By on September 16, 2011


Toyota doesn’t sell the Camry in most European markets; it’s wayyy too big and powerful to find favor with our Continental betters. Instead, they offer the Avensis, which was rumored to debut a complete redesign at Frankfurt but instead only showed a minor facelift. It would be overly simplistic to call the Avensis a “Scion tC sedan or wagon” but that does more or less capture the approximate size and nature of the vehicle. The Avensis platform is normally sold with a choice of two-liter, four-cylinder diesel, turbodiesel, and gasoline engines. The 2.5, 180-horsepower four-cylinder from the tC would fit, however.

The Avensis sedan wouldn’t find too many customers Stateside; very few people want to pay Camry money and get less car in return. This little wagon, on the other hand…

What’s the difference between this Avensis wagon, sold with a Scion tC nose, and the Acura TSX Sportwagon? Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Let’s call it twenty horsepower and eight thousand dollars. No, it’s not much of a niche, but it is one where Toyota could find a little bit of volume, perhaps capture the occasional hipster and/or Outback Sport buyer, and earn a touch of enthusiast cred. Most interestingly, it would exist in a more or less uncontested market segment. Who else makes a small wagon? Don’t say Mazda; this vehicle neatly splits the difference between Mazda3 and Mazda5.

There would be no reason for it to cost more than a similarly-equipped Scion tC coupe. The question becomes: Would you buy it? Do you know anybody who would?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

90 Comments on “Ask The Best and Brightest: Would You Pay $22,000 For This Toyota Wagon?...”


  • avatar
    Philosophil

    It looks like a fine vehicle to me. But would it attract new buyers, or just pull some away from the Matrix (or the XB)?

    Actually, the more that I think about it, maybe it would attract new buyers. There are many people who don’t like the gangster/hearse look of the XB yet want something a little bigger than a Matrix. It could draw people away from VW’s Golf wagon as well (at least that’s what it’s called here in Canada).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It would probably just pull Matrix buyers, and perhaps the odd Venza or two. It’s questionable how much utility it would provide versus the Matrix or xB, too, both of which are probably higher-margin.

      Small sport-wagon buyers are, honestly, image buyers. If it was really all about practicality, they’d be fine with taller, shorter wagonoids like the Rondo and Matrix. And they’re pretty thin on the ground in North America ()and especially the US) and tend to be Eurosnobs to a fault.

      It would be nifty if Toyota brought this, but I doubt it’ll happen. The tC hatch is about as good as we’ll get. I’d settle for two more doors on that body.

      • 0 avatar
        dingram01

        “Small sport-wagon buyers are, honestly, image buyers. If it was really all about practicality, they’d be fine with taller, shorter wagonoids like the Rondo and Matrix.”

        Yes, of course. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact the Matrix has a puny cargo compartment (my wife has a Matrix) and a real wagon, even a small one, has a much larger cargo compartment (I have a Jetta Sportwagen).

        I can, you know, actually fit stuff in the back of my car. It’s a big, big difference. Does that practical consideration make me “Eurosnob to a fault?”

        In a recent article Jack makes mention of the “straight-shooting, self-styled marketing expert.” I don’t think he meant this as a term of endearment. Maybe you should give that a little thought.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I can, you know, actually fit stuff in the back of my car. It’s a big, big difference. Does that practical consideration make me “Eurosnob to a fault?”

        No, but it makes you the exception, rather than the rule.

        I bought a Honda Fit (and not a Toyota Matrix) for the same reason, but we’re still both outliers.

        In a recent article Jack makes mention of the “straight-shooting, self-styled marketing expert.” I don’t think he meant this as a term of endearment. Maybe you should give that a little thought

        Wagon sales in North America are practically non-existent and the only people clamouring for wagons are enthusiasts, as the sales bear out (the only wagons that sell in any quantity are European models that carry a badge premium).

        If explaining the reality of the market makes me a self-styled marketing expert, then I guess I’m guilty.

        It just gets me that enthusiasts continually talk about how people should drive wagons, or would if automakers only made more of them, or how people avoid wagons out of a sense of self-image (which flies in the face of minivan’s destroying the large-wagon market). The truth of the matter is that we don’t buy wagons in this part of the world unless we have very specific reasons for doing so, usually do with image and/or wanting something fun to drive (which is an image thing), which is just as much a decision to put wants above raw practicality as a SUV buyer.

        If it wasn’t, we’d see more non-premium wagon sales.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I am a “sport-wagon buyer,” but obviously not the type you stereotype. We are not all ricers. I like a small, fun, practical car. I appreciate the cost/benefit it offers compared to other vehicles. I certainly would consider a small CUV like the new CX-5.

        The reason I haven’t chosen one of those so far is that the extra utility they offer isn’t enough of an improvement. My Mazda P5 does just about everything I need, and I need a real truck for what it doesn’t do. A Sportage or similar doesn’t change that; it doesn’t increase my day-to-day usability, and they do come with more weight & less mpg. (Basically, let’s say a compact sedan can do 80% of what I need, a compact wagon/hatch can do 90%, and a small CUV can do 93%–it’s an improvement, but not much.) They are also typically less enjoyable to drive.

