Toyota Verso-S T

Spirit 1.33

Multidrive S

Toyota Verso-S, side
Toyota Verso-S, front
Toyota Verso-S, side
Toyota Verso-S, rear
Toyota Verso-S, interior
Toyota Verso-S, boot

TODAY'S array of MPVs of all shapes and sizes has certainly established this type of vehicle as very much a feature in the family motoring scene.

My latest venture into the world of the mini MPV was with Toyota's latest Verso, the S model, which I found surprisingly spacious.

This is a happy return for the Japanese car giant which became a founding father of the mini MPV concept with the launch of Yaris Verso back in the year 2000.

However, Toyota put the car on the back burner in 2002 until the emergence of the all new Verso-S earlier this year.

The five door Verso-S is shorter overall than all its market rivals but with a generous 2,550mm wheelbase there is exceptional interior space.

Evidence of much attention to detail is very much to the fore including the creation of slimmer front seats and some neat tailoring to the profile of the back door trims which adds extra "foot space" for easier passenger access.

A one-touch action, made easier via control levers being provided in the boot, helps to fold flat the 60/40 rear seating.

A two position lightweight deckboard in the boot allows for the variable loadspace depth to be easily adjusted and, while the T Spirit model comes with a tyre repair kit instead of a spare wheel the high lift tailgate and low sill ease the way for loading and unloading.

With all seats taken, load capacity is a family sized 429 litres and while the T Spirit model driven here delivers a maximum 1,388 litres of stowage space with the back seating folded down. Inside there are some 19 storage compartments which include cup and bottle holders, front and rear door pockets plus a three level dashboard set-up.

The Verso-S introduces Toyota Touch, a new multi media touchscreen system for controlling audio and communications functions. Fitted as standard to all versions of the car the system comes with Bluetooth for hands free mobile phone use, plus a USB port for connecting to personal music players.

Two trim levels are available, TR and T Spirit, and in addition to Toyota Touch, the TR entry model includes reversing camera, front fog lamps, air con and seven airbags.

The T Spirit derivative adds 16-inch alloys, electric windows all round, a huge panoramic glass sunroof and dark tinted rear privacy glass.

This is a one-engined car with no diesel option available but Toyota's lightweight 1.3-litre petrol engine proved efficiently frugal.

While I have always preferred manual transmission, I found the seven-speed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox quite acceptable and, with the provision of manual override, I can see the Verso-S proving quite a boon to a number of mature drivers.

Surprisingly, the 98bhp Verso-S proved itself quite at home coming up the M1 and, with a decent ride quality, if a little on the firm side.

The steering is precise and directly responsive and the Verso-S will reward you with a wallet friendly best in class fuel economy of 54.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 120g/km.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Verso-S T Spirit 1.33 Multidrive S

Price: £17,315

Mechanical: 98bhp, 1,329cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 103mph

0-62mph: 13.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 8

C02 emissions: 120g/km

Bik rating: 10%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles

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