"The Toyota Verso's appeal lies in its practicality and ease of use. It's a very capable family car, though the rearmost seats are cramped."
If you’re a school run veteran, needing space for up to six children, the Toyota Verso is an excellent choice. It's a practical seven-seater, and while the third row of seats is really only for kids, it can be folded easily to turn the car into a spacious five-seater with a large boot. The Toyota puts reliability and fuel efficiency before style and sporty handling. The 2.0 D-4D diesel version isn’t as smooth to drive as a petrol Verso, but returns over 50mpg.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The Toyota Verso has low running costs that combine with class-leading resale values for a low overall cost-of-ownership. Fuel economy has improved, with the 2.0-litre diesel now the most efficient. It offers a claimed fuel economy of 57.7mpg (previously 53.3mpg in the previous model) and a 10g/km improvement in CO2 emissions to 129g/km, one of the best in its class. It's only offered with a six-speed manual transmission. Even the thirstiest engine - the 1.8-litre petrol - offers competitive figures of 41.5mpg and 159g/km. Toyota also offers a five-year warranty, as well as its Toyota Access finance package, which offer a pre-determined buy back price provided certain mileage limits are adhered to.
Interior & comfort
The Verso is an extremely comfortable MPV. While it's top-spec Excel may not be as plush as some of its rivals, the comfortable ride and spacious front two rows make it no trouble for adults on long trips. The third row in seven-seater models is, like most rivals, made for toddlers at best. The inside is quiet, with more sound insulation for the latest upgrade, plus reduced engine noise and improved aerodynamic improvements to reduce wind noise. There's a leather-wrap steering wheel and automatic air-conditioning in the mid-spec Icon models, with the top Excel version adding a few luxuries such as leather - but the Icon doesn’t feel lacking in terms of comfort at all.
Practicality & boot space
The Verso is extremely practical and has loads of storage and boot space. From the front of the car, there's a pair of gloveboxes, a smart panoramic mirror for monitoring the kids and a good-sized centre console. Even the rear doors have door bins, while there are map pockets in the rear of the front seats. There's a new five-seater model offered in the base Active specification level, while the seven-seater models offer the Toyota Easy Flat seat folding system. This enables the second and third row seats to fold completely flat, and you won’t need superhuman strength to fold them back up, either. A massive 32 seating configurations are possible, while there's up to 982 litres of luggage space with only the front seats up. It's not as much as the Vauxhall Zafira with its 1,820 litres of space, but you can maximize the Verso's capabilities thanks to the clever seats.
Reliability & safety
The Verso is manufactured in Turkey, where previous versions of the popular and dependable Auris hatchback have been made. The Verso shares many components - including its platform - with the Auris, so its engine range is also well proven. A five-year warranty is one of the best offered in this class, and the track record of the Verso – now in its third generation – is strong. It’d be hard to find a more reliable MPV, thanks to Toyota's reputation, diligence and strong dealer network.
Engines, drive & performance
The Verso has a stiffer drive than its predecessor thanks to revised suspension and steering. These changes do make it better to drive, as the Verso is more predictable in its steering and behaviour around corners. The seating position is higher than in a hatchback, offering excellent all-round visibility, but it doesn’t feel like you should be driving a lorry. While the dash design is simple, don’t be put off by the offset instrument dials - which sit to the right of the steering wheel, instead of directly behind - as you quickly become accustomed to it. The brakes are strong and the gear changes smooth, and while it's hardly a performance car, it's comfortable and easy to drive, so you can concentrate on your journey without distraction.
Price, value for money & options
The Verso is better value than its predecessor and comes with the latest connectivity and safety features. The mid-level Icon is the best value, and comes with alloy wheels, automatic air-conditioning, a suite of seven airbags and a leather-covered steering wheel. There's also the Toyota Touch system, with a central touchscreen that includes a full-colour reversing camera. There's a six-speaker stereo with DAB audio and Bluetooth connectivity, which can be operated via the controls mounted on the steering wheel. All models come with a USB port and ISOFIX child-seat anchor points. Top range Excel models come with larger 17-inch alloys, part-leather seats and keyless entry.