Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test Rating: 77%

Car-based ‘midi-MPVs’ are all the rage at the moment. Ford’s C-Max, Volkswagen’s Golf Plus and Renault’s Scenic all sell by the bucketload, thanks to a huge practicality in a small package.

So for the Corolla Verso to succeed, it needs to be great on the road and tremendous value.

So does it make the grade? We drove one for a week to find out.

1. Looks 7/10

Many mid-sized MPVs are driven by families – who want to get to their destination without fuss. This is reflected in the Verso’s styling. It lacks character, but is far from ugly. It’s the bigger brother of the world’s biggest selling hatchback, the Corolla, so shares many of its design features, particularly at the front. The back is dominated by its tailgate, and framed by a pair of snazzy clear lights which sweep around onto the car’s flanks.

2. Looks inside 8/10

The interior is spacious, and the seating and driving positions don’t require much fiddling with to get comfortable. The dashboard instruments are well laid out, and very clearly labelled. The centre console displays are reminiscent of a home stereo system, with lots of silver buttons mounted on green-ish translucent plastic. The dash-mounted gearstick frees up space between the front seats. The Verso could take a leaf out of the books of other executive saloons and include a bigger screen, even if it was just to control the music system and air-con.

3. Practicality 8/10

On first glace, the Verso is superbly practical. Its Easy Flat 7 system means the seats fold flat into the floor, and the middle row slide back and forth. However, with the seats up, climbing into the third row of seats is very tricky and once inside, legroom is minimal, although this is a common complaint of cars in this class. There’s lots of space around the cabin though, including a double-decker glovebox. Space around the cabin in impressive, too.

4. Ride and Handling 7/10

The Verso’s handling is impressive for a compact MPV. It responds quickly, and the ride feels solid and secure; much like the Corolla hatchback on which many of the chassis components are based. The ride is good too, meaning all your occupants can arrive at their destination refreshed.

5. Performance 7/10

The 2.2-litre D-4D engine is a powerful one, but it won’t break your neck, offering just 134bhp. With a six-speed gearbox, the car has a top speed of 122mph and can complete the benchmark 0-62mph dash in 9.1 seconds. The car’s six-speed manual gearbox means it feels relaxed and quiet at speed.

6. Running Costs 8/10

Toyota say the Corolla Verso will manage more than 40mpg on average, and our time with the car backs this up. You’ll only need to see the inside of a garage for a major service every 20,000 miles, although a quick check is required every 10,000. Insurance group 9E is about on par with other models in this class, while emissions of 167g/km place it in tax Band E; which currently costs £165 per year.

7. Reliability 9/10

Reliability is one of Toyota’s strong points. The fixtures and fittings are solid, and should withstand a fair amount of handling from the average family.

8. Safety 8/10

A full five stars in EuroNCAP front impact tests is as good as it gets. There’s nine airbags as standard on all Corolla Versos; while all models come with ABS. The higher spec models, including the T-Spirit we tested have skid reducing stability control

9. Equipment 7/10

The CD player (with steering wheel-mounted controls) and air-con are standard. The T Spirit model comes with a DVD player which pipes entertainment through to two screens on the back of the driver and passenger headrests.

10. X-Factor 8/10

If there is a wow-factor with the Verso 2.2 D-4D, it’s the combination of economy, reliability and the ingenious Easy Flat-7 seating system. It does exactly what a compact MPV should do, and does it well.

Key facts

Model Tested: Toyota Corolla Verso 2.2 D-4D T Spirit
On the road price: £19,192
Price range: £14,095 – £20,995
Date tested: September 2006
Road Tester: Stuart Milne & Alex Eckford