        Now as far as this wagon–I’d consider it, but I doubt I’d get it. Because of garage space issues, I consider 180″ OAL the max for my cars. The article states: “It would be overly simplistic to call the Avensis a ‘Scion tC sedan or wagon’ but that does more or less capture the approximate size and nature of the vehicle. … What’s the difference between this Avensis wagon, sold with a Scion tC nose, and the Acura TSX Sportwagon?” Well, the tC is 174″ long compared to the TSX wagon’s 189″. That’s a big difference to me. If it is closer to the tC (but with 4 doors & hatch), I’d absolutely test drive it. If it is just a cheaper TSX, I wouldn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        dingram01

        Psar, you’re not “explaining,” you’re “opining.”

        You may feel strongly that you’re right, but unless you’re telling us that you actually WORK these surveys and customer clinics, then you’re not any better informed than anyone else.

        I prickle at the assertion that the supposed average sport wagon buyer does so only for image. We cannot know what would happen in a market full of wagon choices, because we do not have such a market here. Is that because no one would buy them, or is it because manufacturers would rather sell them a higher-margin product such as a minivan or CUV/SUV? We can only speculate.

        When it comes to practicality, I note that many CUVs lack the cargo space of my (small) wagon. I can’t be the only one aware of this. So it’s just as plausible that CUV/SUV buyers are the more image-conscious, and I suspect that’s closer to the truth.

        I dunno, the presumed all-knowingness of TTAC commenters is really bugging me lately. Sorry to take it out on you.

      • 0 avatar
        hyundaivirgin

        dingram01: “Does that practical consideration make me “Eurosnob to a fault?”
        – That practical consideration does not make you a Eurosnob, but not buying the Hyundai Elantra Touring might.

        redav: “The tC is 174″ long compared to the TSX wagon’s 189. That’s a big difference to me. If it is closer to the tC (but with 4 doors & hatch), I’d absolutely test drive it.”
        – The Elantra Touring is 176.6″ long, has 4 doors & hatch, and more trunk space than the TSX or the pathetic A3 (65 vs 61 and 39 cf with the seats down). Perhaps you should “absolutely test drive it.”

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        hyundaivirgin:
        My wife owns an automatic Elantra Touring & I’ve driven an auto A3 (my daily driver is a manual A4 quattro).

        The A3 is a hatchback, so for usable space there’s no comparison. The Touring is a true heir of the ’80s Civic Wagon there.

        The Touring has as good a chassis as any normal FWD car. I’m serious – it gives up nothing to the A3 in handling. The engine and transmission are another story.. the new engine and trannies can’t come here soon enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You may feel strongly that you’re right, but unless you’re telling us that you actually WORK these surveys and customer clinics, then you’re not any better informed than anyone else.

        There are numerous surveys on this subject. They’re called “sales figures”, and vehicles like this don’t sell well in the US market.

        Compact wagons aren’t popular among American car buyers. Sure, a few people will buy them, but not many.

        And of the few that would sell, they would likely cannibalize other sales within the Toyota lineup.

        It ends up not making sense for TMC to sell such cars here because the added cost of production ends up taking away sales from other cars, which ends up increasing costs and reducing profits. Not the best move for a company like Toyota, which wants the economies of scale that come from nameplate sales and that isn’t a niche player.

        Toyota used to sell compact wagons in the US. It no longer does. I think that I just explained why that is; it’s because they know better.

      • 0 avatar
        dingram01

        “Does that practical consideration make me “Eurosnob to a fault?”
        – That practical consideration does not make you a Eurosnob, but not buying the Hyundai Elantra Touring might.

        Hey, if there’d been any Elantra Touring models around for me to test drive, and if they would have allowed me to qualify for the maximum Cash For Clunkers gummint cheese as the TDI did, I’d probably be driving one right now. In fact I was just recommending one to my sister the other day.

        Without CFC loot, I’d never have had the budget for the Jetta, and it would’ve been off my radar. The Jetta is the better driving car, it’s true, but that price gap is too wide to justify.

        Pch101, you’re looking at sales figures as predictors, when the last time Toyota offered a wagon of any sort was over 20 years ago. No doubt their extensive research in that timeframe has revealed the American preference for SUVs, or at least CUVs, but the idea that wagon buyers are the image-conscious group doesn’t follow. Nor, again, do we know whether Toyota and others have actively steered customers towards models they prefer to sell them.

        I’ll get off my high horse now. I just wish you B&B folks would stop thinking you have real insight on the marketplace, when you don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        you’re looking at sales figures as predictors

        Sales figures are an indication of the current market. It isn’t about the future, it’s about right now. And right now, there is almost no demand for wagons.

        Nor, again, do we know whether Toyota and others have actively steered customers towards models they prefer to sell them.

        Companies make vehicles that they believe that consumers want to buy. They don’t always get it right, but there’s no conspiracy to force consumers into vehicle classes that they don’t want.

        I just wish you B&B folks would stop thinking you have real insight on the marketplace, when you don’t.

        The insight isn’t coming from me, it’s coming from the market.

        I get it — people who maintain unpopular preferences tend to really dislike data because the data contradicts them. But the facts are what they are, and the fact is that wagons sell in low volumes in the US. If there’s anything insightful here, it’s that facts are of greater value than are opinions based upon emotion and personal preferences that are out of lockstep of the norm.

