Changes last year to Toyota’s popular Verso compact MPV now make it both more visually appealing and better to drive, thanks to a new diesel engine from BMW. A new Trend grade also offers more technology and features, but all models benefit from the makeover. This comprises a sleeker grille and new LED headlights.

The new BMW sourced 1.6-litre D-4D diesel engine has undergone extensive modifications by Toyota, including a newly-developed dual-mass flywheel, revised engine mounts, and completely redesigned electrical interfaces. It is fitted to a Toyota six-speed manual transmission with stop-start technology, a first for the Verso range.

The new powertrain replaces the 2.0-litre D-4D engine in the UK line-up, offering higher efficiency and a 20kg weight saving. Maximum power is 110bhp (82kW) at 4,000 rpm and peak torque is 270Nm, generated from 1,750 to 2,250rpm. Zero to 62mph acceleration is despatched in 12.7 seconds and top speed is 115mph.

Fuel economy is eight per cent better than the 2.0 D-4D unit, with 62.8mpg combined cycle consumption. CO2 emissions are lower by 10g/km at 119g/km.

Verso gains a new Trend grade for 2014, introducing an extra dash of style and some high-tech equipment features to the specification. Slotting into the range between the Icon and Excel models, the Trend versions are easy to distinguish thanks to a black C-pillar decal that creates a floating roof effect – a styling feature shared with the latest Yaris Trend. They also have their own five-spoke alloy wheel design, front fog lamps and rear privacy glass.

Building on the Icon grade specification, Trend models benefit from Toyota Touch 2 with Go, adding satellite navigation, connected services, Google Street View and TomTom real time traffic data to the multimedia system’s functions.

Being an MPV, driving thrills certainly aren’t at the top of the priority list. However, the new 1.6 diesel affords the Verso with increased driveability and flexibility with a smooth power delivery, thanks to a decent amount of torque spread throughout the rev range. The six-speed manual gearbox is also slick and easy to operate, although the steering is very light and devoid of much in the way of feel. Still, the suspension of this 1.6 diesel is noticeably sharper and more composed than the rest of the range. A high driving position and decent all-round visibility make the Verso an easy car to place on the road and park.

Despite its compact exterior dimensions, Verso offers flexible and spacious accommodation. Entry level Active models are available with either five or seven seats, but all other variants get seven as standard and Toyota’s  Easy Flat system provides a staggering 32 different seat configurations, with the ability to have a completely flat load floor. However, at 440 litres (rear seats down), and only 155 litres (all seats up), the boot isn’t anywhere near as big as those found in key rivals. Up front there’s good provision for storage of odds and ends, with a pair of gloveboxes and a large centre cubby, although the door pockets good be wider.

Build quality and cabin presence isn’t quite up with the best, with a rather uninspiring and blank looking dashboard design, although the speedo and rev counter are set high up on the facia, to make for easy reading at-a-glance.

All versions of Verso bar the entry level Active model are equipped as standard with the Toyota Touch 2, the latest evolution of Toyota’s touchscreen-operated multimedia system. The package includes Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls and sending and receipt of text messages; a rear-view camera; vehicle information, including trip data, climate control profile (where fitted); and management of settings for door locking and lighting.

Toyota Touch 2 with Go, standard on the 2014 Verso Trend and an option on Icon and Excel models, adds a range of extra functions and advanced connectivity, all controlled using the same touchscreen system.



Recent styling and engine revisions help Toyota’s seven-seat MPV to more convincingly compete with popular rivals from Renault, Ford and Vauxhall.


Tech spec:

Toyota Verso 1.6 D-4D Excel
OTR Price: £23,995
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl diesel
Power: 110bhp
Torque: 270Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 12.7 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Economy: 62.8mpg
CO2: 119g/km