New Toyota Avanza

Published on December 8th, 2010

Since its introduction in September 2004, the popular, compact Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) from UMW Toyota Motor, the Toyota Avanza, has become an extremely popular compact MPV among Malaysians with its affordable price, spaciousness and of course, the renowned Toyota quality and ownership experience. An impressive sales figure of well over 130,000 units (as of Oct. 2010) have been sold nationwide, a large proportion to customers with families. The sales figure itself is proof and testament that the Toyota Avanza is yet another success story for UMW Toyota in Malaysia.

With the ‘kaizen’ (constant improvement) philosophy as an integral part of Toyota’s business practices, vital and important feedback from both past and present Avanza customers and owners has been constantly studied to form the basis of making this successful and well-received product even better.

The new Toyota Avanza, which was launched very recently continues to be available in four grades, with the following prices in Peninsular Malaysia:

Toyota Avanza 1.5 S Automatic – RM77,490

Toyota Avanza 1.5 G Automatic – RM74,990

Toyota Avanza 1.5 E Automatic – RM69,990

Toyota Avanza 1.3 E Manual – RM62,000

Exterior Colour

Where choices of colours are concerned, with this latest update, the model is also available with a new colour choice – Grey Metallic – besides the four existing other choices, namely:

Dazzling Silver

Black Mica

White

Light Green Metallic

Exterior Design

Design wise, the overall appearance of the Avanza is unchanged but for the optional Aerokit which enhances the Avanza’s stance while giving it a sportier look, feel and image. The new 2-tone design gives a more sporty appearance with a restyled front bumper extension. Available for the Avanza 1.5 G AT, 1.5 E AT and 1.3 E MT, the Aerokit has been custom-designed for the model and has undergone the same stringent quality control processes as those applied to the assembly of every Toyota vehicle.

Another aspect of the new Avanza that differentiates it from the old, are the new body stripes along the side of the vehicle, which clearly identifies it as the latest range where the name Avanza is concerned. The Avanza 1.5 S AT has its own sporty design, while the Avanza 1.5 G AT, 1.5 E AT and 1.3 E MT have a more updated design.

Interior

Spaciousness has been one of the strong points of this compact Toyota MPV, and while there are no major changes to the interior, it now has a dark colour theme for future, potential customers who desire a cabin that is of a darker shade and colour. This change is in response to feedback from customers and will prove to also be easier to maintain (less visible dirt stains). Besides the change in colour for the upholstery, other fitments around the cabin such as the carpet mats, bag hook and centre console box have also been changed to a black colour for coordination with the dark interior theme.

The functional layout of the dashboard is retained, with amber-coloured illumination reducing glare for less distraction to the driver which could prove detrimental. As before, variants with automatic transmission have gear position indicator lights displayed between the speedometer and tachometer. A separate clock is provided on the centre console for convenience in reference to time.

Comfort & Convenience

Being a successful, compact MPV, versatility is expected of this vehicle, and the Avanza certainly provides it. The three rows of seats accommodate up to seven people, and depending on needs, the second and third row can be folded flat to increase cargo volume and free up necessary space to carry longer and larger items than necessary or usual. The second row of seats also has a split-fold feature where half the seat can be folded, making movement to the third row easier. For more storage spaces, the third row of seats can be double folded creating spaces for taller objects.

With seven people aboard, storage space is going to be much needed for everyone – especially in these times when most people carry handphones, and children will want refreshments and snacks on long journeys. Toyota’s interior designers have thoughtfully provided many storage spaces around the cabin with bottle holders within reach of all passengers.

Long or short journeys will be a pleasure in the Avanza because every effort has gone into providing a comfortable atmosphere. Cool air reaches further back, thanks to the ceiling-mounted second blower which complements the dashboard blower. A new 2-DIN audio head unit (only for versions with the 1.5-litre engine) has been fitted and besides playing conventional CDs, it is also compatible with MP3 and WMA formats. USB thumbdrives and portable music players can also be interfaced with the unit as it has welcome USB and AUX connection points.

