The third-generation Avensis sedan has been released at the Paris Motor Show, along with the Urban Cruiser compact SUV. The Avensis will continue to be built at Toyota’s Burnaston plant in the UK, and is set to go on sale in January next year.

Like the Urban Cruiser, the Avensis will focus on delivering a big-vehicle experience in a small-vehicle package, with low emissions and high fuel efficiency. The company's new Valvematic petrol engine technology gives a claimed 10 to 26% reduction in CO2 emissions, while the upgraded D-4D diesel engines improve CO2 emissions by up to 10%.

A wide range of engines will be available in the new Avensis, including two petrol engines and three diesels. The two petrols, displacing 1.8L and 2.0L, will output 145hp (108kW) and 150hp (111kW), respectively, with the primary advantage of the 2.0L over the 1.8L coming in the form of torque, generating 144lb-ft (196Nm) to the smaller engine's 132lb-ft (180Nm). The three D-4D diesels will produce 124hp (92kW), 148hp (110kW), and 175hp (130kW) from their 2.0L and 2.2L displacements. Acceleration figures are only revealed for the top-end diesel engine, and at 8.5 seconds to 62mph (100km/h) it's easy to see why Toyota isn't bragging about the other engines, though they are admittedly economy-focused.

Two new transmission options are also available: a Multidrive S transmission option for petrol engines and new six-speed automatic for the diesels. The Multidrive S is a CVT, but has the capability to function as a seven-stage automatic transmission, and has been specifically designed to combat the whine common to most CVTs.

It's worth noting that the European Avensis is not related to the Avensis Verso MPV, which is based on a separate platform and built in Japan.