2018 Toyota Avensis Business Edition

My second non-FIAT car.


Having sold my last Panda for a DS3, then been without it getting major repairs for over two months, I decided it was time to get it off my hands before I was out of warranty and in bigger trouble with it. I had become accustomed to a large saloon as a courtesy car and struggled to go back to the DS3. I was also thinking solely about reliability at the time so decided to buy a Toyota. Originally I was aiming for an Auris but saw this Avensis at a lower price with most of the features I was seeking. Still no heated seats or auto gearbox though....

It's a nice big, comfortable and well built car as far as I'm concerned. But I later found out this generation uses nasty BMW diesel engines taking away a lot of the 'Toyota' soul of the car. I also found that this model was pretty long in the tooth, prior to being discontinued altogether by Toyota - meaning it's not as up to par with its late competition having been a third revision facelift.
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For years I’ve dreamt of having a car with heated seats. And then proceeded to buy three of em’ without them. Last weekend I finally put them into the Avensis. £30 well spent. Toyota used plastic V clips instead of tedious hog rings but that made the pad cutting and refitting process much easier. Very happy with the results. They heat very strong and fast. Let’s see how long they last with the el cheapo Chinese parts. But I’m looking forward to winter now.


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Had an issue this year of a hairline crack on the climate control unit screen lens. It's been getting wider and wider and more have popped up, even on the other side of the unit. Initially the dealer said it looks clearly hit and damaged (which I understood as his first reaction). I raised a case with Toyota directly, explained the issue. They had it booked in properly for an assessment. This time I had prepared a booklet of the unit since last year when I bought the car (I had a whole library of images of the interior and other data on the screen from over the months such as a before and after of cleaning, or taking a photo of fuel prices for a friend) and this meant I had a timeline of the crack worsening and the finish deteriorating. This showed that it was not a one off damage incident caused by me, it had started as a tiny pencil dot spec from the inside. I also looked at all 68 used Avensis models from 2016-2018 on AutoTrader and over half of them had an identical issue. This proved that it was a faulty part and observable across a considerable number of other similar production run cars. Not a one off or a wear and tear issue as some did in fact have perfectly fine units too.

End result, they agreed to replace it - free of charge - next week. £1,189 better off. I have faith that if you can prove your point (and it's just by chance I had the photos) and do the research they can't and won't attempt to argue with it. Very happy with them. Even the attitude of having to look at it twice, having to go back on their initial assessment - no attitude, no 'can't be bothered'-ness, just actual honest decent customer service.

Fiat were just as good with the warranty in 2019 in terms of covering things - though the dealership there very much couldn't be bothered.
DS - eventually - were generous with replacing things but it took about 3 attempts and some of that stuff shouldn't have needed to be replaced so often
Last year around August I hit a concrete post at the car park on my way to work... Had my seat slightly lower than usual and had to lean forward to see right. I turned a split second too soon and the back of the car hit an unrelenting concrete support column. The result was a mess of a rear wheel arch...

I had this repaired out of pocket for £600 locally. I went to a reputable / insurance approved big (at least NI big) name company as opposed to some DIY guy who might not be aware of things like overspray or have the best facilities when repairing something to the standard I'd expect.

In terms of pulling out the damage they did a stellar job. You'd not know to look at it and all the little detailed folds within the door / corner section that they were all smashed in at one point. I had a word with the guy who ran the place upfront just to say in advance that I'd be expecting it to be near perfect and had asked him if that was realistic to expect. He assured me they'd make it perfect.

They had the car for a week. When I picked it up and inspected it with him, I told him the rear door looked a little off point. He said "We didn't have that door off so that couldn't have been us, but I'll get it straightened now for you if you want?" I said "No, no, no, if it's not your fault I wouldn't expect that but thanks".

Not long after I noticed a huge difference in the colour between the rear door and front. This bothered me for months and I lost a bit of pride in the car to be honest. It was night and day from some angles. My car would look - to any car enthusiast or DIY repairer - like it was pulled out of a scrap yard and thrown together. It's not quite at the age where I'm happy to live with that yet! (Not at least until it's paid off).

I took a look at the dashcam footage - it's hard wired into the car and will come on even when the car is off if it's moved. I picked up most of the repair. They did in fact have the rear door off, it was in plain view of the camera!

I noticed a buffer trail in the clear coat at the back and it'd be in my face every week when I washed the car. And having discovered that he'd lied to me about the rear door, I took it down and complained about both. They straightened the door and got rid of the buffer trail. The idiots were bad mouthing me on the camera joking about making me wait an hour for it etc, didn't they realise from me telling them that the camera on the car would record?! They also ranted at how I had 'some nerve' to come down to them with small issues as those.

Then early this year, I decided that it was time to get them to rectify the paint issue. It was really obvious and the car isn't an old banger yet and I had paid a decent sum to them. It would be reasonable that I get the car back - from a car body shop - even better than it went in there. After a back and forth discussion with the owner they agreed to fix it for £100 and sorted the paint issue. They re-sprayed the whole side of the car and took care to blend it correctly. I've had no such issues since.

What I did discover is, every single silver Avensis has the same issue. The doors are mismatched, though you'd need an eagles eye to spot it. I reckon it's from the dual production between the Auris and Avensis but I'll never know if that's true. Every single one on the road is like that. Their repair had made it worse initially, but since they sorted it, it's probably now the only Avensis without the mismatch. Of course, the other side has the factory mismatch but it's tolerable.

He had tried to say "I don't see why we should fix it when you've acknowledged that the cars are made that way". I told him that was between me and Toyota, and that their repair and my problem with that side was between me and them.

Anyways, eventually it was sorted. I'd probably have to go back to them as they're the only other big name in repairs here. Already - unavoidably - burnt my bridges with the other big repair shop here who had destroyed my DS3 so badly that DS paid for two new complete doors, bumper and alloys to put it right.... :') My luck.. or their mistake to do a half assed job?


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