Toyota Verso MPV

£18,425 - £25,750

The Toyota Verso is a seven-seater MPV that puts practicality and usability over style. For drivers after a capable and dependable people carrier, it's a worthy contender against competition like the Mazda 5, Renault Grand Scenic and Ford C-MAX. While the Toyota Verso can be said to be as practical as its rivals, competitors like the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso offer similar space and versatility in a more stylish body.

The Toyota Verso offers a driving experience that echoes its looks: it's an underwhelming car to drive. While the Verso throws up no unpleasant driving characteristics, it's unlikely to be a car you’ll take out for a spin for the sheer pleasure of it. In comparison, the Ford C-MAX is a positively enjoyable car to drive, although it doesn’t offer seven seats like the Verso does. The Toyota does manage to be a good car to drive around town, though, thanks to its light and easy controls.

Toyota offers the Verso with either a 1.6 or 1.8-litre petrol engine, as well as a 1.6-litre diesel. The diesel is likely to account for most sales, although its performance can best be described as sedate. Still, with running costs a priority these days, the Verso diesel makes a good case for itself. It’ll return 62.8mpg while emitting 119g/km of CO2, meaning it's economical to run and cheap to tax. Combine this economy with the fact that the Verso can transport seven people and it's easy to see how the Toyota works as a proposition for cost-conscious families.

The range is made up of five trim levels: Active, Icon, Trend, Trend Plus and Excel, with even the entry-level Active coming with air-conditioning, heated folding door mirrors and a four-speaker radio/CD player with steering-wheel-mounted controls. Our recommendation is a Verso diesel in Icon trim. This provides a reversing camera, Bluetooth phone connection, DAB digital radio and Toyota's Touch2 multimedia system.

Toyota is offering a discount if you order before 31 March 2016. Choose your Verso in the entry-level Active trim, pay for it through Toyota's finance arm and you’ll get over £1,000 off the list price, making the Verso excellent value at just £16,995. This is around £4,000 less than the Renault Grand Scenic.

The Toyota Verso's cabin is sturdy to the touch, but it's beginning to look a bit dated and doesn’t feel particularly upmarket. The cabin build quality seems rugged enough for family life, but rivals like the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso offer a more modern interior.

While the third row of seats is only suitable for children, the Toyota Verso is still a very practical car. Toyotas are also known to hold their value well on the second-hand market and have an excellent reputation for reliability.