Toyota Verso MPV (2009 – ) expert review

By Adrian Higgins and Andy Goodwin, 31st January 2012

The verdict

The Toyota Verso is spacious, reliable and well-equipped. The fact that there’s room for seven in an MPV of this size is an added bonus.

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Expert rating:

3.5

Pros

  • Flexible interior
  • Seating for seven
  • Impressive level of kit

Cons

  • Not quite as fun to drive as the Ford Grand C-MAX
  • Restricted rearmost seats
  • Some hard plastics in the cabin

Full Review

1. Exterior

The Toyota Verso MPV used to be a variant of the world-beating Toyota Corolla brand. Now, with the Toyota Auris having replaced the Corolla, the Verso stands alone as a model in its own right. This means a new, bigger platform, which is longer and wider than the previous model. Toyota says it “expresses both sportiness and stability.” A major facelift for 2013 sharpened the lines of the Verso substantially, adding Toyota’s new family face. It now has aggressive headlights, a lower Toyota badge and a much wider lower grille to visually hunker it down on the road. The new Verso is far better placed to take on the attractive Ford Grand C-MAX.
Our rating: 3

2. Interior

A high-set driving position gives great visibility, and there’s lots of light in the cabin, particularly in models with a panoramic sunroof. The main gauges are in a pod just below the windscreen, making them easy to view at a glance. For 2013, the cabin materials have been enhanced, with a silver surround dominating the central console. Even the cabin illumination and fonts have been “harmonised” to add to its usability and sense of quality.
Our rating: 3

3. Practicality

There are seven seats, although adults will struggle to use the rearmost chairs. There are 32 possible seating combinations, and with all rear seats stowed, the boot measures 1,009 litres loaded to seat height and 1,696 litres up to the roof. That’s roughly on a par with the maximum load capacity of the Grand C-MAX at 1,742 litres. In addition, the double-deck glovebox with a cooled top section is large enough to take a 1.5-litre bottle, and there are large door pockets, fold-down seatback tables with cupholders, a centre console box, a concealed drawer beneath the front passenger seat, second row underfloor storage bins and driver and passenger pockets for mobile phones or music players.
Our rating: 4

4. Ride and handling

The Verso received some significant alterations in 2013, including a bodyshell with more bracing and reinforcements, as well as revised suspension and steering. There’s also extra sound-proofing and work has been done to quieten the diesel engine. The results make the Verso very pleasant to drive, with a good ride quality, light but accurate steering and hardly any intrusive road or engine noise. It’s not quite as much fun as the excellent Grand C-MAX, but it’s not as far away as you might think.
Our rating: 3

5. Performance

There’s a choice of two petrol engines – a 1.6 or a 145bhp 1.8 – and a 122bhp 2-litre diesel. All feature Toyota Optimal Drive, the car maker’s slogan for features designed to make them as economical as possible, including lower friction inside the engines and improved components. So far, we have only driven the latest diesel coupled with a six-speed manual gearbox, but it’s a smooth engine which is well suited to UK driving.
Our rating: 3

6. Running costs

The CO2 emissions of the diesel engine have been reduced from 139 to 129g/km, while economy has been improved to 57mpg. The 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre petrol engines manage 42.8 and 41.5mpg respectively.
Our rating: 3

7. Reliability

Toyota is the fifth-placed manufacturer in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index and it’s easy to believe. Toyota sells the Verso with a warranty which lasts for five years or 100,000 miles.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

The Toyota Verso MPV was awarded a five-star score in Euro NCAP crash testing, with 89 per cent for adult occupant protection. Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, steering assist Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Hill-start Assist Control and third row airbags will all help. The addition of a small, fixed front quarter-light window improves driver visibility.
Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

The Verso is available in Active, Icon and Excel model grades, with a CD/Radio, Aux-in and USB port, electric front windows, front fog lights, Hill-start Assist Control and air-con fitted as standard. Most UK customers are expected to go for the Icon trim, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, Toyota Touch multimedia system, leather steering wheel, rear-view camera, folding door mirrors, cruise control, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Excel ups the alloys to 17-inches and adds part-leather seats, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, Bi-xenon healights, rear door sunshades, auto lights, roof rails and leather trim accents.
Our rating: 4

10. Why buy?

The fact the Toyota Verso can swallow seven occupants requires a double-take. It really doesn’t look that big. The Verso has always been a reliable small MPV, and now it’s better to drive, there’s even more reason to buy one.
Our rating: 4

Expert review 3.5stars

  • Exterior3
  • Interior3
  • Practicality4
  • Ride and handling3
  • Performance3
  • Running costs3
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment4
  • Why buy?4

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
Verso 1.6 Active
The Verso is an impressively affordable seven-seater in this guise.
Best-seller:
Verso 2.0 D4-D Icon
With a smooth diesel engine and plenty of kit this is the most popular choice.
Blow the budget:
Verso 2.0 D4-D Excel
Add a little luxury to the Verso with part-leather trim and keyless entry.

The fact this car can swallow seven occupants requires a double-take.