Road Review: Toyota Avanza (2016) MPV

One of the best-selling Multi-Purpose Vehicles (MPV), the Toyota Avanza recently had some work done for 2016 while keeping to the same successful formula. To be honest, my only interaction with the Toyota Avanza, prior to getting it on test, was during my schooling years.

Toyota Avanza (1)

An old, slightly dented white Avanza would be our commuter. Spaciously transporting us to sporting events, and while time had taken its toll on the poor Avanza’s body (mostly thanks to uncaring school kids who would bash their bags against the sides), the engine still hummed like a bird full of life. The Avanza was the epitome of Toyota reliability.

Fast forward a decade or so and I currently find myself sitting in the latest next-generation. Not much has changed to be honest. Those humble roots were never forgotten for flashy leather or soft touch dash – I’ve often wondered where Toyota derived the name Avanza from, was it a combination of average and van…


With seven-seats the van is nicely sized to accommodate all its occupants rather spaciously. The seat material is hardy and gives you a sense that it will last, in typical Toyota fashion, the build quality is also impressive. But the interior is lacking personality and a modern feel.

The centre dash console does hark back to a bygone era with big vents and even bigger buttons but basic as it may be, all the necessities like aircon and radio with USB are present. Durable and easy to find, the simplicity of operation is sometimes a relief!

From the outside, the Toyota Avanza is bound to get some attention, perhaps it’s the new design alloy rims, which look fantastic, albeit, perhaps slightly out of place on the MPV. It may even be the Nebula Metallic Blue paintjob on our test car that gathered a few stares. Whatever it was, keep it up Toyota!


Out on the road, the Toyota Avanza attacked the tar with gusto and a little hustle. Its peppy 1.5-litre engine revs freely but maintaining a speed of 120km/h does mean this naturally aspirated engine needs to be worked via the five-speed manual gearbox (an automatic option is also available).

The addition of an eco-indicator on the instrument cluster lights up green to let you know when you’ve hit the sweet spot and helps for fuel consumption. During our time together I averaged around 8.6 litres/100km.

The improved levels of Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) suppresses road noises entering the cabin, allowing for a quieter and more comfortable ride.

Toyota Avanza (4)

The Toyota Avanza certainly still has a place on our roads and its practical and versatile nature as well as the heritage that comes with the Toyota badge means consumers will still place their trust in the vehicle. We do also like the added boot space that comes with complete fold of the third row of seats. Ultimately Toyota has done just enough to keep the Avanza modern, but as they say, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Base Price R198 200
Engine Capacity 1 496 cm³
No. Of Cylinders Inline four
Aspiration Natural
Power 77kW at 6 000 r/min
Torque 137Nm at 4 400 r/min
Transmission 5-speed Manual
Drive type FWD
Acceleration N/A
Top Speed 165km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.3l/100km (claimed combined)
CO2 Emissions 150g/km


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