All the style, comfort and quality of a great compact MPV; all the convenience and robustness of a top-notch commercial vehicle – that’s the new Toyota Avanza Panel Van, the perfect vehicle for small to mid-sized businesses which augments the people carrier models that were launched recently.

The panel van is a beneficiary of the same design and engineering makeover that was given to the rest of the Avanza range: all new exterior and interior styling, an enlarged cabin (which translates into a far roomier load compartment), comfort and safety enhancements, engine refinements and significant suspension modifications ring the changes.

According to Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing: “Both inside and out, the Avanza Panel Van is proof that just because a vehicle works for a living, doesn’t mean it has to look utilitarian. That said, it’s certainly a case of form following function – the Avanza Panel Van is that fit for purpose.”

The enlarged loading bay is a paragon of practicality:

  • it features a low lip with a large aperture for ease of loading;
  • it’s flat with minimal intrusion and clad in hard-wearing vinyl;
  • it has a loading capacity of 500 kg which makes it ideal for small- to mid-sized businesses;
  • it comes with a cargo barrier net to secure the load;
  • it has rear doors for easy access to goods but the windows (electrically operated) have been blacked out to prevent theft.

It’s worth noting, however, that the Avanza Panel Van isn’t just about life’s practicalities, it also surrounds the driver with an indulgent list of high-tech and convenience features including:

  • Electric Power Steering (EPS)
  • Dual front airbags
  • Alarm/immobiliser
  • ABS
  • Remote central locking
  • Electrically adjustable windows (front and rear)

Underpinning the all-new Avanza is a completely re-worked suspension system comprising a McPherson strut suspension up front and a 5-link (4-link with lateral control rod) coil spring suspension at the rear, while the properties of the shock absorbers and springs have been optimised for comfort without sacrificing any loading ability.

Toyota Avanza 2012

Some commercial vehicle USPs unique to the Avanza Panel Van:

  • Compared to the 5m or larger turning radius of the competition’s FF (Front-engine, Front-drive) lay-out, the Avanza’s FR (Front-engined, Rear-drive) lay-out confers a large steering angle which offers excellent manoeuverability on narrow streets.
  • Making use of the strengths of the FR layout, the class-leading minimum ground clearance of 200 mm has been carried over.
  • Superior traction supplied to the drive wheels as a result of the FR layout ensures drivability when starting on a steep hill with a full load.

Powering the new Avanza Panel Van is an enhanced version of the familiar and durable 1.3-litre K3-VE engine with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing). By realising a weight reduction of approximately 20 kg, the new model has been able to improve on acceleration, braking performance and fuel economy.

Some vital stats include an average consumption figure of just 7,7 L/100km in the combined cycle, and a time of 11,9 seconds for the obligatory 0-100km/h dash. A five-speed manual transmission is standard fare on the Avanza Panel Van.

1.3 Technical Specifications

  • No. of cyls. & arrangement – 4 cylinders, In-line type
  • Valve mechanism – 16-Valve DOHC, chain drive with VVT-i
  • Bore X Stroke mm – 72.0 x 79.7
  • Displacement cm3 – 1298
  • Compression ratio – 10.0:1
  • Fuel system – EFI
  • Max. output (kW / rpm) – 67 / 6000
  • Max. torque (Nm / rpm) – 117 / 4400
  • Load capacity (kg) – 500
  • Towing capacity (kg) – 750

Pricing and servicing

Avanza 1.3 S Panel Van – R161 400 (includes VAT and emissions tax)

In line with its sister models, the Avanza Panel Van comes with a four-year/60 000 km ToyotaCare Service Plan included in the purchase price (service intervals are every 15 000 km), along with Toyota’s comprehensive three-year/100 000 km warranty.

It is supported by the ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme and entitles customers to 24 hour roadside assistance, ensuring ultimate peace-of-mind motoring.