Motoring for Women
The new Toyato Avensis Tourer
It seems that us Brits are forgoing exotic destinations for the annual holidays and staying put in good old hopefully sunny England. A hot one is predicted which could be why the Caravan and Camping Club have recorded a 20% increase in booking for this year.
The problem with holidays in the UK is obviously the weather and one ends up bringing the entire kitchen sink to cover every eventuality. Luckily I have found a car to accommodate all these extras - the new Toyota Avensis in the guise of T Spirit 2.2 litre Tourer.
This is the third generation of Toyota’s European flagship car and best news of all it is built here exclusively in the UK at the Burnaston factory. These guys must obviously understand our ever changing weather conditions for the Avensis has one of the largest boots I have ever seen complete with more storage solutions under the boot floor. This meant for me only one trip to the dump for garden rubbish as opposed to at least three. It also meant I could get the childrens bikes inside the car without taking off the wheels as having press cars each week I do not have a bike carrier.
Four grades are on offer mated to various engines and prices start from £16,560 that is quite reasonable for a workhorse family car. However me being me, had to go over the top and asked for top of the range T Spirit trim as you all know I love my creature comforts but did specify an economical engine. That came in a 2.2 litre diesel which sprinted away in just 9.2 seconds to 60 mph with a top speed of 131mph. Any UK destination is doable as this engine achieves 50.4 mpg on a combined cycle. CO2 emissions are a healthy 152g/km thus falling in VED band D and even the insurance gourd is impressive at 9E.
The low emissions and fuel consumption does not effect the performance and driving experience thanks to Toyota Optimal Drive technologies. Toyota Optimal Drive is made possible by a series of new engine technologies and advanced transmissions with low friction components, a lightweight compact design and enhanced combustion efficiency. For the diesel engines, a series of component systems have been re-engineered to enable higher performance while emitting fewer emissions and using less fuel.
So the money saved can be used wisely for a better trim that also gives a better re-sale value. The T- Spirit is fully loaded ready for any family adventure. It is long and sleek, a bit heavy in places but a neat set of 17 inch alloy wheels, a panoramic roof, rear privacy glass plus colour coded electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors sets the tone.
Inside is automatic dual zone air conditioning, electric windows all round, leather upholstery with the front seats electrically adjustable, heated and extra lumber support for the driver. The steering wheel is also clad in leather and is also electrically adjustable with memory settings. It is home to the remote controls for the 11 speaker audio system with CD changer and MP3 that should drown out most of the childrens arguments.
Being geared up for family treks the Avensis has lots of gadgets to aid and abet the driver like rain sensing wipers, dusk sensing headlights, an electronic parking brake that in fairness does take a while to trust. Then comes the clever Smart Entry and Start button that the children like to operate – obviously supervised by me, Bluetooth connectivity, an electrochromic auto dimming rear view mirror and thankfully rear parking sensors being a long car.
Showing off its practical side the Avensis has the fore mentioned huge luggage area as well as four underfloor storage boxes, door pockets and armrests with more secret compartments hidden inside. For even larger loads the rear seats fold flat with just one touch.
The Avensis is also an incredibly safe car boasting world-class safety equipment. It has been engineered with the aim of a five-star rating in more stringent 2009 Euro NCAP safety assessment. As a result the Avensis Tourer comes with seven airbags as standard including drivers knees and full-length curtain shield airbags. Isofix mountings are on the rear seats and all the belts have the normal pre- tensioners etc. However with the added technology I defy anyone to even get close to an accident for the Avensis comes with ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Steering Assist, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control.
On top of all that lot are the brilliant high intensity discharge bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive front lighting system lighting up every corner at night. Then comes the Pre Crash Safety System that comprises of a pre crash warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning in case one decides to wonder off.
That has to be the icing on the cake for any family who ventures away with the precious cargo of children for either a mini break or full blown holiday. The price for this car stands in at £25,110 that may seem a bit steep until you analyse all the equipment of board, the technologies under the bonnet keeping the Avensis firmly on tarmac with less stops to the petrol station and looks pretty cool too.
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Jackie Violet, motoring journalist, mother of two and qualified driving instructor reviews cars and outlines issues relevant to working mums and motoring such as safety, entertainment and most of all, comfort!
TO SCRAP OR NOT TO SCRAP?
One of the good things that came of the budget was news that the government will be giving UK motorists £2,000 for their 10 year old or older car in exchange for buying a new one.
As I looked at my aging Scenic I thought maybe this was good time to bid a fond farewell and move up a gear or too in the street cred stakes. It also got me thinking as to what car, given a choice, I would buy. It has to sporty stylish fast and furious rather like me but also a bit practical as the children are still quite young.
Well this car may be destined for the male market according to the press blurb, but when I saw this car then drove it, I finally understood why we women really do not need a man!
The Audi R8 now with an even bigger ten cylinder 5.2 litre V10 FSI petrol engine. This car is pure unadulterated pleasure taking just 3.9 seconds to reach 62mph. For any speed freak this is madness personified but oh so utterly awesome and beats any ride at Thorpe Park. Top speed is 196mph but I unashamedly bottled it at 162mph legally – well nearly – in Granada Spain. Why have Audi made such a powerful car beggars belief but they have because they can and the result will render drivers speechless.
Looks-wise this second generation Audi R8 is not much different from the first R8 yet the most important difference is the new R8 has the worlds first all-LED headlamps as standard, which looks the business as well as a huge safety benefit. Other additions include the Audi magnetic ride adaptive damping that keeps this car firmly on track and an amazing Bang and Olufsen audio system to blast out Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell.
Two versions are available a six speed manual or an R tronic sequential shift transmission gearbox with steering wheel paddles that I personally preferred being more responsive and of course more fun to drive.
Putting my practical hat on for a second, being a two seater means sadly the children will have to stay at home and with the miniscule boot in the front, just enough for a small weekend getaway with possibly the hubby that is if he does not feel too inadequate after his wife has driven the car!
Both engines are utterly uneconomical at around the 20 mpg combined and CO2 emissions could damage the planet in their own right.
But who cares when you are spending £99,575 on the manual or £104,665 on the R tronic, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of cost cutting and encouraging car owners to relinquish their old model in favour of a new therefore ‘greener’ one.
Maybe I should scrap that idea.