Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: 2016 Toyota Avanza 1.5G A/T


It’s often joked that the typical Filipino family is composed of at least seven people: the parents, the grandparents, two children, and a yaya. This has led to the rise of AUVs or Asian Utility Vehicles, since a 5-seater car can no longer suffice. Even with the phasing out of AUVs in the early 2000’s, the clamor for an affordable family carrier continued and manufacturers have gone through varied routes trying to serve an ever fickle market. The one that has always led the charge is Toyota and their Avanza. Now on its second-generation, it’s become the default choice for those who want seven seats but can’t afford an Innova. But with an increasing number of choices in the small MPV segment, can the big minor change Avanza continue to lead?

While they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there’s no contest when it comes to the Avanza’s looks. Picking up where the first-generation model left off, the two-box shape is pleasant and well-proportioned. It’s taller than it’s wider, but it hides that very well. The softened contours are now complimented by a 2015 update that introduces a larger maw, new alloy rims, and new tail lights. It successfully modernizes the small MPV flavor without deviating from the formula too much. There’s only one complaint: Toyota should remove the throwback pillar-mounted antenna to something much more modern—a fin-type antenna, perhaps?



Like its body shell, the Avanza’s interior is pretty much straight-forward. Those familiar with a Toyota cabin, particularly the Wigo, would feel welcome because of the parts bin switches, steering wheel, button positioning, and ergonomics. Compared to Toyota’s other Daihatsu-derived vehicle, it feels considerably more solid although there are inconsistent panel gaps and every surface is rock hard. The newest update adds a touch of luxury to an otherwise austere cabin with features such as dark brown fabric seats, piano black and aluminum accents, a touchscreen audio system,and steering wheel controls all present. The seating position isn’t as car-like as photos suggest because it’s high and upright, but it’s quite comfortable despite the flat seat backs. The one unforgiveable thing here is the mirror-image gated shifter which reduces usability and increases confusion (you can actually select the wrong gear at times).

Depending on the quantity of people you need to fit at any given time determines whether or not you’ll consider the Avanza spacious. If five’s the norm and seven the exception, the Avanza’s quite good. The first two rows offer ample comfort even during long rush hour traffic. The second row actually slides forward to accommodate the knees of those in the third row, but even then it’s best left as set of emergency jump seats. That said, at least everyone gets their own headrests—even the often forgotten second row middle seat. ISOFIX anchors are also standard now. The third row folds up in a 50/50 split when not in use revealing a vast loading bay. Securing it requires you to hook them up to the second row’s headrest; this feels very archaic, but the added cargo flexibility it offers is welcome.




With the Avanza looking every inch the people carrier, it’s expected to handle like one. Taking a page from the larger Innova, the Avanza uses a “proper” MPV architecture: body-on-frame structure driving the rear wheels. Engineered to ferry seven people in such a compact footprint, it rides quite stiffly in all but the smoothest of surfaces. With one or two passengers onboard, it’ll crash its way through concrete joints and potholes. It’s only when it’s loaded with four or more people that the ride smoothens out. Despite the tallboy proportions, it feels secure and planted to drive even at speed, although understeer is the norm. The steering is light and requires more turns than usual, but the good visibility means it’s easy to dart this straight out of the box. The brakes though are quite touchy.

Sporting a longitudinally-mounted 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, the Avanza can dream of “sports car-like performance”. In truth though, it’s merely adequate. Having to push 1,100 kilograms, this 102-horsepower, 136 Nm of torque engine shouldn’t feel taxed, but overtaking must be planned with care. From a standstill, there’s good pep and dealing with city traffic is a cinch. As the revs build up though, it starts to lose steam quickly. That initial sense of urgency is replaced by the booming noise from the motor. It also doesn’t help that the gearbox takes a split-second to downshift after flooring the throttle. It feels like you’re hearing the engine first before you feel the power kicking in; as if it takes that long for power to go from the engine to the gearbox to the propeller shaft to the rear wheels. Thankfully, despite having to floor the accelerator to get decent pace in, fuel economy isn’t affected as much: 8.67 km/L.




Going back to the question posted in the beginning: can the big minor change Avanza keep its lead in the small MPV category? That depends. It’s the Avanza that started the trend of giving Filipinos a well-built family carrier with more features than letters in their name. However, with more and more car-based choices coming in, all promising better handling and a cheaper price, Toyota is finding itself in a pinch. If you want a solid and robust 7-seater that won’t complain on rough roads or when full-loaded, the Avanza’s still the best choice. But as far as comfort goes, it’s starting to feel its age and the other choices seem to trump it in terms of value. All in all, despite the new trimmings, it doesn’t hide the fact that this remains a workhorse of an MPV. Whether or not that’s acceptable, depends entirely up to you.