    • 0 avatar
      hyundaivirgin

      Who else makes a small wagon? How about Hyundai, as in Hyundai Elantra Touring (again)? It is already another $8000 less at its lowest trim level.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The Elantra Touring is a great vehicle, but badly needs a drivetrain update. It’s underpowered and thirsty for a 2.0 liter.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        ..which is why they’d be fools not to bring out a new i30cw/Estate (only the hatch was shown at Frankfurt) and it would be a pity not to bring the wagon here.

        @30-mile the new i30 has a 6spd manual (and some better slushbox like the new Elantras have) and the 1.6 GDI engine. Plus some nice turbodiesel we’re unlikely to get.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        @30-mile:

        The i30 just shown at Frankfurt has a 6spd manual and the 1.6L GDI engine.. so IF they announce a wagon (i30cw/Estate) and IF we get it here and not just the hatch..

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    they find the camry too powerful? It has 175hp or some like that pushing 3,400lb.. and very meagre torque

    those wagon/estate pics as you posted actually looks very good… it has a sport kit on it and big wheels and it looks vaguely Audi VW like so i do like it

    the interior is however horrible with that corporate toyota spray silver plastic finish and the controls look very cheap and sale rep. like

    you do present the best look becuase if you look on wikipedia, the base sedan/hatch model looks terrible

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Toyota_Avensis_front_20090814.jpg

    disgusting

    it looks like a mashup of the Cruze, Sebring and everything wrong with cheap medium cars

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Butterfly

      175hp is a lot of horses for Europe regardless of weight. They pay tax based on hp and even 175 of them will be fairly expensive. And of course there’s precious fuel.

      Nonetheless Avensis is ghastly inside-out. It looks like not only the center console is made of cheap silver plastic, but the entire body of the car. Maybe seats too..

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        In the UK we pay tax on fuel economy not hp.

        The Avensis is in the same size class as the Mondeo (next Fusion) and Insignia (current Buick Regal). So it isn`t tiny (bigger than Focus, Cruze, Civic etc).

        Although from what I have read the Avensis interior is of good quality, as it needs to be to compete with the Passat, Insignia and Mondeo. Europeans pay more, in part, because of the longer warranty (60K, 5 years) and better quality interior.

        http://www.whatcar.com/car-reviews/toyota/avensis-saloon/summary/25599-2

      • 0 avatar
        JJ

        Europe are a bunch of different sovereign states so despite the efforts of EU politicians taxation in general and on cars especially still varies wildly among member states (sadly for me and my fellow Dutch citizens, since together with Denmark we ‘enjoy’ the highest taxes on anything related to cars of all European nations).

        Taxes are one of several reasons why ‘big cars’ from non-premium brands like the Toyota Camry, The late Opel Omega, Peugeot 607, Ford Scorpio, Alfa 166 etc have been unsuccesful in finding enough buyers to justify their continued availability on most European markets.

        Basically, they’d be priced like a 3-series and for several reasons including but not exclusively taxes (also tiny spaces in the cities, interior quality, driving dynamics, badge snobism) the market has showed people rather buy the smaller premium car than the big non-premium car…

        The Avensis by the way is considered one of the most bland cars you can buy here in the same way the Camry is in the US. The wagon is about 4 inches smaller than the last US camry so it’s probably bigger than you might think from the pictures.

    • 0 avatar
      Almost Jake

      If memory serves me, European insurance is largely based on your horsepower.

      • 0 avatar
        The Doctor

        Sometimes – I was told by my insurer that my quote was quite high because my car had a 4 litre engine. The fact that it produced less power than an asthmatic goat didn’t seem to matter to them.

      • 0 avatar
        another_pleb

        Having just renewed my annual insurance, I can say that the cost is based on all sorts of different things such as the phase of the moon and the number of wrinkles on your grandmother’s elbow.

        The most powerful Avensis can produce around 150bhp. There isn’t any sense in Toyota providing more than this, not becuase of European tastes in cars but because in Europe, a powerful car needs to have an upmarket name-plate such as Audi or BMW or be small and cheap such as a quick Renault to sell.

        The Avensis is a wonderful taxi though.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        +1 on “The Avensis is a wonderful taxi though”; it seems to me most of the Avensis I have seen in the UK were minicabs.

        I might consider one of these if they were sold in Canada, but I would rather have a Mondeo Estate given the choice.

        What I would *really* like is for Subaru to go back to making a decent wagon instead of a cost reduced crossover with sunroof glass that falls out, so that I can replace my aging Legacy Wagon with another of the same. I don’t see that happening any time soon though…

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    One of the best selling cars in Norway,(well, except the always winning Golf) constantly battling the Euro-Passat,(the Mondeo has made a few attacks too) mostly seen everywhere over here as a wagon with a diesel. Honda could only dream of selling as many cars over here as Toyota. (The Euro-Accord, which is a rebadged TSX is a lot more expensive over here, and viewed almost as a niche cars like Saabs and Citroens.)

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    “Most interestingly, it would exist in a more or less uncontested market segment. Who else makes a small wagon?”

    Kia Soul.

    I would think a Kia Soul is a much better wagon and deal at $6-8 thousand less.

    • 0 avatar
      steeringwithmyknees

      the Soul is smaller, isn’t it?

