Toyota Verso 2.0D-4D TR | Road Test Review |

4 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Toyota Verso 2.0D-4D TR | Road Test Review |

Toyota Verso

2.0D-4D TR

#147;Toyota #146; s new Verso MPV starts out

with a #145;no compromise #146; approach

to family life and ends up being very

#145; fit for purpose #146;. Better still, it #146; s even

more economical than its official

fuel consumption figures suggest.

All good news at a time when every

penny counts . #148;

DEPENDING ON WHICH MANUFACTURER YOU LISTEN TO, sales of family-sized MPVs are either holding their own in these difficult market condition or people are moving away from them into superminis or, if load space is a priority, into estates. Whatever the buzz, one thing is certain: that for most people down-sizing and down-pricing are the core driving issues in today ‘ s motoring world.

Which brings us to the new Toyota Verso MPV, which utilises the latest Toyota Optimal Drive technology to reduce fuel consumption, increase power and still produce less CO2. Priced from Ј16,745, a seven-seat, five-door MPV with improvements in driving dynamics, quality, specification and safety looks to be a smart purchase #151; if an MPV is what you need.

Families through to ’empty-nesters’ to mini-cab drivers all use MPVs because of their load and passenger carrying versatility, so there will always be a market for such vehicles #151; even in a global meltdown our real-world needs do not change that much. Okay, it might mean that today we do not buy a new vehicle as often, but an MPV remains an important model. If it’s more rewarding to drive then that is an advantage, because for many just mentioning an MPV can be boring.

Toyota does not sell huge numbers of Verso models and they see around 4,500 of the new model being delivered to UK customers this year; the majority diesel. The mid-range TR specification has most appeal when it comes to cost. In other words, the Ј18,945 Verso 2.0D-4D 6-speed manual TR is the optimum and likely most popular model.

Prices go up to Ј20,670 for the top specification version with the same engine, and prices are yet to be announced for the 2.2-litre diesel model which comes later in the year but only with automatic transmission.

Toyota designers might have visited, amongst other places, IKEA car parks, where they interviewed shoppers to get their ideas on what a mid-sized family MPV must offer, but in truth the new Verso is not much different to any other well-made people-carrier. The vehicle accommodates up to seven people in three rows of seats. When required, the seats easily fold flat to form a level load floor of up to 1,696 litres, and the doors all open wide for easy access.

Nothing groundbreaking here, then.

However, reliability and build quality will, because it is a Toyota, be first class although I found the interior trim plastics to be on the fragile or cheap side and they scuff-marked quite easily, so durability for real-life family use might be an issue. Other niggles include the seat squabs for the front two seats #151; they are on the small side for long-legged users; and the front A-pillars are wide so front-quarter visibility is not perfect.

I had the opportunity to drive both engine options available at public launch #151; more will follow. First up was the 1.8-litre Valvematic petrol engine: this is new and uses lift and duration control with the variable timing of the inlet valves to deliver more power for less fuel and less CO2 emissions. Power over the old 1.8-VVT-I unit is up by 18bhp to 145bhp; torque increases by 7lb ft to 133lb ft at 4,600rpm; CO2 emissions are down 19g/km to 165g/km; and the official combined cycle fuel consumption improves from 36.7 to 40.4mpg.

My Ј17,745 1.8 TR test car was right on the button at 40mpg, so I am impressed. The engine is lively, revs freely, is pretty responsive and for most retail, low to medium mileage users will be the best choice. Even the Ј150 road tax bill is not too bad.

On the other hand, the majority of Verso users will clock-up higher mileages, so the 2.0-litre D-4D turbodiesel engine with 124bhp and 228lb ft of torque from 1,800rpm will fit their bill: CO2 emissions are 143g/km and road tax is Ј125 a year. Fuel economy, officially, should be 51.4mpg on average. My test car did better, returning 53.3mpg over steep, winding Portuguese roads.

On this showing, Toyota’s Optimal Drive technology really does work.

I also had the chance for a brief drive of the 2.2-litre, 148bhp/251lb ft diesel which will be coming to the UK later in the year fitted with the new six-speed automatic gearbox. Yes it is good and gutsy, but the real-life 30.4mpg fuel economy instead of the official 41.5mpg figure and the Ј170 road tax cost do need consideration. For those people who want diesels with automatic gearboxes this Verso fits the bill.

No retail prices have yet been announced, but expect Ј20,000+.

All in all, the new Toyota Verso is a sound and safe buy. Well equipped from the bottom model up with most of the usual items such as electric windows and door mirrors plus air conditioning and Vehicle Stability Assist and traction control. Against that is a small boot with the rear row of seats in use (178 litres), some cheap interior plastics and small seat squabs for the front seats.

Good points include a wider range of models, improved fuel economy, lower CO2 emissions, 2.0-litre diesel engine option, clever and easy to use fold-a-way seating and comprehensive safety equipment. The part-SUV styling and versatile seating will also appeal, as too will the very good fuel economy potential. The Verso may not be the sexiest set of wheels you can buy but it is undeniably fit-for-purpose. #151; David Miles

Toyota Verso 2.0D-4D TR | Ј18 , 945

Maximum speed: 115mph | 0-62mph: 11.3 seconds | Overall test MPG: 53.5mpg

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