Toyota Avanza ~ Cars and Bikes
Cars and Bikes

Monday, 16 June 2008

Toyota Avanza

Currently Toyota Avanza still hold the best selling for small-medium MPV category in Indonesia. The Toyota Avanza is an Indonesian designed mini MPV produced in Indonesia and also assembled in Malaysia, with supervision from Toyota, who also sell the car under their Daihatsu brand. The car was launched at the Gaikindo Auto Expo in 2003 and sold over 100,000 units that year. The name "Avanza" was taken from the Italian word avanzato, which means "advance".

The Avanza is a new model develop as low premier MPV to split Toyota Kijang/Toyota Unser to 2 different models, another new model is the Toyota Innova which is higher spec and aimed at a higher market.
Toyota Avanza is sold in Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, South Africa and Mexico.
1st Generation (2003 - Present)
The model is a five-door MPV with a FR layout. It features a 1.3-litre gasoline engine with a maximum output of 67 kW (92 PS) at 6000 rpm, and a 1.5-litre gasoline engine that produces 80 kW (109 PS) at 6000 rpm.
A special version of the Avanza was launched in late 2004 using a more powerful VVT-i unit. The special edition was also equipped with an automatic transmission.
The Avanza was restyled near the end of the third quarter of 2006 with a new grille, new bumpers, a new interior, and new front and rear lamps. The 2006 model New Avanza S also has a new engine, a 1.5-litre 16-valve DOHC VVT-i gasoline engine (similar to the Toyota Rush) along with the new ABS braking system.
Daihatsu Xenia
The Avanza's twin model is the Daihatsu Xenia, the only Daihatsu to use two engines - the 1.3-litre EFI similar to the Avanza's, and a three-cylinder 1.0-litre with power and torque rating at 63 PS (62 hp/46 kW) at 5600 rpm and 92 N·m (68 ft·lbf) at 3600 rpm.
In China, Daihatsu together with First Automobile Works (FAW) launch the Xenia on 21 June 2007. Production in China will be carried out at FAW Jilin Auto.[2] The Daihatsu Xenia is using 1.3 and 1.5-litre EFI similar to the Avanza's.
Currently Daihatsu Xenia sold in Indonesia and China.
Brief Review
"My brief was to develop the Avanza for the Asean region and at this time, we are only thinking of selling it in the Asean markets. Perhaps we may also offer it in other countries outside Asean but it is not something we are looking at for now," said Kaoru Hosokawa, the Chief Engineer for the Avanza who was present at the media at the Toyota Avanza lunching.
That Toyota chose a MPV for its second low-cost effort was probably influenced by the huge success of the Kijang/Unser over the years. Although the sedan is still a popular bodystyle, people-carriers are much more popular in Indonesia and the Philippines and sell in very large volumes, In Indonesia especially, the Kijang has become something of a ‘national car’ given its sales dominance.
The Avanza has rear-wheel drive which, in the view of Chief Engineer Hosokawa, is more suitable for this type of vehicle and also better for the conditions in the Asean area. While front-wheel drive has its merits and comes in very useful when more space in the cabin is needed, the 4070 mm long Avanza already has enough body length so having RWD is not disadvantageous. It is better when a full load is carried and provides better rear-end traction as weight distribution is better,
The suspension (by the way, the bodywork is monocoque, like a passenger car’s) has a simple design too, making for low cost. Up front are independent MacPherson struts and at the rear, the live axle is located by a 4-link arrangement and rides on coil springs. It’s a proven layout and one which is also durable.
It is also evident that the designers did a lot of studies of this region and found that apart from rough road conditions, there is also flooding along roads. To make sure that Avanza owners have no problems in such conditions, the ground clearance is a generous 180 mm and like the Unser, the air intake is set high up, out of the way of even water splashes into the engine bay.
The rest of the chassis is conventional with a disc/drum brake combination and the tyres have a size of 185/70R14. On the manual version, 5J steel wheels are standard while the automatic comes with alloy wheels (the spare is steel).
Versatility is another highlight of the Avanza and in the spacious cabin, there are three rows of seats to accommodate seven adults. It’s actually very impressive packaging to get the third row into a body with this length and what’s more, the third row is actually comfortable enough for adults. It’s not like the third row seats in some vehicles which are just cushioned pads planted on the cargo area floor and people sitting on them have their knees under their chins.
The second and third row can be folded flat for more cargo space but the third row cannot be removed altogether. Folding of the seats is easy and access to the third row is done by folding the second row seat flat and then flipping it up. The only odd thing is that you can only flip up the seat on the left side as the one of the right won’t do that. So it seems like the model was conceived with righthand drive markets in mind.
The dashboard has a nice modern look with an ergonomically efficient layout of controls and switches. Recognising that the cassette format is going the way of extinction, Toyota Motor’s products planners have fitted a 1-DIN head unit with a CD-player and radio.
For the driver, there’s a very clean instrument panel layout with a touch of sportiness. A tiny differentiation between the manual and automatic version is that the odometer for the former is an analogue type whereas the automatic gets a digital LCD display. The switchgear is classic Toyota, meaning it has a solid feel while the steering wheel has a nice style. Steering column adjustment is not available so you have to live with the position chosen by Toyota.
All the conveniences we’ve come to take for granted are present including power windows (front and rear) and central locking. As a first in its class, the Avanza’s air-conditioning system is a dual blower type with a second set of vents on the ceiling to blow cool air to the rear. The fan speed for the second blower is also adjustable although it would be nice if a switch could be put on the dashboard for the driver to switch it off when not needed.
Storage space is always an important thing in a car these days and even more so in a MPV. For the Avanza, there are no less than 17 storage areas and these include cupholders and even slots for pens and handphones at the rear.
Driving Impression
From this brief drive, it was apparent that the 1.3-litre engine is a robust unit and should offer reasonable performance in normal driving conditions. In the higher rev range, the engine noise does intrude so some extra insulation may be welcome but at town speeds, it is fairly smooth and quiet.
Handling-wise, the Avanza is impressive and very stable in tight turns, It also shows the same stability in fast weaving and this quality could well be something the chief engineer, whose background is in chassis engineering, could well have given a lot of attention to. High marks also go to the ride comfort although we will have to see how the Avanza takes bumps and potholes (which were not present on the smooth test track).

