Toyota Verso MPV

£18,120 - £25,000

The Toyota Verso MPV is a people-carrier that offers seven seats and is a rival to models such as the Renault Grand Scenic, Ford C-MAX, and Mazda 5 MPV. Its drab looks are unlikely to set the world alight but they do make the car spacious and practical. That said, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is just as practical, and much more attractive.

The underwhelming looks transfer to the driving experience and you’re unlikely to ever savour taking the Toyota Verso for a spin down country roads. That's an area in which the Ford C-MAX really excels for this class of car. Nonetheless, the Toyota is certainly light and easy to drive in town, which will be its most common habitat.

The Toyota is available with either 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engines, or a 1.6-litre diesel. It's the diesel model that accounts for the bulk of sales, despite the fact that performance is lacklustre to say the least. Still, families are more concerned with running costs these days, so an average of 62.8mpg isn’t to be dismissed out of hand, especially when combined with the ability to haul around seven people.

The Toyota Verso can be had in four levels of spec: Active, Icon, Trend and Excel, but even the bottom-end version comes with daytime running lights, air-conditioning, and a four-speaker radio/CD player with steering-wheel mounted controls. It's worth remembering that although most Versos are seven seaters, the entry-level Active model with the 1.6-litre petrol engine is a five seater.

Our top choice is the diesel engined Toyota Verso 1.6 D4-D Iconic because it provides alloy wheels, a rear parking camera, Toyota's Touch2 multimedia system and a digital radio.

It doesn’t feel particularly upmarket inside though, and is designed more for sturdiness rather than aesthetic appeal. Rivals feel better inside. That's not to say the Toyota Verso Feels in any way flimsy, though – it should easily withstand the rough and tumble of daily family life.

The car's back row of seats may only be suitable for children, but the Toyota Verso does have strong second-hand values and an excellent reputation for reliability.

It's pretty safe, too. Crash test experts Euro NCAP evaluated the Toyota Verso in 2010 and gave it a full five-star rating.