Toyota People: the 400,000 mile Avensis estate taxi

It’s hard to quantify how much you love someone. ‘I love you loads’ or ‘I love you high as space’ are phrases commonly bandied-about as romantic notions to infer immeasurably high numbers. But these two phrases appear churlish compared to the yardstick for love’s ultimate round-trip destination: ‘I love you to the moon and back‘. 

It’s a fanciful saying, based on an impossibly huge distance. An unimaginable stella number. An illustration of just how much you love someone and how far you’d go for them. A hypothetical distance used to express and reciprocate feelings of trust, dependability and reliability between loved ones.

Toyota People: High Mileage Toyota Avensis

But when Steve Smith says he loves his Toyota Avensis estate ‘to the moon and back’ he really means it. He’s owned two, each racking-up interstellar mileages combining to a total of 661,000 miles and counting. A distance far enough to take him to the moon and back, with enough left over to travel around the world six or seven times.

The 57-year-old Cheltenham-based, taxi driver’s first Avensis estate was barely run-in when, at 259,000 miles, it was written-off after colliding, head-on, with debris thrown into his path from an accident on the opposite carriageway near Birmingham in 2014. “I was listening to Radio 4 with the cruise control set to 70mph when I hit a wheel lying in the middle lane. It hit the sump and the airbag went off. It was dark and I couldn’t see anything. It was difficult to stop and very scary.

Toyota People: High Mileage Toyota Avensis

“The chassis was twisted so it couldn’t be fixed. I was heartbroken, I loved it – to the moon and back. I’d always been impressed with its reliability and luggage space, but now I knew how safe my Avensis Estate was too – I had to find another. 

“I bought my second from Listers Toyota – a 2011, 2.2 diesel with 17,000 miles on the clock. It’s now done 402,000 miles. I do lots of long journeys, mainly to airports and seaports and to-and-from Cheltenham Racecourse – I average about 5,000 miles per month.

Toyota People: High Mileage Toyota Avensis

“It has a huge amount of space in the back – I once had a family with so much luggage they thought I wouldn’t squeeze it all in – they were expecting a van – but I got seven cases in the boot and two more in the back with the customers. I just kept smiling and filling it up,” he explained.

Steve’s car has had all-bar-one of its services carried out by Listers Toyota in Cheltenham who said: “We are simply astounded to see Steve’s Toyota’s staggering reliability record in action”

Toyota People: High Mileage Toyota Avensis

Steve added: “It had its DPF replaced four years ago, and I do have to top-up the water once a month, but otherwise it’s totally reliable.” 

This week he was awarded with three Toyota High Mile Club stickers each marking 150, 200 and 300,000 miles. Toyota does not make 400,000-mile stickers, so Steve will need to add them all together to get close to representing his ‘lunatic’ (see what I did there!?) mileage.

“My current plan is to get it through to March when it might have 420 or 430,000 miles on it. Then I’ll be on the lookout for another” said Steve.


  1. Very impressive. Is the 400k miles still on the same engine? I know being driven in a Mercedes E Class with 250k miles as a taxi had to have the engine changed part way through to get there. Hence my question. If it’s on the same engine, that’s mighty!

  2. This article is wonderful confirmation how underrated and fantastic the Avensis is. In the real world where reliability, frugality and reasonable maintenance costs matter, the Avensis reigns supreme.

  3. Hi Steve(SOS),
    You and your car are an item. Will use you for ever. Keep driving as you are great. See you on the road. Cheers Derek. (nuncs)

    1. Hi John,
      Congratulations on reaching over 300,000 miles in your Celica.
      Do you have any trips planned?

      1. Had mine for 7 years,its a 61 plate.Easily the best and most reliable car i have ever had in 40 years of driving.nearing 200k miles now and apart from an altenator and DPF clean once,and regular consumables,been the perfect vehicle.Everything so well thought out,including a lockable glovebox,and plenty of cubby,and load space.

  4. Well these are impressive numbers! Well done to all taking care of their cars and going to the moon and back 🙂👍 Just short of my first 200k miles., perhaps my car is just about to get properly run-in. 🙂

  5. I’ve had quite a few Toyota’s over the years and I’m waiting for my next one. Ordered since end of September, a Yaris hybrid Excel. I have and will never reach those mileages. I buy Toyota because I like them, they are reliable and my dealership is outstanding.

  6. Makes you wonder why they would drop such a name like Avensis that is associated with reliability from their model like up. A similar mistake was made when Corolla was dropped and since reinstated.

  7. Not quite a Toyota…but used to work at a Lexus dealership and we had 2 LS400s come in for service one week. One had 330k, the other 400k

  8. Hi I just got my Toyota Estima híbrid 260 and feeling like new very nice driving plenty life ahead 👌👏🏼👏🏼

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