Verso 1.6 D-4D Icon 7-seat
shortly in UK dealerships
is the new Toyota Verso compact
MPV (or, if you prefer, people carrier).
Built in Europe exclusively for the
European market, more than 700,000
have been sold since the launch of
the first generation model back in
2002 and in the UK around 3,500
were sold here last year...
HOWEVER, A YEAR AGO Toyota gave the Verso a significant mid-life upgrade
in terms of styling, added equipment and improved handling
Now, in time for the new registration plate month of March, we are about to
receive what Toyota calls the 'new' Verso. It would be fairer to say that it's
a 'refreshed' line-up most notable for their 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine being
replaced by a BMW-sourced 1.6 D-4D unit which has been re-tuned by Toyota to
meet their specific needs.
current 1.6 and 1.8-litre Toyota petrol engines continue in the new range and
prices are carry-over, starting at £17,765.
The core to the changes
for the new Verso is,
of course, the BMW-
sourced diesel engine
similar in specification
to that used in the
1 Series and also the
Also introduced are a range of new wheel designs, new interior trims, the introduction
of a Trend grade, and new exterior colours along with Toyota's new Touch 2 multimedia
Depending on the engine chosen, there are four equipment levels to choose from:
the starter level is Active; next up is Icon (appealing to 66% of buyers), then
comes the new Trend level and, at the top of the range, Excel.
The Active spec with the 130bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine and manual transmission
is the only model in the range to be offered with five and seven seats
all other specification levels have seven seats as standard. Understandable,
as just 2% of UK customers buy a five-seat Verso.
145bhp 1.8-litre petrol engine has Multidrive S automatic transmission as standard,
and the new 110bhp 1.6-litre D-4D turbodiesel (available with all four specification
levels) has a six-speed manual gearbox. This new-to-Toyota BMW-sourced engine
might have the lowest power output of the three units on offer, but it does
have the highest torque: 200lb ft developed from 1,750rpm and with a wide rev-range
for a diesel even in third gear it will reach a shade over 70mph.
Top speed is 115mph, the same as the petrol engine, and zero to 62mph takes
12.7 seconds which is 1 to 1.5 seconds slower than the petrol engines.
However, the new diesel is much more fuel efficient, officially recording 62.8mpg
in the Combined Cycle. On my test drive, with three people in the vehicle complete
with luggage and a driving route on the mountainous and winding rural roads
in the South of France, it returned 46mpg.
CO2 emissions are 119g/km which will mean a road tax cost of £0 in the First
Year and then a low £30 per annum for Year Two onwards. By comparison, both
petrol engines will cost £175 a year in road tax. For company car users running
the diesel unit, Benefit-in-Kind tax (from next April) will be 20% against the
23 and 24% rate for the petrol engines.
as important is the purchase price comparison. The new 1.6-litre diesel manual
gearbox model with the best-selling Icon trim costs £21,995. The 1.8-litre petrol
Icon with the standard-fit automatic transmission is £21,795 (the 1.6-litre
petrol Icon with manual gearbox is £20,295).
insurance group for the new diesel is yet to be announced but going by the figures
of the previous models, expect it to be around Group 16 that's
one or two groups higher than the petrol versions.
The new diesel is much
more fuel efficient,
62.8mpg in the
On my test drive, with
three people in the
vehicle complete with
luggage and a driving
route on the mountainous
and winding rural roads
in the South of France,
it returned 46mpg...
Specification-wise sees the base Active level getting standard kit such as AirCon,
front electric windows, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors, front
fog lights and a vehicle stability programme.
Moving up a level, the best-selling Icon gets 16-inch alloys (which I believe
provides the best degree of ride comfort), dual-zone AirCon, DAB radio, Bluetooth,
rear-view camera, electric rear windows, cruise control and rear privacy glass.
The new Trend level adds 17-inch alloys, front parking sensors, Touch 2 with
Go multimedia system, and SatNav with Google Street View and TomTom real-time
traffic data. For the record, the Toyota Touch 2 with Go is standard on the
new Trend models but is also available as a £650 option on Icon and Excel versions.
Excel models gain HID headlights, smart entry with start button, automatic wipers
and lights, and leather seat bolsters. Various other extra-cost options are
available, such as a £550 panoramic roof for Icon, Trend and Excel models.
The core to the changes for the new Verso is, of course, the BMW-sourced diesel
powerplant similar in specification to that used in the 1 Series
and current MINI. Engine sharing is now commonplace amongst manufacturer reducing,
as it does, development costs and complying with customer demands for engine
Although the Toyota version of this engine is still built by BMW in Austria,
the Toyota modifications include a newly-developed dual-mass flywheel together
with revised engine mounts and drive shafts to minimise vibrations along with
changes that enable it to be mated to Toyota's own six-speed gearbox.
of the main challenges was to redesign the electrical interface in the ECU engine
management system so both BMW and Toyota systems 'talk' to each other. The ECU
injection mapping and turbocharger response has been designed to provide more
punch in first, second and third gears for maximum acceleration. It also allows
the engine to rev freely and with minimum noise to over 3,000rpm before smoothing
out the torque delivery for effortless driving in fourth and fifth gears, and
also in the overdrive sixth gear for motorway cruising.
it works very well the engine is very willing to rev in low gears
and delivers punchy acceleration from standstill. Only on rolling starts in
second gear, say at roundabouts, did the turbo lag slightly before delivering
its boost to get the Verso underway again.
it's not the cleverest of fold-down seating systems, you do get 155 litres of
boot space with all seven seats in use; and 1,009 litres with just the two front
seats occupied. Niggles include the bland but nonetheless durable interior,
poor rear corner visibility and the Touch 2 with Go screen could
While its not the
cleverest of fold-down
seating systems, you do
get 155 litres of boot
space with all seven
seats in use; and 1,009
litres with just the two
front seats occupied...
Major plus points include the new fuel and CO2-efficient downsized diesel engine,
responsive acceleration, low running and tax costs, improved specification,
roomy, sharp styling, and good ride comfort with 16-inch wheels
plus it's easy to live with.
All customers buying the latest 2014 Verso will physically see the benefits
of the improved specification: the new Trend spec level and new bodywork colours,
plus the Touch 2 with Go multimedia and SatNav system.
The main change is the 8% improvement in fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions
from the 1.6-litre D-4D engine over the outgoing 2.0-litre D-4D unit. Engine
downsizing has become a way of life and Toyota for the Verso has fulfilled that
objective with help from BMW. Watch out for future Toyota and BMW collaborations
with engines, hybrid technology and platforms. David Miles
Toyota Verso 1.6 D-4D Icon 7-seat | £21,995
Maximum speed: 115mph | 0-62mph: 12.7 seconds | Average Test MPG: 46mpg
Power: 110bhp | Torque: 200lb ft | CO2 119g/km