A 7-seater MPV at the price of the entry level 1.5 L Yaris? To be precise, AED 54,900! Toyota has done some amazing stuff here. I know many people for who the Toyota Hi Lux or the Peugeot Boxer serves as company transporter by day and family cruiser on the weekends. Some hunt for the least pricey Crossovers for the same purpose. They still grudge the compromise they make about the pick up and the premium they end up paying for the Crossover. Panacea is here in the form of the new Toyota Avenza, just launched in the UAE.
Price of a hatchback, Cabin ergonomics for convenience, Confident turns, Cabin assistance, Low entry-level pricing for 7-seater.
Underpowered drone, lack of storage when seating is full, Façade is old-style
The Price: AED 54,900
Versatile, affordable Avanza
Last weekend, Al-Futtaim Motors, exclusive distributor of Toyota in the UAE, introduced the UAE Media to the new Toyota Avanza, an affordable small Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) that seats seven. Its popularity in other Asian markets and countries like Egypt isn’t surprising, given the versatility of seating and loading configurations as well as the fuel economy.
Costing exactly the same as the new 1.5L Yaris hatchback SE launched just two days prior to the Avanza, naturally, the price point is where we start from, and everything else is seen from that perspective.
Carving a seven seater out of this moderate space is almost a miracle. The cabin has a narrow, high-perched design, which makes it excellent for people to sit in comfort. Even the cabin appointments have been kept appealing. They have attempted a lacquer finish in the door inserts, accents and dashboard without managing to look as cheap as its price. The second row seats are positioned high so that you get to see over the seat rests in front and even the AC vents are placed high where the roof gains a couple of inches, in order to ensure ample cool air blowing far out into the rear.
Safety is standard with SRS airbags, ABS (Anti-lock brakes) and EBD (Electronic brake-force distribution, which is quite important in this car that seats 7. “Offering a seat belt to every passenger, we believe this car is a great contribution to families’ safety on the roads” said Jon Williams, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Motors at the launch event.
It’s all about space, the way you want
The Avenza is exactly one inch longer than the new Toyota Yaris hatchback. At 4.14m long and 1.66m wide, Avanza’s external dimensions open into a spacious cabin on the inside with ample room for 7 passengers. With the seven seats up, there is space for nothing more than a couple of lunch boxes behind but that also means there is ample space for the passengers in every row. The seatbacks are curved-in to ensure sufficient knee space and comfort. In the upright position, the legroom in the second row is 982 mm and in the third, an impressive 799 mm. The second row can be further slid back by 60 mm. These seats aren’t designed for just little guys but big adults with minimum squeeze.
1047 mm wide, the third row is as practical as it gets in any SUV. The flexibility allows 50:50 split folding of the second and third row seats. The ease of folding all seats is noteworthy with the one-touch tumble feature. In a car that is all about space, the driver gets a leg space of 1013 mm with a sliding range of 240 mm and an adjustable steering column.
The small car with the big advantage
During the Media Drive, it was not without reason that I chose an independent test drive route with plenty of exit ramps and roundabouts. Powered by an inline four cylinder 1.5 L engine with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing-Intelligent), the new Avanza churns out an output of 102 bhp and a maximum torque of 136 Nm at 4000 rpm. The Avenza returns impressive fuel efficiency with low rolling resistance tyres, the EPS (Electric Power Steering) and the efficient air conditioning.
The new Avanza is equipped to play the part of facing the daily challenges of the city. The ground clearance of 20cms is good to go over speed bumps or ramps without worry even though the tyres look too small for the body. The front engine rear-wheel drive platform, makes it easy to manage the car in parking lots and U-turns, with a turning radius of 4.7m only. Small as it is, the Avanza is easy to go around on busy city streets.
Even at its ridiculously low price, Toyota has been mindful of providing this 7-seater with two essentials it has otherwise ignored in many other models – the new Avanza comes with Bluetooth connectivity and parking sensors. It also provides USB/AUX ports along with a 12V accessory socket.
The Essential Toyota Avanza
The new Toyota Avanza is an exceptional solution to large families, and this cabin strikes the perfect balance between seating and storage without compromising on the engine output. After all, it isn’t a hatchback but a practical MPV that plays down its price!