First drive: 2015 Toyota Avanza in the UAE

First drive: 2015 Toyota Avanza in the UAE

2015 Toyota Avanza in the UAE
It’s here! The car you’ve been waiting for! You people keep complaining about everything. “It’s too expensive, there’s no third-row seat, it doesn’t have Bluetooth, it doesn’t have USB ports, it’s not fuel-efficient, it doesn’t have alloys, it’s not rear-wheel-drive, it’s not as reliable as a Toyota, blah, blah.” Well, here’s the car for you — the all-new 2015 Toyota Avanza. For only Dhs 54,900. Now stop whining.

The Toyota Avanza is a mini-MPV designed by sister-company Daihatsu and built in Indonesia. It comes in only one trim for the UAE, with a 102 hp 1.5-litre 4-cylinder mated to a 4-speed automatic and rear-wheel-drive platform. But more importantly, it has three rows of seating.

Yes, the cabin can theoretically seat seven, although only the smallest of kids will be comfortable in the last row. It is decently spacious, with about the same legroom as a Yaris and about the same headroom as a Previa, with a sliding split-folding second-row seat. Even the third row split-folds, but the bench does not disappear into the floor. There’s only space for grocery bags with all three rows in use.

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The hard-plastic cabin has dashes of unpadded cloth as door-inserts, with as many as three bottle-holders on the front doors, a few more on the rear doors, and more cupholders for first-row and third-row passengers. Useful features include a basic CD/MP3 stereo, USB/AUX ports, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, Bluetooth and two airbags. But wait, there’s more. Fog lamps, 15-inch alloys, manual a/c with rear roof vents, rear window wiper and ABS with EBD, all are standard.

We took it out for a brief spin and there were some surprises. The upright driving position, necessitated by a non-telescoping steering wheel, isn’t hard to get used to, especially since the big windows and raised driving position offer great visibility. The steering is nicely weighted and gearbox is responsive in casual driving, even if there isn’t much forward motion at full throttle. The brakes are so-so, but get the job done with a little extra pedal-push. And there’s surprisingly little body roll and almost no floatiness over bumps. It basically drives like a big Yaris.

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Of course, the downside to tighter handling is that the ride is a tiny bit firm, although not annoyingly so. However, things get a bit loud inside the cabin at 100 kph, due to the minimal use of sound-deadening. You can feel that when you slam the thin doors. And the a/c, while strong, is uneven in the way it distributes air via the vents.

So who does the Avanza appeal to? In an ideal world, all a family would ever need is an Avanza. In fact, that’s how it already is in South-East Asia, where the Avanza hails from. Of course, market dynamics are different here. Most people take a bigger loan and buy 7-seater 4x4s here for fake street-cred more than anything else, and the Avanza has none of that. As such, we still think it will sell in huge numbers, bought by repeat customers of the Innova.

For detailed prices and specs, visit the Toyota Avanza buyer guide.

What do you think?



  1. A breed from Prado & Innova.

  2. What next can we expect or should we look forward to…..Honda Mobilio….seems like the return of the mini MPV segment

  3. I would put my money on the Venza not the Avenza!/Welcome

  4. it’s look like a grocery item delivery van

  5. where i can buy this? is it available in al futhem?

  6. Its a taxi in Philippines….also underpowered…

  7. My family has it in the Philippines since 2009.

  8. to me its a ugliest thing !!

  9. the gearbox is for Right hand drive?Toyota didnt even bother changing it.

  10. We want them to bring the Venza, Outlander and the 4Runner to replace the FJ and they offer us this !!!!!

    • Seen plenty of them on a trip to malaysia. A nonsense MPV for the budget oriented common man. Seems like value for money.

  11. Could someone please explain what does”Right hand drive” means?

  12. This is taxi in the Philippines its like camry here. MPV’s are popular their because they are cheap and very practical and bank loans are not that easy to acquire there.
    Chevrolet Spin, Suzuki APV & Ertiga, Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure are among the vehicles in this class.

    • Chevrolet Spin, Honda Mobilio, Suzuki Ertiga is also use as taxi in some cities in Indonesia. Not just Toyota Avanza. So, all of them are cheap cars?

  13. First look the features of this vehicle and then give comments…
    You are saving almost AED 20,000 by buying it, and within one year even Al Futtaim will increase the price….
    Bettter than Tucson, Sportage, EchoSport in price and features…

  14. Now here comes the Suzuki Ertiga at AED 49,900 from Al rostamani
    Waiting for Mash to go down and review it

    Imagine if the MPV craze grips families living in UAE like it did in South -east Asia

  15. it s very jayeed bro
    salam from indonesia.

  16. When I saw this car in Al Futtaim I thought it is a new model… turns out people have been driving Avanza’s for some time now in different part of the word.

  17. Avanza is very good and spacious car for every one who thinking for a 7 seater.It is affordable for everybody.It is a average vehicle but can enjoy all features. I am using it for last 2 months.I really enjoing…thanks TOYOTA.

  18. I am using the original Daihatsu Xenia for few months. And I love this car so much. It’s really 7 seaters car and Fuel-efficient car.

  19. i want buy toyota avanza

  20. I need to know about this Avanza I want to buy it, by finance.

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