Toyota Verso review
The Toyota Verso is a mid-size seven-seater MPV that’s dependable and easy to use. It’s in a tough class that includes the Ford C-Max, VW Touran and Citroen C4 Picasso.
What's not so good
Toyota Verso: what would you like to read next?
The interior is airy and spacious with plenty of room for five adults. The two spare seats in the boot are only really suitable for children and eat up luggage space when upright. The same is true for most of the Toyota Verso’s rivals, though.
The Verso isn’t bad to drive. It’s not engaging, fun, agile or entertaining, but it does everything you ask it to without fuss. Lots of sound deadening means it’s very quiet on the motorway.
Engine choice is simple – go diesel. There is only one 1.6-litre version, but it beats the petrols in all disciplines except acceleration, but that is not likely to be high on the list of priorities for most MPV buyers. However, even the diesel is no match to the cleaner and more fuel efficient engines found in rivals.
All trim levels are well equipped and entry-level cars have air-conditioning, front fog lamps, electric mirrors that are also heated, electric front windows, a CD player with MP3 and a multifunction steering wheel as standard.
The Verso's a decent all rounder with good practicality – rivals are better to drive, though
From a purely objective perspective, the Verso does have plenty to brag about. It’s well priced, there shouldn’t be any reliability issues and the Toyota’s staid and sensible nature may be appealing to some. However, the sedate Verso appears very dull and bland when it’s compared with other rivals, most notably the Ford S-Max. There is no denying that the Verso is a capable and competent car in the class, and it’s certainly an improvement over the Corolla Verso. However, if you want a practical yet stylish MPV that’s good to drive, there are more “desirable” choices out there.
The Toyota Verso is like many seven-seaters of this size: it’s good for five adults, but the rearmost seats are really only suitable for children, and the boot is tiny with all seven seats upright
Apparently, there are 32 different ways to arrange the seats in the Verso, but I'm struggling work out more than a dozen
Space is good in the front and in the middle row, but the third row is only suitable for children. Typically for an MPV there are numerous cubbyholes and storage areas, but the two most important places people use for storage – the door bins and glovebox are smaller than what VW and Citroen offer.
The Verso is very versatile and Toyota says you can re-arrange the seats into 32 different combinations. The two rearmost seats are not standard on the entry-level model.
There are the usual storage points in the Verso’s cabin including a reasonable glove box and door bins large enough for a 1.5-litre bottle of water.
Compared to rivals such as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, however, the Verso misses out on some of the more imaginative storage spaces – especially on top of the dashboard and beneath the gearstick.
The back seats can be stowed away to improve the available boot space and form a flat loading surface. The middle row can also move forward and backwards for more luggage space or extra leg room. Although even in their most forward position you get 440 litres of boot space – much less than the Citroen C4 Picasso’s 630 litres. Fold the middle row and you get 1,696 litres which is a decent amount, but still behind rivals such as the Ford C-Max (1,732 litres) and Renault Grand Scenic (2,063 litres).
Despite being a relatively large car, the Verso is easy to drive, with all the controls being suitably weighted while visibility is excellent.
It's not exactly exciting, but it handles well enough
There are three engines available – two petrols and one diesel. All three engines have been praised for their efficiency, with Toyota claiming that the 1.6-litre diesel is capable of achieving an impressive fuel economy of 62mpg.
The 1.6-litre diesel unit was acquired from BMW, and was previously found in models such as the Mini Cooper D, and BMW 316d. Whilst it is the most efficient engine available on the Verso, it can be quite gruff on start up, and a fair amount of vibration can be felt through the steering column, pedals and floorpan – even under gentle acceleration. The new 1.6-litre is an improvement over the 2.0-litre it replaces, but it’s still far off the 1.6-litre diesels in rivals in terms of running costs and performance.
The two petrol engines come in 1.6 and 1.8-litre iterations, with the 1.8-litre version being offered on all models, aside from the entry-level ‘Active’ specification. The 1.8-litre petrol is a suitable choice if you must have a petrol engine in a people carrier. However the high running costs make them hard to recommend. The smaller 1.6-litre is inevitably the cheaper to run but it still has poor fuel economy at 42mpg.
The Verso is available with either a six-speed manual, or a CVT-automatic gearbox, although the base-model Verso specification is only available with the manual. The manual models are recommended for their increased performance and fuel economy.
If you want a fun-to-drive MPV, the Ford C-Max is a better bet. If you just want a comfortable, easy to drive family mover, however, the Verso makes much more sense.
Ride and body control are perfectly acceptable, although the Verso can feel a bit fidgety over patchy surfaces and the noise from the suspension could be quite intrusive. The Citroen C4 Picasso is more comfortable in this respect.
The cabin is well built, but some materials are lower-rent than in rivals and the design isn’t that modern.