Toyota Avensis• 61.4mpg economy
• 119g/km of CO2 emissions
• Better to drive

The 2012 Toyota Avensis is now on sale, with lower running costs thanks to improved economy and lower emissions.

Toyota Avensis gallery:

Toyota Avensis
Pick of the line-up is the 2-litre D-4D model, managing 61.4mpg – a 15 per cent improvement on the pre-facelift car.

Emissions have dropped from 139 to 119g/km of CO2, making road tax free in the first year and easily affordable thereafter. It has a Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) car tax rating of 17 per cent. The most economical Mazda6 and Honda Accord both have a BIK rating of 20 per cent. The Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo are even better, however, with 13 per cent BIK models available.

The 2-litre has 124bhp and Toyota says it is quieter and smoother than before. Changes to the design of the engine, cooling and tyres have all contributed to the improved efficiency.

Alternatively you can have a 1.8-litre petrol (manual or CVT automatic) or the 2.2-litre D-4D engines from the previous model.

Changes to the suspension and extra noise insulation material should have enhanced refinement in the cabin. Toyota also claims the Avensis is now more rewarding to drive thanks to quicker and more direct steering. The front seats have been improved to offer more lateral support in corners.

Sat-nav is standard in the Avensis, while Toyota Touch & Go is also available for those who want to stay connected to their mobile phone.

On sale now, the Toyota Avensis is priced from £18,450 on the road.

By Andy Goodwin, senior web journalist