Toyota Verso Excel

1.6 D-4D

Toyota Verso, seating
Toyota Verso, boot
Toyota Verso, interior
Toyota Verso, rear
Toyota Verso, rear
Toyota Verso, front

SINCE its debut in 2002 the Toyota Verso has proved a popular choice in the European family car market, shifting in excess of 650,000 units of which 52,000 have been sold in the United Kingdom.

Initially not blessed with the most exciting looks, it's appeal was boosted considerably by a facelift in 2012 which introduced a stylish new nose echoing that of the popular Auris hatchback and reflecting the Japanese car maker's more up-to-date design language.

A narrow main grille sits above a more imposing and muscular lower one incorporating a full-width lip spoiler and flanked by sunken fog lamps.

Coupled with a revised rear bumper with integral low-level diffuser it gives the Verso a sportier look and more planted stance on the road.

But not resting on its laurels Toyota has tweaked their MPV again for 2014 and the headline change is the introduction of the 110bhp, 1.6-litre diesel engine featured in this car, the only oil burner available in the range and replacing the previous 2.0-litre option.

Sourced from BMW, a brand renowned for the performance of its diesels, it offers the sort of improved efficiency which will appeal to company users as well as families.

Paired with a six-speed manual transmission and, for the first time in the Verso, an automatic start and stop system fuel economy improves by eight per cent, to 62.8mpg on average, while carbon emissions are lower by 10g/km at 119g/km.

Acceleration isn't lightning at well over 12 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint, or perhaps brisk stroll in this case, but that's not really the point here and a top speed of 115mph is more than adequate for any family motor.

Maximum torque is reached at 1,750 revs but only lasts to 2,250rpm, meaning that there's plenty of versatility in town traffic but it you want some extra oomph at cruising speed you will need to work the gears.

You could never call the Verso an engaging car to drive but, again, that is not the priority in a family car and it is an easy and relaxing motor to handle.

The steering is light but accurate, the elevated ride height offers good all-round vision and the chassis is set up for comfort - offering a supple ride while ironing out most road imperfections.

Vital for the success of any MPV, of course, is how well it strikes the balance between internal space and not becoming too big and unwieldy.

With the Verso Toyota have always erred on the side of keeping the car as physically compact as they can so getting into those tight parking spaces in supermarket car parks is not a problem.

Some compromises are, therefore, to be expected on space and the boot is smaller than some rivals while the rearmost seats, when deployed, are definitely for kids only.

That said, head and legroom is good in the front five and Toyota have squeezed a lot of versatility into the space that is available.

The Easy Flat seating system provides 32 different permutations according to the manufacturer. I didn't have the time to check them all but I can confirm that the individual seats in the second and third rows can all be folded flat individually while those in the middle row also slide forwards and backwards.

Luggage space apparently varies from just 155 litres with all the seats in place to 1,009 with them all folded down. Again, I didn't measure up but I did get a small chest freezer that needed moving in easily enough.

There was plenty of storage and some nice practical aids around the cabin in the range-topping Excel model including a twin-compartment glove box with a cooled upper section, a spacious centre console box, stowable aviation-style tables and window blinds in the middle row as well as underfloor storage to keep your kids' valuables away from prying eyes and a neat little rear view mirror which allows you to keep an eye on the little monsters, erĀ¦ I mean angels, while driving.

Equipment is generous across the range, with this flagship spec getting 17-inch alloys, push button start, climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, rear view camera, parking sensors and an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.


Toyota Verso Excel 1.6 D-4D

Price: £23,995

Mechanical: 110bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:115mph

0-62mph: 12.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group:14

C02 emissions: 119g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles


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