      There’s also Hyundai. I think what is called Elantra Touring in the US is called i30 there. Its not a bad little wagon and seems more like a wagon than the Soul (which strikes me as somewhere between a tiny CUV and a box like the Cube, and XB)

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      The Soul is a lot smaller, and at least in its current iteration produces a lot less power than Toyota’s 2.5 liter. At 19 cu.ft. of storage, it’s also more of a hatchback than a wagon. That Avensis probably has closer to 30 cu.ft. behind the back seats.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Who else sells a small wagon? How about VW? Except for the front fascia, I would have believed this was a new Jetta Sportwagen.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I was thinking about the Jetta when I wrote this, but I think it’s fair to say that most people who would buy a Japanese-brand wagon would avoid a VW over price, reliability concerns real and/or imagined, and so on.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        The Avensis is bigger than the Jetta Sportswagen. The Jetta (in wagon form) is a compact car whilst the Avensis is a mid-size car going up against the Passat, Mondeo and Insignia.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        We bought a Jetta wagon about a year ago. With the 5 cylinder it is about $21K, and this Avensis would be a perfect competitor for it. Had the Avensis been available, it would have been a difficult choice, for the reliability reasons you mention.

        But if recent Toyotas are any indication, the VW would still drive better and have a nicer interior and seats.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        ..I agree: ignoring VW, the East-Asian competition comes down to the Elantra Touring… and we may not see it in wagon form for long.

        Funny how almost no one is willing to serve the small wagon market. Are my wife and I really that different from the rest of the car buying public?

  • avatar
    jruhi4

    What Jack is suggesting here has already happened in Japan.

    To date, the current, 3rd-gen Avensis had been primarily a Europe-only model. Recently, however, Toyota decided to export the Avensis wagon only (not the sedan) to Japan.

    http://www2.toyota.co.jp/en/news/11/06/0624.html

    As to TonyJZX’s complaints of cheap interior materials, the just-unveiled midlife Avensis facelift supposedly includes a revised interior with better quality materials. Not having seen it in person, though, I can’t vouch for how much it has improved in this regard.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    ‘Everyone’ makes a wagon in this segment, (PS, this is a MID-size car in Europe, not small ) they just don’t sell them in the US. For some odd reason Americans are content with buying cars that serve no other purpose than commuting (sedans), while over here if you don’t have a wagon (or a least a hatchback) in every segment you are excluding every buyer below the age of 60 (unless they have grandchildren they care about, in which case they’ll buy a Fit or a CR-V (which means Honda, over here, only sell cars to grandparents (and me) more or less)

  • avatar
    virages

    Again and again, it all comes down to the environment (not the green one). The US environment for cars is influenced by cheap gas and wide lanes. It is in this environment that US customers will give a premium to larger cars. The gain in size is then offset by decontenting. VW figured this out and voilà, a larger and cheaper Passat. It’s also why the smart is called the “dumb” in the states, but it’s pretty smart in Paris or Rome.

    If you want a sporty compact wagon that gets good milage and a stick, come on out here to europe! …and pay 8-10€ a gallon.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I’m a huge wagon fan and am all for more options, but this is just….blah. That interior just looks cheap and dated, even more so than standard Toyota offerings.

  • avatar
    fabriced28

    As good as it may now look, the avensis remains one of the most boring cars available on the european market, and a regular sight on rental lots. Dull to drive, appalling interior, weak gasoline engines, and you would not want to run the high-end diesel in the long term, with all its catalytic converters, filters and DeNOx technology.
    It sells poorly in most european countries, and frankly, having driven one, I can say it is deserved. It doesn’t have a single selling point.
    It would never fit with the Scion brand, and is quite notably bigger than a tC (think more Buick Regal).
    It is priced almost in line with the European Accord (or TSX), so I would go with te Honda any day.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 there is a reason why Toyota has only 4% of the European market. It is generally regarded as boring compared to many other brands (remember there are several brands in Europe like Renault, Peugeot, Citroen and the full Fiat range that are not in the US).

      If the Avensis wagon came over it would be way more than $22K because other midsize European wagons – Acura TSX, old Passat wagon and the proposed and now cancelled Buick Regal Wagon were all $27K or more.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    I’m in. Sized between the A3 and A4 Avants…hopefully it will have the ‘legendary’ Toyota reliability and build quality of old…Yup. Where do I sign?

  • avatar
    Variant

    I currently drive a B5.5 Passat wagon (trouble free!), and were I in the market for a $22k new car this would absolutely be on my list. A third pedal option might move it close to the top!

  • avatar

    I like the Venza better.

  • avatar
    KalapanaBlack

    I’ve thought the Avensis has looked pretty decent for a couple of generations, but it just doesn’t fit in the US. No room at Lexus (they already sell the related HS and CT) for another FWD mid-compact vehicle. No room at Scion’s wannabe youth-oriented brand for a vehicle this mature (boring) or expensive. No room at Toyota, where it would fall in between the Matrix and Venza in size – a very small hole to fill, which already contains the more SUV-like RAV4. Besides, it would most likely cost more base-for-base than any of the mainstream Toyota wagovers, and nobody would pay higher-than-RAV4-or-Venza prices for less car, as astutely noted in the article. This might make a very interesting replacement for the Matrix as far as the vehicle itself goes, but the price bump would be astronomical due to either retooling existing plants and losing the economies of scale with the Corolla, or importing from Europe, even if they deconted the thing to within an inch of its life (current Matrix/Corolla has 4-speed auto, nasty interior, twist beam rear suspension, and pretty basic construction).

