamic handling and refined ride comfort to Toyota's European flagship model were also key targets. This Avensis was designed at Toyota's European Design Development Centre, ED2, in the south of France, with the 1.6- and 1.8-litre petrol engines produced by Toyota's plant in Deeside, North Wales. Toyota Manufacturing UK is the sole global production centre for the Avensis. Since the first generation model was launched in 1997, over 1.5 million Avensis vehicles have driven off the production line at the Burnaston Plant in Derbyshire. The range continued largely unchanged in saloon and Tourer estate guise until early 2012, when it was treated to a facelift.