Review Toyota Verso 1.8 V-Matic New car

18 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Toyota Verso 1.8 V-Matic New car

Review of the new Toyota Verso 1.8 V-Matic



(6.9 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 07 сен 2009

The Verso from Toyota gets on with the job of being practical in its own refreshingly unfussy way. Jonathan Crouch reports on the 1.8 V-Matic petrol models.


The Verso has long been one of the strongest products Toyota makes and there’s no reason why the latest model shouldn’t continue in that vein. There’s nothing revolutionary here, just useful improvements to the established winning formula. More advanced engines, increased luggage space, more safety kit, Toyota appears to have a good handle on what compact MPV buyers want.

While rival compact MPV makers have used all kinds of tricks to get us into their products over the years, Toyota’s Verso has always approached its market with a much straighter bat. This isn’t a car that you’ll bring the neighbours out to admire but it is one with a truly exceptional level of all-round competence.

The first generation version based on the old Corolla family hatchback was quiet sales success for the brand, offering seven-seat capability, a quality feel, powerful yet frugal engines and affordable pricing. This Auris-based second generation version deviates little from that approach but, as you’d expect, brings it bang up to date.

Toyota is blowing the Optimal Drive trumpet again with this Verso. Optimal Drive is a tag that the marque has concocted and then attached to its engines to underline the fact that they have been enhanced for optimal efficiency. That doesn’t just mean better economy either because the Verso’s powerplants are also packing a bigger punch than ones fitted to the old model could muster.

The petrol engines use Valvematic technology which gives yet more scope for the combustion process to be micro-managed by computer for the best results. The 1.6-litre engine has a sizable 131bhp and torque of 160Nm while the 1.8-litre unit we’re looking at here delivers 145bhp and 180Nm.

On the road, the Verso handles quite sweetly. The high-sided body is well controlled in corners and the steering is quite direct. The suspension is firmer than the average in this sector but many rivals are set-up to obliterate imperfections in the road surface at the expense of composed handling, so whether you prefer the ride in the Verso to that of a rival product will be largely a matter of taste.

The electric power steering system is a clever variable assistance affair but Toyota has developed a function that detects steering inputs that are too forceful and acts to smooth them out by reducing the amount of power assistance.

This is a prime example of the brand doing what it does so well

This car is immediately recognisable as a Toyota Verso by anyone who has seen one of the car’s previous iterations. It’s always been one of the brand’s more attractive efforts, which isn’t saying too much, and that continues with some sharper angles around the front end and a distinctive crease running from the roof at the rear down the back door and above the sills to the front bumper.

The rear light clusters are particularly attractive with their circles of LED brake lights with indicators in the centre. The Verso is bigger than ever in this latest form having gained 70mm in length and 20mm in width over its predecessor. The height remains unchanged for a lower and more planted overall look.

The interior is where it all happens in a car like this and Toyota has made a number of improvements to its simple and effective Easy Flat-7 seating system to ensure that family life runs smoothly. The seats do pretty much what it says on the tin in that there are seven of them and they’re easy to fold flat. Each of the five rear seats can be folded individually to create a level load floor, opening up no fewer than 32 seating permutations for the vehicle.

On the latest model, the outer seats in the middle row automatically return to their previous position after being folded to allow passenger access to the rear, while those rear seats can also be reclined a little. The old Verso had a paltry 63-litres of boot space with all the seats occupied but this model ups that to 178-litres and with all the seats down, there’s a 1,830mm maximum load length to be exploited.

Toyota has piled on the safety equipment with the latest Verso and the most notable inclusion is VSC+ stability control as standard. This can correct skids by distributing power and applying the brakes to individual wheels and is a real bonus on this family vehicle. Elsewhere there’s HAC Hill-start Assist Control, seven airbags and active front headrests.

All Verso models also receive underfloor storage, a boot organiser and a second rear view mirror that can be trained on unruly kids. Optional features include Bluetooth compatibility, climate control, cruise control, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors and satellite navigation with a 10Gb hard disc drive.

Size and weight are two things the Verso has plenty of but its advanced engines still manage to yield strong economy and emissions figures. Both petrol engines return around 40mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions in the low 160s. That compares to the alternative 2.0-litre diesel engine that emits just 140g/km of CO2 making it one of the cleanest units of its kind while the 2.2-litre diesel chips in with 41.5mpg and 178g/km.

Never a car to overly impress the casual onlooker, Toyota’s Verso is most appealing to the real experts of the compact MPV market, buyers with families who put these vehicles through their paces day in and day out. Well built, user-friendly, reliable and economical, the latest model looks to have the most important qualities nailed down.

This is a prime example of the brand doing what it does so well. Other compact MPVs might leap off the showroom floor at you with their gimmicks and showboating technology but how many are as good as the Verso at getting a family efficiently from A to B? Exactly.


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