On the road: Toyota Verso Excel | Technology | The Guardian

16 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on On the road: Toyota Verso Excel | Technology | The Guardian

On the road: Toyota Verso Excel

Toyota Verso Excel: It’s practical rather than a car that’s going to steal your heart. Photographs: Simon Stuart-Miller for the Guardian

Nigel Tufnel, the Christoper Guest character in This Is Spinal Tap. would approve of the music system in this. The volume goes up to 63. That’s 52 louder even than 11. Actually – and Nigel might not fully understand this – it isn’t.

This 63 isn’t that loud at all. Not loud enough, I’d say, for a morning blast to blow away the cobwebs. A bit tinny, too.

Certainly this man at the lights in a BMW that’s throbbing with window-rattling bass is making me feel inadequate. If he’s got a super woofer in the bag, I’ve got a bichon frisé.

To be honest, the Toyota Verso isn’t – and isn’t meant to be – a very rock’n’roll vehicle.

It’s a family MPV, small enough to be parkable by all but total non-parkers, and manageable around town. But it’s big enough – just – for three rows of seats. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to go right back there myself; I wouldn’t even want to put any offspring back there if they were bigger than, say, a cocker spaniel.

Perhaps I’ll use the third row for the pair of bichons frisés I’ve suddenly decided I’m going to get.

And when you fold the third row flat – whoops, crêpes de bichon frisé, anyone? – there’s a decent amount of luggage space. Or room for a pair of dobermans, perhaps, to replace the flattened BFs. Where did all these bloody dogs come from? Oh, yeah, the super woofer…

The Verso is practical rather than a car that’s going to steal your heart. This is what’s known as midlife refreshing (God, I could do with one of them), rather than a totally new model. On the outside it looks a little sleeker, less boxy than before, and the nose has been reworked (maybe I’ll get one of them for me, too).

The two-litre diesel engine in this one has also been reworked. And it’s actually very impressive, not super-powerful but gutsy enough, with plenty of low-end torque. (Ha, I’ve always wanted to write plenty of low-end torque in a car review, and now that I have, this is a career highlight.) To drive, it’s comfy rather than sporty, not too bone-breaking over bumps, and quiet and relaxed on the motorway.

This posher Excel model is nice inside, with a few extra toys and a lovely panoramic glass roof that you can open in stages: no sky, some sky, loads of sky. All of which I would happily exchange for a few more decibels on the sound system. I’d like to go up to 100, so I could say, This goes to 100, in the style of Nigel Tufnel.

As well as having some serious presence and status at the traffic lights.


Toyota Verso Excel 2.0 D4D 7-seat

Price £24,590

Top speed 115mph

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