2016 Toyota Avanza 1.5G A/T
Ownership 2016 Toyota Avanza 1.5G A/T
Year Introduced 2015
Vehicle Classification Entry-Level MPV
The Basics
Body Type 5-door MPV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/R
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated, Dual VVT-i
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 102 @ 6,000
Nm @ rpm 136 @ 4,400
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission 4-speed AT
Cruise Control No
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,140
Width (mm) 1,660
Height (mm) 1,695
Wheelbase (mm) 2,655
Curb Weight (kg) 1,100
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension 4-Link with Lateral Control Rod
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Dunlop Enasave EC300+ 185/65 R 15 S (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights No
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Urethane
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 50/50 (2nd row), 50/50 (3rd row)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control No, Dual
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
No. of Speakers 4
Steering Wheel Controls Yes

54 comments:

  1. I've ridden one last week and it was a poor car. The engine and outside noise is loudly heard in the cabin, every bump and road imperfections are felt giving the passenger a bumpy ride. At that price of Php910,000, I would rather buy a proper car(An Altis or a Honda City) or add a bit more for an entry level Innova.v-Just my opinion

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But an Altis or a City won't seat 7 people. The reason the Avanza sells so well here in the Philippines is precisely as the author quipped: the typical Filipino family is a 7 person family.

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  2. Bagay to sa uber. Pero sira ulo ka kung bibilhin mo to para sa personal use.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I resent this comment. I can't take it that one would think of me as "sira ulo" for buying the car that I ultimately choose.

      Delete
  3. Ang ibig nyo po bang sabihin maraming malolokong buyer ang toyota dito?
    At malakas din daw po ito sa gas?

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  4. Re-badged Daihatsu... Yang Wigo at Avanza rebadged Daihatsu kaya ganyan kababa ang quality. At nagpapaloko kayo sa Toyota!

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  5. Reading all the comments! Why the hate?

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  6. Sir Uly, as you can see, we are still undecided on our next purchase (avanza, ertiga or mobilio). Currently we own the 2012 vios 1.3g AT and looking for any 7 seater mpv/auv or mini suv that will suit our needs. I have 2 kids (aged 5 and 2), yaya and occasionally my parents. Current budget is at 1M but i think i can stretch that to 1.2M. Innova is out of the question as the increased length makes it impossible to park inside our garage. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honda BRV 7-seater is the way to go... invest your 1.2M first to earn some more because this might be a bit expensive than the Mobilio.

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    2. I would recommend Ertiga for its versatility, efficiency and smoothness vs. other MPVs in its class. 7-seater but feels like a compact hatch when driven.

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  7. Rather wait for the Honda BRV, I heard it's a pretty good 7 seater vehicle. But if you really need to buy asap Id go for Mobilio.. suggest you try to test drive all of them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Actually interested with the br-v. Any definite date for the release?

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    2. I heard from a reliable source that the BR-V will be launched in the last quarter. Around October 2016. HCPI aims to be a major player in the 7-seater market.

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    3. Thank you for the info, i will wait then.

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  8. parang baligtad yun gear shift (indicator) nito. is this an indonesian version?... the shift indicator direction PRND is on the pasenger side ...

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    Replies
    1. Well, it's clear the shifter wasn't re-configured for a LHD market. I did mention it in my review.

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    2. Ganyan po ba talaga ang Toyota hindi gumagawa ng shifter na pang-LHD? Yung innova at fortuner po ba ganito rin? Marami naman pong bentang avanza dito sa pinas sana po gawin nila ang tama.

      Delete
    3. Do you actually expect toyota to spend money for that? Di ka pa nasanay. That's toyota! Mag titipid yang mga ungas na yan as much as possible.

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    4. Toyota just do the bare minimum for their cars because there are many morons(people) will buy a car with a Toyota badge on it without looking and comparing it with the competition.

      Delete
  9. So Uly, you have reviewed the 4 Entry Level MPVs, so how would you rank them in an over-all "best bang for the buck" package?

    Avanza, Ertiga, Mobilio and Spin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get a sedan. You'll never get laid driving any of these.

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    2. Says who? ;)

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    3. Uhhh like everyone???

      Seriously, how can anyone get laid driving these type of cars. Might as well put a sticker at the back saying "kick me" or "I'm a virgin". It is a humiliating experience to own one of these.

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    4. Why are you in an MPV review then? MPVs are typical family car for heaven's sake! People buy it because they wanted to transport people and stuff but NOT purposely to get laid... Get a life dude or get laid somewhere else

      Delete
  10. Honda Mobillo is better than Avanza in style, elegance and performance. This Avanza is so bakya, it's just like riding a vehicle 10 years ago

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    Replies
    1. Agree. I think Spin and Ertiga are far better than Avanza as well. Avanza is a cheap Daihatsu MPV hiding in a Toyota logo.