    Basically, yes, we always dream of what can’t currently be had like it’s the next best thing, but oftentimes there’s a sound business-based reason it isn’t sold in the US. Not everything is an R34 Skyline or Lancer Evo VI (i.e. a monster of a vehicle that isn’t sold here seemingly on a technicality).

    And if this type, size, and price vehicle interests you, I believe Buick, in its infinite flailing about for random market niches, will be offering the Insignia Sports Tourer here as a Regal variant shortly, to compete with the aforemention TSX (which exists and is as rare as hens’ teeth).

  • avatar
    NN

    If it really was $22k, then yes, I would definitely consider this strongly. Also, per Edmunds Buick won’t be bringing the Regal wagon to the US, and even if it did, it would be more like $32k like the TSX.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I’d take the Ford Modeo Estate over this anyday. Toyota, your interiors are hideous! Please Ford, bring over the wagon for the 2013 Fusion and I’ll pre-order.

  • avatar
    Advo

    Put that grill on the Venza and forget about bringing the wagon here. There’s no real point since a Toyota wagon isn’t going to be sporty enough to take advantage of the lower height/center of mass.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    Only if I can get a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well it certainly looks a lot better than the US Corolla with better engine choices. The interior looks like a Cruze/Astra copy – again, definitely better than the current US Corolla offering.

    I know everyone says they would BUY a wagon (including me) but I don’t know if that perception matches the reality of buyers showing up.

    The current Corolla in its present form is completely uncompetitive in the C-Segment, all it has to go on right now is reputation, and to a lesser extent price. This seems like an easy way to solve a couple of problems and test the waters.

    From a looks stand point, I really like it, and I do think there is an opening in this market. My only last minute reservation is as others have expressed, with the current Matrix – do you need both? I say no – the Matrix has never been a sales leader for Toyota (where the NUMMI built defunct Pontiac Vibe was rated higher for reliability in CR versus its Canadian built Matrix twin and sold at a much higher velocity).

  • avatar
    Marko

    $22K? A little too much for a Scion. What Scion really needs is a better automatic transmission in the xB. I know that many TTAC readers, likely including myself, would opt for the manual in the xB, but the fact is that most American car buyers prefer automatics, and with the 6-speed automatics that Ford, Chevy, Hyundai, etc. are offering in their compacts and subcompacts, a 4-speed is obsolete.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    With the Tacoma-sized Global Ranger out of Americans’ reach, Ford suggested the EcoBoost F-150 (if they need a truck) Transit Connect (for hauling capability) or Fiesta (if they want the cheapest Ford) as alternatives.

    Toyota would tell you they don’t sell the Avensis wagon here is because we have the VENZA. It’s a wagon, it’s only five inches longer than the Avensis, and it has much more power.

    Honda mitigated the cost of the Euro-Accord by making it an Acura. If the Avensis wagon ever made it here, it wouldn’t be as a Toyota…or a Lexus. I think it would only work as a Scion. It would also struggle for 10,000 annual sales.

    Another American sedan the exact same size as the Avensis? The Kizashi. Of course, one can’t blame only its size on slow sales…Suzuki has other problems.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I like it, but the interior looks cheap with all the silver painted plastic on the console. The silver painted plastic was an unfortunate styling trend that afflicted the Avalon, Altima, RAV4, and countless other cars.

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    This would be the same size as a Mazda 6, and we all remember what happened to the Mazda 6 that was initially sold in sedan, wagon and liftback body styles. Americans just don’t want to buy this stuff in sufficient quantities as long as gas is under $4 per gallon.

    If the Feds really cared about trying to improve fuel mileage, they should think about how to make it easier for automakers to import these Euro models instead of piling on crash test requirements and certification fees so that no one dares to take a chance on a low volume product.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Huh, The interior reminds me quite a lot of my Hyundai. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I would absolutely consider this vehicle, particularly if it had the 2.5L engine rather than the Corolla’s 1.8. It looks sharp, and the interior design looks just fine to me.

    Here’s what this car would need to make me choose it over our 5 cylinder Jetta wagon:

    1) Reliability significantly better than the VW
    2) At least 25 cu.ft. in the cargo hold
    3) Steering and suspension tuning sharper than Camry or Corolla (think RAV4 or Yaris if we have to stay in the family)
    4) Toyota’s 2.5L engine, and fuel economy similar to the Camry

    Shouldn’t be too hard. But buyers like me represent about 0.0001% of the market.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    No. I would rather have a Focus wagon or possibly the Hyundai one after a refresh.

    Toyota might find some buyers for this car, though.

  • avatar
    Acubra

    Toyota – meh.
    But I really liked Gen II Mazda6 Wagon. Even with a 2 liter engine/6-speed manual it was nice and reasonably peppy even in the Swiss Alps.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Yes. I would like a midsize wagon priced in the mid 20’s to replace my 4Runner. Modern 4cyl, 6AT and excellent real world MPG required. I suspect the current EPA MPG highway test cycle does not let the public see how much better MPG a wagon can get on the highway over a crossover SUV. When the EPA rates the GMC Terrain as having better highway mpg than a TSX wagon (32 vs 30) it is no wonder that more wagons aren’t being sold. In the real world at 75mph, the TSX would get significantly better MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      357

      Indeed. I think part of the problem is that no random consumer actually knows anything about how the tests are run, which makes it impossible to tell how the numbers will translate into the fuel economy that each consumer will actually get. It would be great if there were three tests:
      1) Stop and Go 0-30mph. Basically a simple up-down duty cycle with a few different accel rates (typical of driving around town).
      2) The old pre-2008 Highway cycle; this would be fairly indicitave of driving on country roads
      3) Cruising at 75mph. A much more indicative number for what Americans typically see when driving on major divided highways.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      One thing I’ve always wondered about the EPA test cycle, and I think this ties in with your comment, is how the dynomometer technicians factor in wind-resistence as a function of frontal area and ride-height. I may be completely off base, but don’t vehicles that sit higher off the ground create slightly more turbulence that would have to be overcome. This additional turbulence wouldn’t necessarily be able to be “dialed in” during the test.

