January 31, 2023 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2023 Toyota Avanza 1.5G

The Optimized Compact MPV that holds its own tarmac

The 3rd generation Toyota Avanza soldiers on principally unchanged for model year 2023. We had two 2nd generation Toyota Avanza units in our C! Fastfleet when it was still categorized as a rear-wheel driven subcompact MPV that actually was able to tightly carry 7 adult passengers. It was a versatile and nippy little MPV that handled quite well in the twisties though its weakest point, the brakes, would quickly get overwhelmed and fade on long journeys. The front brakes were 233 mm non-vented solid discs paired with smallish rear drums, that had ABS and dual SRS airbags but no other safety driver aids as well. With our last Avanza unit pictured here, we made several improvements to enhance its drivability from adding OEM speakers in the A-pillars to complete the 6-speaker array to upgrading the headlights to more powerful H4 bulbs and special bespoke ROTA alloys with appropriately meatier than stock Dunlop tires.

The all-new Toyota Avanza substantially improves on every single area of its stock predecessor. The improvements are so profound that it has been elevated to a larger class segment beginning with the completely new, more rigid, and scalable full unibody front-wheel drive-based Daihatsu New Global Architecture chassis. The full unibody chassis is 95 mm (3.7-inches) longer than the previous semi-unibody construction. With a wheelbase of 2750 mm, the new Avanza, shared with the longer bodied Veloz, has the same chassis length of the current 2nd generation Innova and Fortuner albeit draped with smaller bodies. Compared to its predecessor, the new Avanza has a longer body by 205 mm (8.1-inches) to 4395 mm, is wider by 70 mm (2.8-inches) to 1730 mm, and slightly taller by 5 mm (.20-inches) to 1700 mm with a 10 mm taller ground clearance of 190 mm but travels with less weight by as much as 100 pounds (45 kg.) despite the long list of all-new standard equipment.

The weight savings are important since the new Avanza didn’t get a force-fed or electrified new powerplant. Instead it uses the ubiquitous 1.5-liter 2NR-VE Toyota engine (shared with multiple Toyota models: Yaris, Vios, Rush, and LiteAce) that supposedly was massaged to increase power output by 2 bhp (1.5 kW). Perhaps the increased power was a result of less drivetrain loss from the switch from rear to front drive and from a longitudinal engine configuration to transverse. The more pronounced mechanical drivetrain improvement was dropping the old 4-speed automatic for the optimized dual-mode Continuously Variable Transmission system which transforms the overall drivability, efficiency, and behavior of the more spacious Avanza.

In our testing of this top-spec Toyota Avanza 1.5G variant presented here in the unique Greenish Gun Metal Mica Metallic exterior color, the split gear system is 12% more efficient at 60 km/h and a whopping 19% at 100 km/h at lower engine speeds which results in quieter operation and better fuel economy. When it comes to safety the top-spec model also has 6 SRS airbags, vehicle stability control, hill-start assist control, blind-sport monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, full-LED split-type headlights, full-LED rear combination lights that include LED reverse lights, front halogen fog lamps, and LED side mirror signal lights. The new front brakes use much larger 275 mm vented discs with appropriately larger 228 mm rear drum brakes, so our brake management issues from the last generation have evaporated, in fact the front brakes are larger than the units found in the 1st generation Innova which is much heavier. The rolling stock have also been significantly upgraded in both form and function, the stylish multi-spoke two-tone 16-inch alloys are wrapped with 195/60R16 89H Dunlop Enasave EC350+ tires. The suspension uses conventional MacPherson struts up front with a torsion beam rear setup, together with the new alloys, the Avanza handles much better than before while being more planted.

To match the new attractive exterior, the new two-tone variable seating and interior cabin equipment/layout are leagues better than before with almost as much room as a first-gen Innova but with modern appointments. The smart key, start/stop ignition, speed-sensing door locks, and crisp analog instrumentation with additional 4.2-inch multi-function driver information display are all very welcome additions to what was once a very spartan interior. Amazingly the new 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and rear parking camera with sonar only uses 4-speakers but it sounds like it has 6 (the tweeter speaker grill designs on the A-pillars are sadly purely aesthetic). The new comfortable seats are designed to fold flat and flushed with considerate versatile configurations to maximize space. The rear blower vents on the ceiling are very peculiar looking however and quite noisy too, though they do work well to help cool up to the third row.

For an affordable, safe, efficient, and fairly thorough compact MPV, the new Toyota Avanza 1.5G is a genuine real-world solution for the daily grind and more.  It is clearly the very best of the current model range and the best overall value despite being the priciest in the Avanza family.



Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1496 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Multiport Injection, Dual VVT-i
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 105 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 102 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Transmission CVT


Top Speed 182 km/h (114 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 11.5 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 18.2 Km/L overall as tested


Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,059,000.00
What's Great A huge improvement from before, at its finest iteration, real-world functionality, affordability, versatility, fuel efficient.
What's Not So No wireless smartphone charger. Drum rear brakes, wish it had electrification or a stronger powerplant, needs more sound insulation, no cruise control, and manual rearview mirror.
C! Editors Rating 9/10
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