      Delete
  11. I've ridden an Eritiga a couple of times, its better than the Avanza in terms of space and ride.

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  12. Mobilio is way better lalo na yung ride comfort and cabin noise. Yung mga adik sa chrome baka maloko pa ng toyota dito. I find it insulting na hindi manlang ng efort toyota to adapt yung gear shifter to LH drive pra sa market natin.

    ReplyDelete
  13. get an ertiga. for much less, you get a much loaded mpv than the mobilio ( ertiga gl vs entry level mobilio )

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi I own a toyota. Yes its toyota may be cheap. But lets admit it guys inadapt ni toyota ang ugali ng pinoys. Koripot. In terms of parts, mahal si honda. Si suzuki naman you will not trust by its durability maybe 5 years to 10 or maybe less based on other reviews baka pakain mo nalang sa talaba sa sobrang sirain. MY OPION ONLY :) PEACE :)

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    Replies
    1. Problem is the avanza is a rebadged daihatsu. Its not a true toyota.

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    2. Yeah, Daihatsu Avanza "tunog lata"... sorry for the rhyme but that was how the new Avanza doors felt when i had a chance to test drive it.

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  15. Someone's complaining about the car. The real question is do you have money to buy it? Or just a retarted feeling car analyst? ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even if we have money, we will not buy this Daihatsu crap. We'll go for real Toyota instead (Vios, Altis, Innova). For an entry level MPV, there are FAR BETTER alternatives (Mobilio and Ertiga). We are not complaining, we are just stating the obvious. Get it now? Good.

      Delete
    2. Yup. You may actually call us heroes. We're informing you so you won't have regrets later on.

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    3. Matagal ng toyota ang daihatsu ah. Saka ano problema sa daihatsu?

      Also ang bagong engine ng avanza is toyota made

      Delete
  16. For those who complain much, you are all MALAKIYA GAMOTO

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  17. Hello,
    "MPV architecture: body-on-frame structure"
    Seems like it is unibody structure(?)
    - Macpherson strut front suspension,
    rigid strut tower structure part of
    chassis/suspension frame.
    - Floor pan much deeper/lower than side sill.
    - no separate main frame to cover with side sill
    - side sill part of load bearing structure
    - No visible bolts/attachment bracket-structure between
    body and frame
    - body and frame integrated, welded together
    Thanks,
    --bxr_monkey

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello,
    Additional question. Is the stiffness of the ride worse than the Fortuner? Or is it better than the Fortuner?
    Thanks,
    --bxr_monkey

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi sirs, lumabas na yung brv. But with a price of 1.15M, masyado ata mahal compared to avanza? What do you guys think?

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  20. Meron po b kayo review sa avanza 1.3 e m/t? Or ok n po b un para makabyahe ng batangas o rizal?

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  21. Meron po b kayo review sa avanza 1.3 e m/t? Or ok n po b un para makabyahe ng batangas o rizal?

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  22. Bukas ko makukuha ang avanza 1.5G a/t mag send ako review kung mas ok sya kaysa mobilio na drive ko na kc mobilio masikip sa 3 persons ang 2nd row.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Bukas ko makukuha ang avanza 1.5G a/t mag send ako review kung mas ok sya kaysa mobilio na drive ko na kc mobilio masikip sa 3 persons ang 2nd row.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Ok naman ang power ng avanza maganda handling ng steering wheel kaya lang medyo matagtag ng konti oh baka nasanay lang ako sa sta fe pero so far ok ang ride nya. Kasya naman ang 3 sa 2nd row pero medyo masikip kapag malaki sasakay.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ok naman ang power ng avanza maganda handling ng steering wheel kaya lang medyo matagtag ng konti oh baka nasanay lang ako sa sta fe pero so far ok ang ride nya. Kasya naman ang 3 sa 2nd row pero medyo masikip kapag malaki sasakay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bago pa kase yan Bugs review it again after 3 to 6 months

      Delete
  26. sirain yung clutch disk ng bagong labas na toyota avanza at vios china galing yung parts

    ReplyDelete
  27. hi,
    will be purchasing this in just a few days. we are just waiting for the bank approval. we have considered spin and ertiga... also mobilio. kaso mahal ang mobilio, ang ertiga naman nice ang ergonomics pero masikip yung looban nya. yung spin naman maayos din kaso parang nakakatamad tingnan yung design.

    should we pursue with this avanza 2016 1.5G A/T? please enlighten us give us some thoughts. thank you!

    ReplyDelete