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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Well equipped and reasonably practical MPV that should be totally reliable

Against Disappointing refinement, not exactly fun to drive and it looks dull, too

Verdict Terribly bland and not as roomy as many rivals

Go for… 2.0 D4-D T3

Avoid… T-Spirit petrols

Toyota Avensis Verso
  • 1. Avensis petrol engines have also been known to drink oil
  • 2. There are a few reported cases of early gearbox failure
  • 3. The rearmost two seats are only really suited to children, and they don't fold flat into the floor when not needed
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Toyota Avensis Verso full review with expert trade views

The Avensis Verso may have seven seats, but it's closer in size to compact MPVs than fully-fledged people carriers. As a result, the rear two seats are only really suited to children.

What's more, the Avensis isn't ultimately as flexible as some of its rivals because the rear seats don't fold flat into the floor when they're not needed. However, they are reasonably light to lift out and, even with all seven seats in place, you get a usable luggage space. The three seats in the centre row slide and recline individually, too.

Where the car claws back some of that lost ground is that its firm suspension means the Avensis Verso avoids much of the sloppiness traditionally associated with MPVs on the road, even if it does lean more than an Avensis saloon through bends. The trade-off for this control is a firm ride that allows coarse surfaces to be felt in the cabin.

Road noise can also become intrusive as your speed rises and there's a lot of wind roar from around the front pillars when cruising on the motorway.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Quite rare as cost new is high. Hence depreciation is quite steep. Go for the SE diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Power comes from two 2.0-litre engines - a 115bhp D4-D diesel or a 147bhp VVT-i petrol. Both are only just up to the job of hauling around what is a fairly heavy car and can feel breathless on the motorway or when you have your whole brood aboard.

Neither engine is especially refined, either. While the petrol delivers its power smoothly and is civilised around town, it becomes boomy at higher speeds. As for the diesel, there's no mistaking which fuel it drinks because it sounds gruff at all times. Still, it'll manage an extra 10 miles on each gallon so it's our pick.

Two trims are offered, and even the cheaper T3 cars have climate control, a CD player, remote central locking, all-round electric windows and six airbags. T-Spirit adds alloy wheels, roof rails and a DVD player with two headrest-mounted screens, but you'll pay a hefty premium for these.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong values for both petrol and diesel, with good standard T3 spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Residual values are average for the class, so a used Avensis Verso falls somewhere between compact and large MPVs on price as well as size.

It's firmly in the compact MPV camp when it comes to insurance, though, with the diesel attracting a lowly group 8 rating and the petrol sitting just one band higher.

The diesel also returns a useful 43.5mpg on the combined cycle, so you won't have to spend too much time hanging around fuel pumps.

Unfortunately, there is a fly in the ointment and that's the maintenance costs. Toyota dealers charge more per hour than most of their mainstream rivals, and they also take longer than most to carry out repairs if you have an accident.

On the positive side, you can cut labour rates by more than 40% by going to an independent Toyota specialist rather than a franchised dealer.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Quite rare as cost new is high. Hence depreciation is quite steep. Go for the SE diesel

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Toyota has a reputation for building cars you can rely on, and this is fully deserved. The annual JD Power survey shows that Toyota customers are among the most satisfied with their cars and the company has consistently been among the top five makes in our reliability surveys.

Given the relatively high repair bills you face at franchised dealers this is especially welcome, but can you expect any problems with the Avensis Verso?

Well, cars built between February 2001 and April 2002 were recalled because there was a chance the inlet pipe on their fuel tanks could corrode and leak, so double check the service history if the car you're interested in was affected.

Avensis petrol engines have also been known to drink oil and there are a few reported cases of early gearbox failure. Generally, though, little goes wrong mechanically and the interior ages well because it's built from hard-wearing materials.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong values for both petrol and diesel, with good standard T3 spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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