Toyota Verso MPV full 9 point review
The Verso is available with 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engines, the latter of which is available only with an automatic gearbox. It’s the 1.6-litre diesel that accounts for most sales, though, and performance is adequate but nothing more. The 109bhp engine picks up eagerly enough from low revs, but runs out of puff earlier than many modern diesels, meaning you need to change gear relatively frequently.
Ride & Handling
Ease-of-use and comfort are the priority for most MPV buyers, and the Verso fulfils both criteria pretty well. You don't feel particularly involved, but the Toyota is relaxing to drive in town and handles well enough on faster roads, keeping body sway under control. The suspension successfully deals with bigger bumps, although the ride can get quite pattery over poor road surfaces.
The Verso is pretty adept at suppressing road and wind noise, but its engines aren’t hushed at all. Both petrols are decidedly boomy when revved, and the diesel is even worse, sounding coarse at lower revs and sending far too much vibration up through the pedals and steering wheel. The majority of rival MPVs have quieter and smoother engines. There’s a fair amount of suspension noise, too.
Buying & Owning
Prices for the Verso are on a par with its key rivals', and discounts are reasonably generous. Running costs are competitive across the board, with the 1.6-litre diesel offering the most miles to the gallon, although you’ll lose more on depreciation than with rivals such as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Company car costs are competitive, although the best rivals offer even lower monthly tax bills.
Quality & Reliability
The Verso's cabin doesn't have much of a wow factor, but the build quality is decent, and it feels like it'll stand up to the rigours of family life. Toyotas normally have excellent reliability, and the Verso scored above average marks for reliability in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. It also comes with a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.
Safety & Security
All versions come with seven airbags, which helped the Verso achieve the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. However, while it scored well for pedestrian safety, adult and child safety was slightly below average by the standards of the class. Thatcham awarded the Verso five stars (out of five) for resisting drive-away, and four stars for guarding against being broken in to.
Behind The Wheel
A high-set seat, raised gearstick and a steering wheel that adjusts for reach and rake make it easy to get comfortable. The rest of your surroundings are easy to get used to; the centrally mounted instruments are the only quirk, but they're clear and easy to read at a glance. All-round visibility is generally good, but a reversing camera that’s standard on all bar entry-level models still comes in useful when backing into a parking space.
Space & Practicality
Although not particularly big, there’s plenty of scope to vary your load options in the Verso. The middle row of seats can be slid, folded and reclined individually, although it’s a more awkward task than in some rivals. Space in the rearmost seats is also cramped compared with that in most rivals. You’ll struggle to get much more than a small pram in the boot with all the seats in place, but space is respectable if you fold down the two rear seats.
Entry-level cars get electric front windows, air-conditioning and hill-start assist, but not much else. We’d go for Icon trim, which adds 16-inch alloy wheels, climate control, Bluetooth, rear electric windows, a rear-view camera, digital radio, cruise control, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob. Trend has sat-nav, front parking sensors and 17-inch wheels, while Excel has keyless entry and automatic lights and wipers, but they’re not such good value.