The build quality of the vehicles was very good and those in the showroom can be expected to also be of the high quality typical of Toyota products. Though it’s a low-priced vehicle, Toyota has not compromised in areas that are visible to customers although for under $ 12,000, you obviously cannot expect them to provide the same standards as a Corolla.

UP DATE:Early this year (2009) I have a chance to test a brand new 1.5-litre 16-valve DOHC VVT-i gasoline engine, manual transmission Toyota Avanza for 6 days in Bali, Indonesia. I brought my family with me (wife and my daughter) plus some additional traveling bags, so almost 3/4 of its maximum payload. My first impression is a much better interior improvement compare to the one I tested in 2004. Better dashboard design and quality, plenty cup holders etc.

The engine sound is very minimal from inside, good sound proof. The clutch is light and smooth, change gear is easy. However, after ride just outside the parking lot and enter the busy city road, I feel the gear ratio were to closed one to the other, and for 80km/hrs I should 5th gear and the rpm go up to 2500-2800, the engine is fine but I can feel the sound and vibration while driving.

For extra urban drive, especially in hilly and road likes Bali, the gear ratio are perfect, less body roll (compare to the 1st generation). I never loss a power while over take or climbing hilly road. The fuel consumption is around 1 liter for 14-15 km (extra urban), 12-14km (city drive).

Potential Problem
After few years in the market, the second hand avanza/xenia have some checklist to be inspect:
- advance throttle opening, makes the engine slightly rough and not smooth while start. Go to Toyota/Daihatsu authorized workshop, and make an adjustment in the throttle valve.
- Excessive body roll when the car is not in full load condition. The rear shock absorber slightly too soft. Replace with harder rear shock absorber.
- In early production of xenia/avanza, a problem in clutch release bearing in the transmission is common. The dealer will replace the parts with a better product for free (during guarantee time).


Friejose said...

This is the best, most thorough Avanza review I've found on the web in English. Thanks.

Jason Lee said...

I totally agreed with you that Toyota Avanza is the best MPV in Malaysia.

I myself owns a Toyota Avanza.

value my car said...

i am totally agreed, nice one

uno said...

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