£18,925 - £27,750 Price range
5 - 7 Seats
41 - 62 MPG
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 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.
Being an MPV, the Verso is certainly quite a commodious car, even though it’s one of the smallest seven-seaters on sale. The cabin is well built, but some critics did express disappointment with some of the cheap materials and bland design. The centrally placed dials are easy to use and clear, and the fact that they are recessed into the dash means that they avoid any unwanted glare in strong sunshine.
The Touch 2 infotainment screen, which comes as standard on all models apart from entry-level Active, is easy to use, with a clear and bright screen. The only issue critics had with it was that it could dazzle occupants in low sunlight.
Toyota Verso passenger space
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 say you can re-arrange the seats in 32 different combinations. The two rearmost seats are not standard on the entry-level model.
Toyota Verso boot space
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).
Critics have noted that the centrally placed dials are easy to use and clear, and the fact that they are recessed into the dash means that they avoid any unwanted glare from any side-lighting.
The Touch 2 infotainment screen, which comes as standard on all models apart from the entry-level ‘Active’ model, has been praised as being easy to use, with a clear and bright screen. The only issue critics had with it was the fact that it would often catch the low sun and dazzle occupants.
Despite being a relatively large car, testers did have praise towards the Verso’s ease of use, with all the controls being suitably weighted. Visibility is also excellent. But, if you want a fun-to-drive MPV, the Ford C-Max is much better bet.
Ride and body control also impressed the critics, although some have pointed out that the Verso can feel a bit fidgety over patchy surfaces, noting that the noise from the suspension could be quite intrusive. The Citroen C4 Picasso is more comfortable in this respect.
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.
Toyota Verso diesel engine
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. Critics have noted that the diesel, whilst it is the most efficient engine available on the Verso, 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. Road tax is a reasonable £30 a year, but the Vauxhall Zafira 1.6-diesel gets free road tax.
Toyota Verso petrol engine
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 and won’t be very cheap to run with an annual road tax of £180.
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. Most testers recommended the manual models for its increased performance and fuel economy.
Despite being bestowed with the largest petrol engine in the range, the 1.8 Verso is still a respectable buy, especially if you want your mini-MPV to be peppy and ‘enthusiastic’. Toyota see it being the more popular petrol model, and critics were pleased with the smooth and efficient nature of the engine.
As expected from a relatively heavy car with a notable torque deficit when compared to some rivals, performance isn’t something to brag about. However, there’s enough mid-range grunt to make it usable in day-to-day circumstances, and CO2 and mpg figures are amongst the best in the class.
The only real fault that is specific to the 1.8 Verso is the CVT gearbox, which comes with the usual woes that such a transmission is associated with. However, if you prefer automatics to manuals and want your MPV to be petrol powered and dependable, the V-matic Verso is certainly capable enough for life as a practical people carrier.
When it comes to choosing the pick of the Verso range, a vast proportion of reviewers see the 2.0 diesel as the best version of Toyota’s MPV. Its efficiency, refinement and ease of use are notable plus points that help make the Verso an easy car to recommend if you want a no-frills people carrier.
Though not exactly the most stylish and entertaining MPV on the market, the diesel Verso is still a very good car. The engine is smooth and torquey, and it’s possible to extract 51 mpg from it. Even though it’s not exactly a brisk machine, the Verso has enough low down grunt to allow adequate performance for a car of this type.
If you’re in the market for the best ‘head over heart’ people carrier, the Verso is definitely one for you to try out. There are rivals that offer better body control and a more engaging drive, but there’s no denying the appeal of the Verso’s fit for purpose approach, especially with the 2.0 diesel.
As is the trend with most modern cars, the Verso is full to the brim with features to help keep both driver and passengers safe from harm. It comes equipped with seven airbags as standard, electronic stability control to cope with any unexpected sideways movement, and traction control to help rein-in wheelspin.
Also present is a seatbelt warning system, which emits a noise if it detects and occupant not wearing their seatbelt.
Intelligent construction of the body also help take care of the Verso’s passive safety, with strength built into the passenger cell that doesn’t compromise the impact absorbing crumple-zones in the front and rear.
The Verso also scored the coveted five-star rating when put through the Euro NCAP tests.
There are five trim levels to choose from – Active, Icon, Trend, Excel and Trend Plus.
Toyota Verso Active
Base model cars aren’t the most pleasing to look at with their steel wheels, but they get some convenient features that ease family life such as air-conditioning, heated mirrors, Isofix child seat fixings, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and seven airbags.
Toyota Verso Icon
The Icon trim gets just about anything you’d need in a family car – a rear-view camera to ease parking, climate control, fold-down tables for the middle row, DAB digital radio and a central touchscreen infotainment that commands it all.
ToyoTa Verso Trend
The Trend trim level adds a bit of style to the exterior with 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome plated grille and privacy glass. Inside you get a leather wrapped gear knob and satellite-navigation.
Toyota Verso Trend Plus
Trend Plus focuses on the rear seat occupants. They get monitors integrated into the front headrests and a DVD player as well as optional iPad holders.
Toyota Verso Excel
The top-of-the-range Verso comes with unique 17-inch alloys, LED lights, automatic wipers, roof rails and a leather armrest among other less significant things.
At most trim levels, the Verso does undercut some of the opposition by slight margins, though more expensive ‘Trend’ and ‘Excel’ versions do compete with notable rivals such as the Ford S-Max, which offers better styling inside and out and superior dynamics for a not too off-putting premium. However, unlike the Ford, the Verso comes with a five year warranty as standard.
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.