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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Practical cabin, excellent engines and dynamics, plus solid build quality

Against Can accommodate only five

Verdict Hugely likeable family car

Go for… 1.6 petrols

Avoid… Autos

Toyota Corolla Verso
  • 1. Check that the recall work on front and side airbags has been done
  • 2. It's disappointing that the steering wheel adjusts only for rake
  • 3. Check the boot lip for evidence of scuffs where heavy cargo has been loaded
  • 4. Front-seat occupants have plenty of space and visibility is good
  • 5. The rear chairs fold, tumble and slide to make the best use of the space
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Toyota Corolla Verso full review with expert trade views

Overall, this is a thoroughly sensible car. Its tall roof and ample width give front-seat occupants plenty of space, and the dashboard layout is simple. Visibility is good, too, but the lack of steering wheel reach adjustment is a disappointment.

What's perhaps a surprise is that the Verso seats just five, whereas some rivals take seven. However, that leaves plenty of luggage space behind, and the rear chairs fold, tumble and slide to make the best use of space.

Cargo space ranges from 417 to 973 litres depending on how you arrange the seats, and there are 22 different extra storage areas around the vehicle in case that's still not enough.

The Verso was launched as part of the new Corolla range in January 2002, and its chassis was modified to take account of the more upright bodystyle. It works, too; the ride is well controlled to prevent passengers getting queasy, although it still lacks the balance of the hatchback.

Wind and road noise are kept under control by the well insulated cabin, and while the diesel engine is always audible, the petrol units are quiet and refined. The 1.6 is particularly impressive.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tall hatchback with short model run. Not popular new but clean used ones sought after

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

The car was on sale for nearly two and a half years, and the model range didn’t change in that time. There were two petrol engines – a 110bhp 1.6-litre and a 133bhp 1.8-litre – plus a 2.0-litre diesel developing 89bhp. Each came with a five-speed manual gearbox, although a four-speed auto was available with the 1.8.

Our pick of the bunch is the entry level petrol. It’s smooth, refined, quiet and doesn’t suffer from a lack of power.

Trim levels are T2, T3 and T-Spirit. Standard kit on all models includes twin front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, remote central locking, electric front windows and a CD player. T3 adds alloys and air-con - which makes it our favourite trim - while T Spirit has a leather steering wheel and heated mirrors.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Good for retail, especially T Spirit and 2.0 D-4D

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Verso was the first compact MPV Toyota had created based on its popular Corolla small family car. For that reason it sold well and is still desirable now as a used buy. The company’s formidable reputation for building reliable cars means it has held its value, too. In other words, don't expect to bag a bargain.

On the other hand, running costs aren't too bad, and fuel economy is impressive across the range, with the 1.8 offering the lowest figure at 37.1mpg (34.4 with the auto box). The 1.6 will give 38.7mpg, but the diesel is the best performer at 43.5mpg.

Insurance ratings are low for a family car of this size, starting at group 5 for the 1.6. The 1.8 is in group 7, while the diesel is group 5 or 6 depending on trim level.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Tall hatchback with short model run. Not popular new but clean used ones sought after

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

The reliability record of Toyota is generally very impressive, but there were some airbag problems on the Verso. First, the company was forced to recall cars when the front passenger airbag was found to deploy even if it had been manually switched to the ‘off’ position.

Later, because of faults with the side airbags, it was found they might not fully inflate in a collision, increasing the risk of injury.

Mechanically, the Verso has proved very sound, so there are no major worries there. But, it pays to avoid high-mileage examples (plenty of cars were sold, so you should be able to find something with fewer miles on the clock) and those which have had a tough life as the family runabout. Check the boot lip for evidence of scuffs where heavy cargo has been loaded.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Good for retail, especially T Spirit and 2.0 D-4D

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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