"The Verso-S specialises in practicality. Thanks to its clever use of space, lots of secret compartments and a triple-layered glovebox, you'll have no shortage of places to store your luggage. The 1.33-litre engine borrowed from the Toyota iQ feels underpowered though."
The Toyota Verso-S is a stylish and practical car that offers drivers very competent handling with precious few thrills. Sadly, a 1.33-litre petrol engine is the only option under the bonnet – it can feel underpowered and slow. None of the stronger diesels from elsewhere in the Toyota line-up is offered, which is a shame. Keen drivers should steer clear of the CVT automatic gearbox; even though it improves the car's efficiency, it can be noisy and blunts the Verso-S's limited acceleration even further.
The 1.33-litre petrol engine feels underpowered in the Verso-S, whether you go for the six-speed manual or the CVT automatic gearboxes. Choose the former, and it's easier to keep the engine working in the right rev range. While the CVT improves economy figures, it allows the engine to rev noisily when you accelerate. Through corners, the Verso-S is very competent, but not a lot of fun.
The surprising thing about this Toyota is how firm the ride is. It does make for a very agile car on twisty roads, but over rough surfaces and long distances, the stiffness really begins to show, and you can become quite uncomfortable. And models with the CVT gearbox compound the problem with their excessive engine noise, which soon becomes irritating.
All of the major parts in the Verso-S have been successfully used elsewhere in the Toyota line-up. That means buyers can expect to have very few problems with their new car. There is no official safety rating from independent crash test body Euro NCAP just yet, although the car is sure to offer decent protection, with seven airbags and stability control included as standard.
Boot space stands at 429 litres if you can put up with just a tyre repair kit. Specify a spare wheel, and this figure falls to 393 litres. To increase luggage capacity, you can pull on a pair of handles in the boot – this folds the seats down easily and increases space to 1,388 litres. Unlike most of its rivals in the small MPV class, though, the Veso-S doesn’t have sliding rear seats.
Value for money
The Toyota is available in TR and T Spirit trims. But even though the former is the cheaper of the two, buyers still get Bluetooth phone connectivity, a USB socket and even a reversing camera. Go for the range-topping T Spirit, and air-conditioning and alloy wheels are included. Customers can specify optional leather, navigation or style packs, too.
when equipped with the manual gearbox, the Verso-S emits 127g/km of CO2 and claims 51.4mpg fuel economy. Unusually, models with the CVT automatic transmission are more efficient, promising figures of 120g/km and 54.3mpg.