Toyota Verso | CARkeys

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Toyota Verso | CARkeys

Toyota Verso

review

by Tom Stewart (28 January 2013)

Though probably of more importance to its maker than the consumer . on the recent press launch Toyota executives were keen to stress that the new 2013 Verso is the company’s first full-scale project to incorporate European-based product planning, design, RD and purchasing, from the concept planning stage onwards.

The car is assembled exclusively at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant at Arifye in Turkey, which technically is in Asia, but whichever way you look at it, Japan isn’t in the equation.

So, the new Verso is very much Toyota Motor Europe’s baby, even more so than the new Auris on which it is heavily based. (You may recall that the Verso name was first used on the MPV derivations of bygone Yaris, Corolla and Avensis models, and this new Verso is essentially an MPV version of the Auris, although don’t assume that all Versos are seven-seaters because one variant isn’t. More later.)

Unsurprisingly the Verso, in this case powered by the revised 122bhp two-litre D-4D diesel engine with six-speed manual transmission, offers a very similar driving experience to the Auris in that it is quiet and refined, it has nicely weighted and decently precise power steering, an easy gearchange, a comfy and compliant ride (on either 16 or 17 wheels), more than ample grip and suitably capable brakes.

In short, it’s an absolute doddle to drive, which for most of us most of the time is precisely what we want.

For reasons best known to Toyota, the Valvematic petrol versions with either the six-speed manual or Multidrive S CVT automatic weren’t present on the launch, but the D-4D motor feels eager and responsive, and it packs more than sufficient punch to whistle two grown men with overnight luggage along at a decent lick, whether that be on the autoroute or a particularly sinuous mountain road.

The revisions to the D-4D engine include a new turbocharger which helps provide improved torque (228lb/ft) over a wider rev range (1600-2400rpm). For the record the D-4D’s figures are 0-62mph in 11.3 secs and a 115mph max, but there’s a list of other engine improvements too with the net result being a torquier and quieter engine that’s also greener – CO2 is down from 139 to 129g/km, which drops the diesel Verso down a VED band to D, while the official combined fuel consumption figure has correspondingly also improved, up from 53.3 to 57.6mpg.

As mentioned, there are other Verso engines in the line-up: either a 130bhp 1.6-litre Valvematic petrol or a 145bhp 1.8-litre version of same (the latter with either the Multidrive CVT auto or six-speed manual), but those seeking Toyota hybrid drive will have to look to another model; either the Prius+ if seven seats are required, or the new Auris HSD or Prius if five seats will suffice.

Speaking of seating, the Verso isn’t a large car, so while there’s ample room and comfort in the front, adults might find things a bit cramped after a long journey in the second row, especially if there are three of them, while in common with other similarly-sized MPVs, the two-seat third row is really for kids only. Folding the seats flat or vice versa is simple, but with the third row seats upright there’s precious little luggage space.

The Verso comes in three spec tiers starting with Active with either five or seven seats, then Icon and the top-spec Excel, the latter two both being seven-seaters.

Prices range from £17,495 for the Active 1.6 petrol five-seater to £23,445 for the Excel with either the 1.8 petrol with CVT transmission or the 2.0 D-4D manual. Toyota GB predicts that the Icon version will be the best-seller in the UK, and having downgraded from an Excel to an Icon on the press launch I didn’t feel remotely hard done by as Icons come as standard with a six-speaker touchscreen multimedia system plus DAB radio and Bluetooth, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and more.

To that the Excel adds little that you couldn’t live without, except possibly its roof rails – handy if you want to fit a roof box – but maybe not worth an additional £2000.

The Verso’s options list includes the £650 Touch Go system which adds satnav and Google Local Search, while a £550 panoramic roof is available for Icon and Excel models, although this can’t be specified with roof rails. Perhaps more tempting is a £700 Icon grade pack with bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime lights and roof rails.

Apparently the new Verso features no less that 470 parts that have been changed from the outgoing model, with 60% of them visible. I’m not sure how many of these new parts account for the new model’s completely revised and much improved body styling, but however many it was worth it as the old Verso was never much of a looker, and, parked alongside the much more keenly-styled new model, the old one now looks even frumpier.

So, it’s easy to drive, it looks sharp, it goes well, it’s practical, economical and well-built, and I’m very hard pushed to find fault. Arguably all that’s missing is lashings of character, but what do you want? Blood?

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