The Toyota Avensis is a British-built Toyota sold in a variety of markets outside the United States. Similar in size and function to the U.S.-spec Toyota Corolla, the Avensis is offered in a variety of body styles and trim levels. Toyota's Avensis was introduced in the late 1990s and remains in production today.
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Introduced in 1998, the Toyota Avensis was originally created for the UK market as a replacement for the Toyota Carina. Boasting more power, refinement and style than its predecessor, the Avensis quickly proved to be a success for Toyota in its native UK. The first generation of Avensis sedan production ran from 1998 to 2003; the second-generation car was on the market from 2003 to 2008. The third-generation Avensis was introduced in 2009.
Toyota offers the Avensis in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback/wagon variants. A variety of trim levels are available, from bare-bones economical, to fully equipped, to race-inspired "sport" versions. Toyota offers several different engines in these sedans, ranging from 1.6-litre gas engines to 2.2-litre diesels. A minivan-like MPV version, called the Avensis Verso, was also available from 2001 to 2006. The Avensis Verso was based on the Japanese market Toyota Ipsum minivan, had seating for seven, and was powered only by a 2.0-litre gasoline-powered inline four.
Though designed originally for the UK market, the success of the Avensis prompted Toyota to start selling the vehicle in other world markets. The Avensis Verso found success in Australia despite the fact the standard sedan was never offered in that country. The second-generation Avensis served as a replacement for the Camry in markets such as New Zealand and mainland Europe. In North America, the Avensis architecture served as the underpinning for the first-generation Scion Tc coupe.
Depending on the region in which it is sold, the Toyota Avensis is considered a mid- to large-sized sedan. In Europe, vehicles against which the Avensis competes include the Ford Mondeo, Volkswagen Passat and European-spec Honda Accord (U.S.-market Acura TSX).
Designed with families in mind, Toyota's Avensis is equipped with a host of safety features. The second-generation Avensis was the first Japanese-built vehicle to earn a five-star safety rating under strict Euro NACP testing, and was the first European vehicle to feature an airbag for the knees. Numerous computer-controlled driving aids can be found on the third-generation Avensis, including Steering Assist, Lane Assist, Vehicle Stability Control+ (VSC+) and a pre-crash system that tightens seat belts and boosts brake performance.
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