      I don’t know how the engineers/technicians work this and it’s always made me curious.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Remember the late, great Corolla wagon?

    Try prying one from a current owner’s living fingers.

    Toyota would sell every single one of these that they imported at $20-22k.

    It undercuts the other wagons and notches neatly between the Vibe and the Vente.

    Of what they make, if this came with a stick I’d consider it.

  • avatar
    ixim

    It’s a 4/5 size Venza. Without the extra ground clearance. The answer to the unasked question – “Got something like a Matrix only prettier?”

    • 0 avatar
      lostjr

      Oh man, I will ask that question. I drive a 2003 Matrix, and am thinking about replacing it. I love the functionality, but the current one is even uglier and cheaper feeling. In my urban setting, the Venza is a pig (especially width). Couldn’t this thing replace the Matrix? Isn’t the Matrix due for replacement, or on the bubble or something?

      Not sure I need a hybrid, but the Prius V is coming up on the radar for the size and functionality.

  • avatar
    bmaiorov

    I’d certainly consider it. How is it compared to the Venza?

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    The way I see it, enthusiasts do tend to be the ones who claim to want wagons, but most wagons do not cater to enthusiasts. The small number of true wagon offerings are automatics with softer suspensions. But the buyers those are targeting dont want a wagon, they want an SUV or crossover to fit in with thier image concious neighbors. Or if a buyer doesnt care about image or performance, they are happy with one of the goofy looking “box” compact crossovers like the xB, Soul, or Cube. So rather than sell what enthusiasts want, manufacturers say “wagons dont sell in the US”.

    If Acura offered the TSX wagon with a stick and a sport suspension, I would bet money they would sell more. Offer a v6/stick and SH-AWD on it, theyd sell even more, and we wouldnt even make fun of the goofy nosejob or size increase.

    Even if the Avensis looked this good and got the 1.8 engine, if Toyota makes it as boring to drive as the rest of thier cars and saddles it with an auto-only deal, no, it wont sell. Because the traditional non-enthuiast buyer doesnt want a wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I don’t see how you figure that the current wagon offerings don’t cater to enthusiasts. Here is the list of actual traditional STATION WAGONS available in the US:

      Cadillac CTS Wagon
      BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon
      VW Jetta Sport Wagon
      Audi A4 Avant
      MB E-class Wagon
      Saab 9-3 Sport Combi
      Acura TSX Sportwagon

      A pretty small assortment for sure. All premium brands, all certainly oriented towards enthusiasts. Only one under $30K. Most of the cars being discussed here as “wagons” are not really, they are either CUVs or hatchbacks of one variety or another. After all, if you are going to consider a Toyota Venza a station wagon, then you might as well consider a Ford Flex to be one as well. Or a Suburban for that matter. Anything that is at all taller than a standard sedan is by definition not a station wagon, and niether is any car with a hatch where the cargo bay is wider than it is long. I also tend to think that if there is no sedan version, it isn’t a station wagon. Just my opinion, of course.

      I bought a 3-series wagon (and a Saab 9-3SC, and sundry Volvos, Peugeots, and MBs over the years) because I want the driving dynamics of a good sedan, but with the ability to easily load large objects into the car when necessary. If a non-Premium brand could sell me a car that even approached the BMWs combination of driving dynamics and utility I would have bought it, but nobody offers anything all that close. The Jetta just doesn’t drive well enough, which is too bad because otherwise there would be a TDI wagon in my garage. I’m just done with FWD, and have no use for AWD.

      • 0 avatar
        hyundaivirgin

        Hello? Hyundai Elantra Touring? Again? Not only below $30k but below $20k!

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        Heh, hv, I suspect you wont get these folks to look at a Korean car. :-)

        (Related to the discussion I should note that Hyundai pitched the Elantra Touring as a sport wagon when it hit our market in ’09 – and also as the replacement for the Elantra GT. Reality and a fleet of GLS trim sales set in for 2010)

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @Krodes, thats a very small list! And all of them are premium brands except the VW, which is still kind of pricey. The E-class isnt offered as a stick, and the CTS-V is priced out of most buyers budgets. At least the Euro brands offer semi-affordable stick wagons, but the average buyer considers them risky and not too reliable. So eliminating the overpriced E-class and CTS-V, Acura is left as the only reliable Japanese branded wagon, and they wont give us a stick. I think they could steal sales from the Euro brands if they offered it. And as I pointed out below, they already have one, they just need to make it an option on the wagon.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @virgin… only one problem, your beloved Elantra Touring is NOT a sporting car aimed at enthusiasts

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        I know I’m wicked late to the party but just to set the record straight the Elantra Touring WAS marketed to enthusiasts. It was the only station wagon offered with a B&M 5-speed manual from the factory and was quoted as such in advertizements. All for $18K. How many sales??? 4 that I know of.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        mazder3: AFAIK Hyundai doesn’t break out Touring sales from Elantra sedan sales. Rumor holds volume for ’09 was extremely low, and that the GLS has been the bulk of sales since it was added for ’10. We have a GLS, albeit with the prehistoric 4spd auto. You can guess why – my wife got tired of waiting for a manual to hit the dealer’s lot.

