Toyota Verso MPV
Price: £17,765 - £23,995
- Strong resale values
- Low running costs
- Well built and reliable
- Cramped rear seats
- High price tag
- Small boot with all seats in place
"The Toyota Verso is a practical, dependable and easy-to-use MPV that offers low running costs. It may not be as stylish as some rivals but it's a very capable family car."
The Toyota Verso is a people carrier that rivals cars like the Renault Grand Scenic, Ford C-MAX and Mazda 5 MPV. It features seven seats, a range of economical engines, excellent comfort levels and strong resale values – making it a very sensible choice for buyers with a big family.
There are drawbacks, though. It's not the greatest car to drive, for example – although sporty dynamics are unlikely to be a priority for the vast majority of buyers in the market for a seven-seat MPV. Nor is it as roomy as many rivals, and the third row of seats are cramped and really only useable for children.
But when it comes to reliability and resale values, the Verso is at the top of the class.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Resale values are very strong and economy is decent, but service intervals are short
One of the Toyota Verso's main strengths is its low cost of ownership. Its resale values are among the best in class, which means it’ll retain a decent chunk of its list price when it comes time to change cars.
But the engines are efficient, too. There is a choice of three engines: a 2.0-litre diesel, a 1.6-litre petrol and a 1.8-litre petrol. The diesel is the most efficient and will do 57.7mpg and emits 129g/km CO2. That's not bad for a car of this size but some of the Verso's rivals offer considerably better figures. The most efficient Ford C-MAX does 61mpg and emits 119g/km CO2, and the Renault Grand Scenic is capable of a staggering 68.9mpg and just 105g/km CO2. The 1.6-litre petrol Verso will do 42.8mpg and 154g/km CO2, while the 1.8-litre petrol does 41.5mpg and 159g/km CO2.
It's worth remembering that Toyota's five-year warranty beats the three-year guarantee offered by most of its rivals, too.
Interior & comfort
Comfort levels are excellent but the Verso is not as spacious as some rivals
Space is fairly important in a big MPV – and the Verso doesn’t have quite as much interior space as rivals like the Renault Grand Scenic. That said, it's still big enough to accommodate most large families. The third row of seats is cramped and really only suitable for small children, but it can be easily folded flat to enlarge boot space and the other seats are spacious and comfortable.
The suspension has been set-up to smooth out bumps and potholes in the road, too, so it's also very comfortable to drive. The quality of the materials in the cabin feel a bit low-rent compared to models like the Ford C-MAX but it's sturdily built and will resist wear-and-tear well.
Practicality & boot space
Flexible seating system makes the Verso very practical
Most versions of the Verso come with seven seats as standard, but they are optional on entry-level Active models. The seven-seater cars come with the Toyota Easy Flat folding system which offers a total of 32 configurations to allow you to tailor interior space to your needs.
The middle row, for example, can be slid forward and back (as well as folded flat) to increase legroom or boot space, and the rear row of seats can be easily folded into the floor with the pull of a lever. There is 155 litres of space in the boot with all seven seats in use, which can be expanded to 440 litres with the third row folded flat and 1,696 litres with the middle row folded. These are impressive figures, but some way behind the 1,732 litres available in the Ford C-MAX and the 2,063 litres in the Renault Grand Scenic.
There are loads of storage bins and cubbyholes, though, including a pair of glove boxes and pockets in the rear doors.
Reliability & safety
Verso has a five-star safety rating and an impeccable reputation for reliability
The Verso scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, and comes with a full complement of airbags as well as electronic stability control and ABS as standard.
What's more, Toyota has one of the best reputations for reliability in the car industry. The Verso itself is based on the smaller Toyota Auris and shares many of its components and engines with that model, which means its been thoroughly tried and tested over the years. Plus, Toyota was rated the ninth best car brand in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey and also offers a five-year warranty with its cars. Overall, you’ll struggle to find a rival MPV that offers more impressive credentials when it comes to reliability.
Engines, drive & performance
Much improved performance compared to older versions of the Verso
You don’t get into a seven-seat MPV expecting it to perform like a sports car, but the Verso is actually surprisingly good to drive. All three engines perform well, with the 1.8-litre petrol providing the most power and responsiveness.
Our pick would be the 2.0-litre diesel, though. It's not quite as quick as the petrol engine but it's smooth, powerful and offers the best economy.
Toyota's engineers have done a good job with the suspension set-up, striking a nice balance between comfort and performance. It's stiffer than previous versions, which makes it feel more agile and better able to cope with corners but hasn’t compromised its smooth ride. The steering isn’t too light, either, with enough feedback for it to feel accurate.
Price, value for money & options
Verso offers great value thanks to low price tag and strong resale values
The Verso is one of the cheapest cars in its class and comes with a choice of three specification levels: Active, Icon and Excel. Entry-level Toyota Verso Active models come with daytime running lights, air-conditioning, four-speaker radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.
Mid-spec Icon cars also get 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear parking camera, dual zone air-con, a touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, DAB radio, cruise control and airplane-style tables for the middle row of seats. Top-spec Excel models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry, rear privacy glass and a number of interior trim upgrades.
Resale values are strong, which makes the Verso very good value indeed.
What the others say
"Strong residual values across the range and low company car tax make the Verso an attractive choice for fleet buyers, as well as growing families and like all Toyotas it comes with an impressive 100,000 mile five-year manufacturer warranty as standard."
"Fridge, washing machine, oven, Verso. Yes, it's got all the charm and personality of a domestic appliance…"
"The Toyota Verso isn’t the biggest or most versatile MPV, but we’d recommend it anyway providing you don't carry seven people regularly. Relaxing driving manners, competitive running costs and solid build quality all add to the Verso's appeal."
Last updated: 17 Feb 2014