1.8L Design V-matic
The Toyota Verso is a MPV (or people carrier) that puts the family first. Don’t be fooled by the relatively compact size, because the Verso is large enough to seat seven people. It’s all thanks to clever packaging and five independent rear seats. There are also lots of practical storage areas for your odds and ends.
Unlike some MPVs, the Verso feels nimble and agile in the city, while its high driving position and large windscreen give an excellent view of the road ahead. On the motorway it’s smooth and relaxing, especially if you opt for the 1.6-litre diesel engine.
Equipment levels are good across the range, including the kind of safety features you look for when choosing a car to carry your children.
Few cars are as family-friendly as the Toyota Verso. There’s lots of space inside and every model (apart from some older entry-level versions) has seven seats. These can be configured in 32 different ways, which makes it very versatile and gives you something to do if you get desperate for something to do to keep the kids amused.
Headroom and legroom in the front five seats is excellent. There’s not as much space for those in the pair of third-row seats but they’re comfortable enough and perfect if you want to take the kids’ friends or grandparents along on a day trip.
There are plenty of storage areas, including two gloveboxes, underfloor compartments and a large central bin. It’s easy to fold the third-row seats flat to leave a huge, well-shaped boot large enough for three suitcases, or you can turn the Verso into something resembling a van by folding all five rear seats away to create a long, perfectly flat load space.
The interior materials are robust and hard-wearing, so they’ll be able to withstand years of family life. All except the entry-level model have a refrigerated glovebox, back door sunshades and aeroplane-style seat-back tables in the second row. Look out for models with a panoramic roof that floods the interior with light, making it feel even more spacious.
Thanks to its compact dimensions, the Toyota Verso is no harder to drive in the city than a family hatchback. Visibility is excellent due to the large windows and high driving position and getting comfortable won’t be a problem because there’s plenty of adjustment for the steering wheel and seats.
The light steering means it’s easy to park the Verso, but it’s worth finding an example with optional front and rear parking sensors, especially if your rear view is restricted by five happy passengers. Design models have a reversing camera, with the image displayed on the eight-inch navigation screen.
The BMW-sourced 1.6-litre diesel engine is a great option for performance and economy, especially if you travel with six passengers on a regular basis. It’s responsive when you need to overtake or join a motorway, but smooth and quiet on a long journey. Opt for one of the petrol engines if you spend most of your time in the city.
Because MPVs are less popular than SUVs, you’ll get more for your money when buying a Toyota Verso. It’s also more affordable than a Volkswagen Touran.
According to official figures, the 1.6-litre diesel should return nearly 69mpg on average, but even the petrol engines should achieve between 41.5mpg and 43.5mpg. The Verso will cost less to insure than many larger seven-seaters.
Toyota guarantees its cars for five years and 100,000 miles, so your Verso should be covered by the balance of the original warranty. Further reassurance comes from the fact that Toyota performs well in customer satisfaction surveys, with dealers praised for their customer service.
All Verso models come with lots of safety features, including a system that'll automatically brake if it detects a collision is imminent. Fun fact: the Verso was named the safest MPV when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2010. OK, not fun, but useful to know.
Best for economy - 1.6 D-4D Active
Best for family - 1.6 D-4D Design
Best for fun - 1.8 V-Matic Trend
The Verso is well-equipped across the range, but the mid-range Icon model will be nicer to live with than the entry-level version. This is thanks to features like an eight-inch infotainment system, reversing camera and cruise control. The Design trim adds features such as a panoramic roof and part-leather seats. Look out for models with the optional Family Pack, because your children are sure to appreciate the two rear screens and DVD player.
As for the choice of engine, it’s hard to look beyond the 1.6-litre diesel. Excellent fuel economy, low CO2 emissions and strong performance make it the standout engine in the range.