FIRST LOOKS Toyota Avanza 1.5G
Has it already been two years since the Toyota Avanza arrived and took the market by storm? Seems like time has passed rather fast and in those 24 months, 61,193 units have left the showrooms around the country to provide transport for families small and big. But typical of Toyota (and other Japanese companies too), there is a strong desire to keep improving the product and to meet customers’ requirements in the best possible way. Even as the first Avanzas started appearing on the roads, customers were being asked what they liked and didn’t like about it and more importantly, what else they would like to see.
“Though the performance was acceptable to most people, there was still a feeling that it could be better and the features offered could also be more extensive,” said David Chen, Managing Director of UMW Toyota Motor. “We took all feedback seriously and discussed with the Toyota engineers in Japan how to meet the expectations. I’m pleased to say that they were very receptive to our requests and worked on developing an additional variant with a larger 1.5-litre engine.”
So for the mid-term facelift, the Avanza gets not just cosmetic changes but also an additional engine variant. Mr Chen said the company expects the Avanza 1.5G to account for around 30% of the 2,500 Avanza sales forecast to be sold each month. Assembly will continue to be at the Perodua plant outside Rawang, Selangor.
The 1.5-litre engine is a brand new unit and not from the same family as the 1.3-litre unit. It’s not the same engine as that in the Vios either, a notable difference being that the Avanza’s engine - coded 3SZ-VE - has a cast iron block whereas the Vios engine has an aluminium block. The 3SZ-VE engine, which also has two camshafts, four valves per cylinder and of course, VVT-i (Toyota’s variable-valve timing mechanism), is also used in the latest Toyota models like the second generation bB, Rush compact SUV and even the Scion xB which is sold only in the USA. It can be configured for transverse or longitudinal installation in the engine bay, depending on whether there is FWD or RWD. In the case of the Avanza 1.5G which has RWD, the engine is mounted longitudinally