► Toyota Verso 2017 review
► Tested in Design spec
► Available with 5 or 7 seats
The Toyota Verso is one of the last of the 'old-school' MPVs still on sale. You know what we’re on about: the ones that haven’t (yet) sold out and morphed into SUV/crossover clones, or faced the firing squad due to falling sales.
Unlike the latest Peugeot 3008 and Renault Scenic, for example, the Verso remains resolutely greenhouse-like in shape and there isn’t anything #lifestyle about the way it looks or drives. The suspension hasn’t been jacked up, there aren’t any gimmicky design ideas to be seen and you won’t catch the Verso pretending to be capable off road.
The Verso has essentially been on sale now since 2009, even after several facelifts and regular botox injections from Toyota to keep the old gal looking fresh. Can it still cut it against newer, more stylish rivals? Read our full review to find out.
We tested a seven-seat Toyota Verso 1.6D in Design priced at £25,940. Our test car was a manual, but the car pictured is an automatic.
So are there any benefits to the Toyota Verso still being so boxy?
How does a huge, airy cabin sound? The standard panoramic glass roof bathes the interior in light and the sheer space inside is pretty impressive for something that’s a smidge lower and more than 300mm slimmer than a Renault Scenic.
Settle into the thickly-padded seat and you’re greeted with a time warp of an interior. Grey, rough-textured plastics straight out of a 1980s Corolla are met with Toyota’s Touch Go 2 infotainment system.
The instrument binnacle is right on the top of the dashboard in the centre and angled towards the driver, and features a tiny dot-matrix trip computer you need a telescope to be able to read properly.
Storage spaces are everywhere, though, and include a double glovebox on the passenger side, massive door bins and two cupholders in the centre console. This is one highly practical family wagon.
The middle row has loads of legroom and independently flexible seats, plus a couple of family-friendly touches like pop-out trays and underfloor storage tick a lot of practicality boxes.
If you choose the seven-seat option, like our test car, the small seats are easy to pull out but are only useful for small kids. Even teens, let alone adults, will suffer if they spend more than a few minutes back there.
With all seven seats in place, boot space is limited to just 114 litres. In five-seat configuration with the parcel shelf in place, 968 litres of boot space is pretty competitive. With all seven seats down, there’s an echoing 1696 litres on offer.
If the Verso looks like a van on wheels, does it carry people like a van on wheels?
It even quacks like a van on wheels, too. By quack we mean clatter, as the 1.6-litre diesel engine is gruff to say the least - and isn’t that well damped when you’re on the move.
Be prepared to take longer than you expect to reach your destination, as the 12.7-second 0-62mph time makes for some achingly long overtaking manoeuvres. There’s what feels like 600rpm of usable torque band, before the engine falls flat and you need to change gear.
It’s not going to be a hoot to drive, then…
Nope. The Verso is still an MPV, so goes around corners with about as much tenacity as a sloth with a headache, and will make your pulse drop to almost catatonic levels if you drive it for more than half an hour.
Still, the average Verso buyer will like that it requires so little effort to drive; the gearbox feels smooth, the clutch bites early and the light steering makes for an easy life behind the wheel.
If you’re after a simple and honest car to ferry your family around then this really should be high up your list. The clattery diesel engine is pretty slow and it has a dashboard that’s about 20 years out of date, but the Verso’s versatility means that it can still keep up in the space race and it's an easy car to drive and manoeuvre.
The fact that it’s still soldiering on as a boxy MPV in a world of SUV turncoats is admirable too, in a weird sort of way. We admire the Toyota Verso's honesty.
Check out the rest of our Toyota reviews here