There are three engine options for the Proace Verso. Kicking off the range is a 1.6-litre diesel with 113bhp that’s limited to Medium versions in Shuttle trim. It might be all right for urban environments, but we suspect it’ll struggle with nine people aboard on the motorway.
We’d recommend spending a little more for the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel with a manual ’box. Its larger size gives more low-end power, meaning it doesn’t need working as hard to get up to speed. Performance will only ever be adequate, but the Proace Verso isn’t the kind of thing that you’d want to hustle along a country road anyway.
The final option is a 2.0-litre diesel with 178bhp and a standard automatic gearbox. It certainly makes motorway work easier, thanks to the additional power, and the ’box is smooth when changing gear. The only trouble is that it’s significantly more expensive than the 148bhp version and isn’t available in Shuttle trim. Refinement is good in both 2.0 diesels, with little vibration and hushed manners when you’re at a cruise.
If you’re ambling along, the Proace Verso is also a comfortable companion for the most part. Smooth but undulating roads are soaked up with a gentle waftiness that suits the relaxed nature of the driving experience. This calm is shattered when you run over broken road surfaces or expansion joints, though, with the car bobbling noticeably.
Get to a corner and there’s no mistaking that the Proace Verso is a van underneath. The steering is quite slow and there’s an awful lot of body roll if you corner with even moderate enthusiasm. Grip levels are lower than in a regular MPV, with the front end always gently washing wide if you’re going too quickly.