Performance

Both the 1.3-litre and 1.5-litre engines of the Avanza feature VVT-i – Toyota’s Variable Valve Timing with intelligence mechanism which boosts power output, enhances fuel efficiency, as well as reduces pollutants emitted in the exhaust gases. The system provides the optimum air and fuel mixture for any driving condition, varying the timing of the valves within thousandths of a second. As with most Toyota engines today, both engines have dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) and four valves per cylinder. Although using the same engine, the 1.5L engine delivers up to 109ps of power at 6,000 rpm, and has a peak torque of an assuring 141Nm of Torque available at 4,400 rpm. Whereas, the 1.3L engine delivers 92ps at 6,000 rpm and has a peak torque of 120Nm of Torque at 4,400 rpm.

Transmission

The Avanza 1.3 E is available only with a 5-speed manual transmission, and the Avanza 1.5 versions are available only with a 4-speed automatic transmission. For added convenience, there is now a release button for the Shift Lock of the automatic transmission. Depressing this allows movement of the shift lever out of the PARK position without having to step on the brake pedal, in the event of the engine stalling or failing to operate due to insufficient fuel or an accident.

Suspension

To provide ride quality and handling comparable to a passenger car, the Avanza has independent MacPherson front suspension and a 4-link live axle at the rear with coil spring suspension. The use of a live axle at the rear is advantageous for a vehicle like the Avanza which can carry heavier loads, especially at the rear end. Barrel-shaped coil springs help to lower the centre of gravity for stability while moderating bounce but not sacrificing the suspension stroke for comfort.

Tyres & Rims

Avanza versions with automatic transmission have alloy rims, while the Avanza 1.3E with manual transmission has sturdy steel rims which are not easy-on-the-eyes. For the 1.3-litre variant, the wheel diameter is 14” with 185/70 tires fitted, while the Avanza 1.5G AT and 1.5S AT gets easy-on-the-eyes 15” wheels wrapped with lower profile 185/65 tires. The tires fitted as original equipment have been tested extensively in local conditions to ensure suitability for the model.

Safety

Though an entry-level model, the Avanza offers a high level of Passive Safety, especially with respect to collision impacts. This is because its design is GOA-certified, ‘GOA’ being Toyota’s tough in-house crash standards referred to as ‘Global Outstanding Assessment’. All new Toyota models must both pass and meet these standards before they are allowed for sale to eager, potential buyers. With a GOA bodyshell, impact energy is dissipated throughout the structure so as to minimize its dangerous effects on the occupants.

All seven occupants of the Avanza get seatbelts to ensure that they are restrained in the event of an accident or even during emergency braking. Both the front occupants of the Avanza 1.5S AT and 1.5 G AT also have additional protection from SRS (Supplementary Restraint System) airbags which will inflate immediately when the vehicle is involved in a frontal collision. However, the parameters for inflation are dependent on the speed and forces experienced and also the within a certain angle of the front of the vehicle. Extensive testing by Toyota engineers has determined that the airbags will inflate only when they can provide effective protection.

Active Safety, which helps a driver avoid accidents, is also well provided in the Avanza. The power-assisted hydraulic brake system has fade-free ventilated front disc brakes and large rear drums brakes. For the Avanza 1.5S AT and 1.5 G AT, anti-lock capability (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) enhance stopping performance while keeping the vehicle stable during hard braking. ABS, in particular, allows the driver to retain steering control while braking, thereby making it possible to steer away from a danger.

Other Active Safety features of the Avanza include foglamps and a third brake light positioned at roof level where it is more visible to drivers behind, thereby reducing the chance of collisions from behind. Parents will be happy to know that the Avanza has childproof locking systems on the rear side doors. With the simply flip of a switch in the door, opening from inside is prevented so children cannot accidentally open the door while the vehicle is moving.

Security

The Avanza is equipped with a comprehensive security system that consists of an engine immobiliser, cabin sensor and siren with a back-up battery. The doors also lock automatically after a certain speed has been exceeded, providing both convenience as well as added security for the occupants. Custom-designed for this model, the security system has been fully tested by UMW Toyota Motor in all kinds of conditions.

As with most of the models offered by UMW Toyota Motor, the new Avanza comes with a 36-month/100,000 kms (whichever occurs earlier after first registration) warranty, subject to conditions stated in the Owner’s Handbook. This reflects the confidence that UMW Toyota Motor has in the superior build quality of its vehicles, a hallmark of Toyota products.

Interested, potential customers can obtain more information by visiting any Toyota showroom nationwide, or calling the Toyota Freephone 1-800-8-TOYOTA (1-800-8-869682) from 8am to 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays, as well as logging on to www.toyota.com.my.

words: Azdee Amir  pix: Toyota

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