        Even so I’ve seen guesses that it is no more than 10% of the figure for the Elantra. Pity, that.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @mazder3 — marketing to enthusiasts means nothing if the product doesnt actually appeal to enthusiasts. The Touring isnt a bad car, but its suspension isnt quite there and the engine is low on power and way too thirsty. It simply wasnt appealling enough. If we get the new one in the US, I am betting it sells way better than the current model.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      If Acura offered the TSX wagon with a stick and a sport suspension, I would bet money they would sell more.

      I don’t. Manual transmissions are a tiny part of the US market. Last I heard, even 90% of BMWs in the US are sold with auto boxes. And if there is a brand that should be a magnet for the self-shifting, it’s BMW.

      And I say that as someone who has a stick, deliberately sought out a stick, and had little to no interest in anything that didn’t have a stick. I’m willing to accept that virtually nobody who shops for cars shares my tastes. If companies tried to design cars based strictly around my tastes, we’d see a lot more bankruptcies…

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        What I have to hope for in the long run, as more cars come auto-only, is that one of the auto makers I like (or at least can stand) decides to court the remaining standard drivers. Like VW and diesels. They’ll be nicely positioned when we make our inevitable come-back. :)

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Yes, but that is exactly my point… the same admittedly small segment of the population who prefers manuals also is more likely to prefer a wagon. BMW used to be a magnet for self-shifters, now its just a magnet for brand whore posuers.

        And, I am not saying ONLY make them in sticks, I am just saying OFFER them as a stick. Acura already sells a TSX stick, why in the world would they NOT offer it in thier sole sport wagon offering???

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Acura already sells a TSX stick, why in the world would they NOT offer it in thier sole sport wagon offering?

        My guess is that offering the TSX in wagon form is a bit of an experiment to see whether Acura can use an existing platform to pick up a few scraps now that Saab is near dead and Volvo has changed hands. If the wagon sales aren’t promising, they’ll cut it within a generation or so.

        The added expense of offering a feature that few people want, whatever that feature is, is not particularly appealing to a company that is trying to profit from selling it. If it costs them more than they would make from it, why should they want to bother?

        Most American car buyers want automatics and will simply not buy any car with an manual transmission, even with incentives piled on the hood, because they can’t or don’t want to drive them, period. Inventory that doesn’t sell under any circumstances is something that neither automakers nor dealers want.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @pch, you are missing my point. The experiment is flawed IMO. The type of buyer that MIGHT be swayed into buying a TSX sport wagon would prefer a stick. By purposely assuming that since most car buyers dont want a stick, therefore most sport wagon buyers dont either, I think they are making a mistake.

        What I would like to know is the ratio of stick to auto sales numbers for the small number of sporty wagons that DO offer stick shifts, and then compare that to the ratio for the same vehicles as sedans. My gut says that by percentage, wagon buyers choose a stick more than sedan buyers.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Ex VW GTI owner; current Toyota owner; looking to get something that fits between our MINI and our 4Runner. I would definitely be buying this over the other options we’re considering… assuming it were available with a MT or as a hybrid. So far, the Jetta Sportwagen is the only car that really fits my wants and needs (practical, efficient, comfortable), but I have sworn VWs off after a disastrous experience with an MKV. So, give this the 200hp Camry hybrid drivetrain and I have the perfect family car. It would be faster, cheaper, and far more practical than the CT200h that my wife is crazy about. It would give up some luxury, but that is fine by me.

    • 0 avatar
      hyundaivirgin

      CT200h. Blah. Such tiny rear doors, and a utility-robbing shrunken hatch design with so many unmatched curves and ugly pillars that it gets me upset just to see one. If this weren’t Lexus would anybody buy it?

      P.S. You should look at the Elantra Touring if you want a small MT wagon without VW reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave W

        It’s great you love the touring so much. I loved my ’02 Elantra hatchback, in fact I ran a small landscaping company out of it for 5 years. When we started looking to replace it over a year ago the touring was the first car we looked at. We would have been happy with the base model, except with my sciatica I pretty much need cruise control, Only available as part of the $4000 upgrade to the SE. Yes I could get it as an aftermarket accessory, but with modern engine computers it can be a bit of a crap shoot. The SE did also add the upgraded shifter which solved the rubber band shifter feel of every other Hyundai I’ve driven but still a big upgrade in price for not a lot of value added for me. More problematic is Hyundais consistently offering the performance of a small engine with the mileage of a large one. I can’t speak to VW reliability but both my sister and I have found that Hyundais are the new GM, between us our 3 cars experiencing a constant stream of small issues but refusing to die.

        The real killer was that we asked our dealer (with whom we’ve been pretty happy) to let us know when they found a manual with the tan interior, SE or GLS. We cancelled the request after 8 months. One manual and a several automatics showed up, only one in tan, an automatic (Did I mention how much I hate vapor ware?). By then we decided it made more sense to replace my wife’s car for use as our around town/distance car and go used for my work car.

