Toyota launches new-generation Avensis

  • 14-Oct-2008 04:18 EDT
Avensis - another shot.jpg
European engineers were heavily involved in the design and engineering of the new Avensis. (Patrick Ponticel)

Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled the third-generation D-Segment Avensis, its flagship European model, on Oct. 2 at the Paris Motor Show. Designed at ED2, the company’s European Design studio in southern France, the car will be available as a sedan and wagon. Much of the engineering also was done in Europe.

“From the start, we have put a strong European mark on the project,” said Avensis Chief Engineer Takashi Yamamoto. “A total of 35 engineers from Toyota Motor Europe were invited to Japan to join forces with the Toyota Motor Corp. development team. When the project team returned to Europe for finalization, these engineers played a key role in the knowledge transfer between the two development teams.”

Design and engineering worked together to produce a sleeker profile that helps the new Avensis improve its CO2 emissions and help the company achieve its target of reducing fleet-average CO2 emissions to 140 g/km by 2009. The sedan has a drag figure of 0.28 Cd, the wagon 0.29 Cd.

Engine technology also helps the Avensis do better in terms of CO2, although as one of its larger models it remains above the company’s fleet-average CO2 target level. Three petrol and three diesel engines are available. Compared with the previous-generation Avensis engines, the Valvematic gasoline engine lineup reduces CO2 emissions by 10 to 26%, depending on the derivative, while increasing power by 3 to 20%. They come in 1.6-, 1.8-, and 2.0-L variants, with the 2.0-L unit achieving the highest reduction (compared to the previous 2.0-L D-4) by 26% to 164 g/km when mated to Toyota’s latest continuously variable transmission, the Multidrive S, in the sedan.

The diesel engines also generate less CO2, but the reductions are more modest than those of the gasoline engines. The 2.0-L D-4D 125, available with a diesel particulate filter, is the only engine producing CO2 emissions less than the fleet-average target at 134 g/km when used in the sedan. The other diesel units offered are the 2.2-L D-4D 150 and the 2.2-L D4D 180, the latter of which features a turbocharger.

Toyota expects the Avensis to score five stars in Euro NCAP safety ratings. Among the safety technologies are seven airbags, active front-seat head restraints, electronic stability control, optional high-intensity-discharge bi-xenon headlamps and adaptive front lighting, a new precrash system with lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

A stiffer chassis, better aerodynamics, and judicious use of lightweight insulation result in improved NVH.

A new platform enabled engineers to optimize ride and handling, according to Toyota. Track has been increased by 33 mm (1.3 in) for the sedan and 45 mm (1.8 in) for the wagon. Length has been increased by 50 mm (2.0 in). Wheelbase and height are the same as in the previous Avensis, but the larger track and vehicle length result in a more spacious interior.

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