2013 Toyota Verso review

  • Revised Toyota Verso MPV driven
  • Updated diesel engine boosts economy and lowers CO2
  • On sale now, priced from 17,495
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The Toyota Verso MPV is the latest model in the company's portfolio to be given a mid-life refresh.

On paper, the changes don't seem particularly momentous. However, in the metal, the sleeker front bumper, slimmer headlights and more dominant front grille are a definite improvement on the previous model's 'box-on-wheels' styling.

The overhaul also includes a revamped interior, extra standard equipment and a re-engineered 2.0-litre diesel engine.

Toyota hopes these changes will make the Verso more competitive against rival seven-seaters such as the Peugeot 5008 and the VW Touran.

What's the 2013 Toyota Verso like to drive?
Toyota offers 1.6- and 1.8-litre petrol engines, but the biggest seller will be the reworked 2.0-litre diesel.

Average economy has been improved by 4mpg to 57.6mpg, while CO2 emissions are down by 10g/km to 129g/km.

True, some rival seven-seat MPVs have diesel engines with more power, but the Verso's has a broader sweep of torque than before, so it picks up well from just 1600rpm and delivers all the pace and flexibility you'd want from an MPV.

There's a fairly intrusive, guttural soundtrack at urban speeds, even under light acceleration. However, things quieten down at motorway speeds.

This revised car also generates less wind- and road noise than the model it replaces. Overall, the Toyota is now one of the quietest seven-seat MPVs available.

Elsewhere, the ride comfort has been much improved. The Verso is more settled over heavily scarred road surfaces, and there's only the occasional thunk over bigger bumps at higher speeds.

Body roll is kept in check despite the fairly soft suspension, which will be welcome news for parents who have children prone to motion sickness.

What's the 2013 Toyota Verso like inside?
A couple of extra chrome strips and some upgraded trim give the cabin a real lift, although it's still not exactly glamorous.

The three seats in the middle row can be slid, folded and reclined independently of one another. However, it's a shame they're rather stiff and clunky to operate.

What's more, unless you first slide the middle-row of seats back fully, folding them away leaves annoying gaps in the floor.

The two rearmost seats are really suitable for kids only, although they do collapse into the floor, and once they're out of the way load capacity grows from a paltry 155 litres to a decent 440 litres. Even so, a Peugeot 5008 offers more boot space in five-seat mode.

The Verso's small, triangular rear side windows make the third row a pretty gloomy place to be, but at least there's plenty of storage around the cabin, including a chilled glovebox and aircraft-style folding trays on the backs of the front seats.

As well as front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, the Verso has curtain airbags that run the full length of the cabin.

Entry-level Active trim includes electric front windows, air-conditioning, hill-start assist and a USB socket.

Meanwhile, Icon trim adds 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth, electric rear windows, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a DAB radio.

Range-topping Excel cars have larger alloys, leather seat bolsters, keyless entry and start, automatic headlights and wipers, and roof rails.

Should I buy one?
This latest Verso is more refined and comfortable than the car it replaces, while interior quality has also taken a big leap forward.

Add in a five-year/100,000-mile warranty and competitive pricing, and the Verso starts to look like quite an attractive proposition.

However, bear in mind that it's not as spacious in the third row as the best seven-seaters, resale values are acceptable, but not outstanding and there's no automatic diesel option.

What Car? says...

Peugeot 5008
Renault Grand Scenic

Read the current Toyota Verso review >>

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from 19,495
Power 122bhp
Torque 229lb ft
0-62mph 11.3 seconds
Top speed 115mph
Fuel economy 57.6mpg
CO2 emissions 129g/km

By Pete Tullin/Vicky Parrott