      • 0 avatar
        hyundaivirgin

        Yes I love my Touring. How did you ever guess?

        Your dealer experience is odd. Mine had many stick shifters including one with tan, but I had to go with the AT at my wife’s request. And cruise control comes in the GLS with the “popular package”. My GLS+AT+PP was $16700 but others have been able to get it for about $15500 in the summer sale season.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave W

        I’m sure part of my dealer experience is being in central VT means the dealer is low on the allocation list. We had the same issues getting our 02 as a manual with ABS. I assume the Burlington dealer could have gotten one, but I want nothing to do with that dealer. If we were willing to put down a deposit I think our dealer could have gotten one, but claiming allocation issues they weren’t willing to give us a timeline or any kind of a deal on an ordered car so screw that. As an active customer I have no reason to believe they were blowing smoke.

        You also answered the other part of your own comment. Yes, you can get the GLS with cruise control with the “popular package”. Of course part of that package is AT. If you want a manual with cruise you have to get the SE. The net result is we got a new Fiesta and a used Focus wagon for only $1000 more then a MT Touring with cruise control.

      • 0 avatar
        moorewr

        Dave W:
        The same is true here in the Tampa Bay area, and not just for Hyundai. No Touring SE sticks even to test drive, no Ford Focus SE Sport, not even Jetta TDI Sportwagens. DSG and torc-converters autos all the way.

        I’m convinced the auto makers think these sales they are turning away never existed in the first place. So it will only get worse..

  • avatar
    enzl

    As an enthusiast and someone who’s actually bought a ‘wagon’ in this general category, twice: 03 Legacy GT Wagon, 10 Impreza OS, I can tell you that the CUV has effectively destroyed this category of vehicle:

    The manufacturers make C-sized fwd architectures into products they can charge you a $5k premium for…why would they produce a companion to a C-line that could accomodate a $1,000 to $1,500 premium on the showroom floor?

    Buyers fell in love with the raised hip point and the perception of safety (and the mostly illusory need for AWD ), so few are truly clamoring for small/medium wagons at the end of the day.

    I personally fought my wife tooth and nail to avoid the unnecessary AWD CUV, but, as should be apparent from the two vehicles listed, I could only push her so far.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Does this have AWD? If it did that would be a major selling point.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      Subaru stopped offering the Legacy AWD wagon stateside, offering only Outbacks. Same with Volvo and the V70/XC70, they’ve just dropped the V50.

      The Avensis would have to add cladding and ground clearance, but Toyota already sells the RAV4 which is also in a more favorable CAFE category.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    I would consider it. Just as well it’s not here as I’m no longer in the market. I looked at the Soul, Elantra Touring, Vibe, Matrix, Jetta wagon, and Mazda 3. The Soul isn’t really a wagon, like lots of cuv’s its inside is smaller then the outside would lead you to believe, and as I need to carry long handled tools I didn’t even need to drive it to take it off the list. The Elantra Touring was too hard to find as a stick, too low of mileage for it’s lack of power, and too expensive to get even mildly well equipped. Vibe and Matrix, Don’t like the looks of the (old or new) Matrix, or the new Vibe, but for my utilitarian needs definitely something to consider. The Jetta too spendy, etc. The Mazda has low clearance and fat tires, both problematic in a winter driver. I also need to haul a half ton of trailer periodically, a no no for a Mazda under warranty.

    I wound up getting a 2005 Focus wagon when the dealer offered us about $1500 more for our rusty, 140k Elantra hatchback then I would dare ask for it. Only had the wagon two weeks so far but had liked the car when it came out and it is less cramped when loaded then the Hyundai was.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    Heck yes!

    First, it seems mr Baruth is as mistaken about the size of the Avensis as most of the commenters are, thinking it is much smaller than it actually is. I don’t get that “this vehicle neatly splits the difference between Mazda3 and Mazda5” bit; it’s just simply a direct competitor to the Mazda 6.

    Anyway, on http://www.toyota.fi/cars/new_cars/avensis/avensis_hinnat.aspx , between the “stripper” 1.6 Valvematic 6 M/T Terra(*) at 24912.83€ (32775$US) and the top-of-the-range 2.2 D-CAT 177 6 M/T Premium at 43952.78€ (57824$US), we find things like the 2.0 Valvematic 6 M/T Sol Edition, 30874.19€ (40618$US), and the 1.8 Valvematic Multidrive S Sol Plus, 34172.86€ (44957.8$US). (*): The trim levels seem to go Terra, Sol Edition, Sol Plus, Premium.

    So for 22000$US (16722.4€)??? HEEELLLL YEAH I would!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • teddyc73: “Not to mention that in a very un-FCA/Stellantis move, most materials feel nice or at least...
  • teddyc73: I can’t believe how many times I have heard this same story. It is always the wives who vehemently...
  • bradfa: When do we get a Hellcat version of the Pacifica? I guess they’d need it to be under the Dodge brand,...
  • mcs: MitchConner: “Get rid of the overhead.” How about getting rid of the financial drain of these...
  • ShoogyBee: Here in Milwaukee, Kias and Hyundais are being stolen left and right. Visit the Milwaukee subreddit and...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber