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Being in need of a new car, I was on the outlook for a car simliar to my previous (see Honda Accord review http://www.ciao.co.uk/Honda_Accord_1_8__Review_5613916 ). I wanted something that was of similar power, I didn't want to downgrade to a smaller car. I very much enjoy driving and so the choice of car was very important to me. Had Honda's new Accord models (2003 onwards) been in the same insurance group as the previous model, it would have become a much easier decision. However the engines in the new range start from 2.0 and have a higher insurance group compared to the previous models. For the stereotypical customers of the Honda Accord, the insurance will not matter since they tend to be of the older age with a full no clams bonus discount under their belt. I am not so forutance to be blessed with either of these so this is an issue for me.
Having spent many hours searching for a vehicle, and after altering my budget many times, I filtered out all options until I was left with the Toyota Avensis VVT-i 1.8 T3-S. Performance wise on paper, this was as similar to my Honda that I would be able to get to. It was supposedly more fuel efficient, and due to the low cost of Toyota part, this model was cheaper to insure than my Honda. I have only managed to get between 120-130 Mph in this car, which I was quite disappointed. Being the same engine size as the Honda and also possessing variable valve timing technology, this car just doesn't feel like it has the same 'ooopmh', maybe im just nit picking or bitter that I lost my old car.
With features such as front and side airbags, which is becoming a standard feature in all cars, this car has basic protection. However to supplement these are curtain airbags which are not so common. And to top things off, the drivers has knee airbags to protect the obvious. A rather annoying feature but useful nevertheless is the seatbelt reminder, that beeps when the vehicle starts moving until you have fastened your seatbelt. Ignore it for a minute or so and it will then start beeping very loud, so it does do what it was meant to do, that is to fasten your seatbelt! This car has built in alarm and immobiliser as standard and has deadlocks.
Inside this model you will find a CD player, with the option to add a CD changer if wanted. There are steering wheel mounted controls that allows you to control the radio that also supports cassettes, which is becoming a rare feature. There are cup holders which are pretty handy too!
Satellite navigation is a handy feature but with a rather basic display, but serves its purpose. Finding places is a little fidgety, you have to select each character from a list with a circular knob which is rather irritating. When you have found it thought, it's a life saver. Travelled from Leicester to a place in London, and took me through all these small roads in Wimbledon which took around an hour, and I never made a single wrong turning. It also informs you that there is traffic ahead and asks you if you would like to avoid it. You can also choose to avoid motorways or even find places of interest.
Styling wise this is rather aesthetically pleasing to the eye, although the new Ford Mondeo does seem to have better looks. If you look on the roads, you will also find that there are quite a lot of these Avensis's driving around in the same Gold/Silver colour.
Handling wise this car is nice and easy to drive when done so reservedly. It is quick to respond although feedback is not as good as you would like it to be. However drive this car hard, and it becomes clear that it just quite isn't right. It was then I realised how much I appreciated the Honda's handling. Don't get me wrong, don't let me put you off this car, its just I was used to better. If you're a drvier that is patient and likes to drive slow or take your time, you will enjoy this car.
It has ABS, VSC and a surprising feature, traction control! This feature is enabled as standard and there is the option to switch it off. Having never driven a car with traction control I was very excited. Cornering very hard you will feel the car give and it is clear very clear when the traction controls corrects this. Accelerate too hard at the lights and you will feel the car judder and when it has regained traction within seconds, simply fly! I have tried driving with traction control off and driving hard, and you can feel the difference, but for safety sakes its better left on.
This care is a lot more spacious, both in the front and back which at 6ft 2 is an issue for me. And the boot space is enormous, I still cant get over how big it is, its just unbelievable!
Build wise this car is very sturdy and am not given the impression that it is going to go wrong neither or that anything will fall apart. I have had no problems with it whatsoever.
This car is bigger than I am used to, but confident drivers should not find this a problems. It is quite difficult to judge how much space you have behind you when parking, and parking sensors, which are optional, would be nice.
Overall this car comes recommended, but I bet your better guess in on the New Honda Accord although I have not driven it, they are simply one of the best. Although I miss my old car, I am very happy which my new purchase!