V for Versatile – that’s Toyota’s practical Verso-S

The Toyota Verso-S is a well designed little car which is something of a tardis inside.

REVIEW AND ROAD TEST REPORT: Toyota Verso-S

V for Versatile sums up Toyota’s pocket-sized Verso-S. DAVID HOOPER, editor of wheelworldreviews.co.uk, finds plenty of clever ideas in a feature-packed car.

IT doesn’t take long to realise that a lot of careful thought has gone into the design of the Toyota Verso-S – and the result is a practical little car which is versatile and easy to live with.
Packed into its compact proportions are five seats, a good sized boot and a poky little 1.33-litre engine which quickly warms up on a cold morning.
A good start then, but it is just that, a start, because as I discovered, the longer you live with this car, the more you discover about its almost “hidden” talents.
Up front, the clear instrumentation is a boon, as is the arm rest on the side of the driver’s seat (the passenger doesn’t get one), but should you choose, you can easily slide across the interior of the car, perhaps if you got boxed into a tight parking space, because the gear stick which operates the smooth-shifting six-speed box is mounted on the dash, off the floor, creating an impression of space.
In the back, there is plenty of leg room for rear seat passengers, up to three of them, and again, the floor is flat with no lumps and bumps that the transmission tunnel creates in a lot of cars, meaning rear occupants have more room to move their feet.
Head room is also plentiful – you could say the sky’s the limit, as the panoramic glass roof on my test car lets rear seat passengers enjoy the view above them, which is a great feature.
It’s in the boot though, where the really clever stuff is to be found. First of all the floor of the boot can be horizontally adjusted, offering two different heights, changing the depth of the boot and space beneath it, which doubles as a handy cubby hole to hide things you want to keep out of sight.
The rear seats are divided in a 60/40 split, and by pulling a lever on either side of the car, the seat backs fold down all by themselves – it really couldn’t be simpler. Lifting the boot floor section into its higher position creates a flat load area should you need it. Of course, there’s a parcel shelf as well, which can be easily removed if you need extra height for carrying bulkier items.
The car costs £15,905, or add the nice Satin Blue Metallic paint my test car came with and the price jumps by £450 to £16,355 on the road.
The model I’ve been testing is the T Spirit version, the higher of the two trim grades available, the other being TR.
It’s nicely finished, although there’s plenty of dull plastic to be found in the interior, but on the plus side it’s hard-wearing and looks reasonably presentable.
My test car featured Toyota’s lively little 98bhp 1.33-litre engine under its bonnet which comes with either a six-speed manual gearbox, or a CVT, depending on your preference. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint takes 13.3 seconds and the top speed is reached when the needle is pointing at 106mph, but the engine has to be worked hard to extract any performance from it.
Toyota says this is the lightest car of its type in its class and when driven gently, according to the official figures 51.4mpg is achievable on the combined cycle, with 41.5 on the urban cycle and 58.9mpg on the extra urban, but during my test, the car returned an average of 39.8mpg which included the full mix of driving conditions. It emits 127g/km of C02 and has a BIK rating of 16 per cent.
On the road, the car drives quite well and is quiet around town, but is a little bit on the noisy side at motorway speeds, and because it is quite narrow and tall, I thought slightly stiffer springs and dampers would reduce body roll, which I found a little disconcerting at times.
The T Spirit model I’ve been driving comes with 16in alloy wheels, electric windows all round, the panoramic roof with an electric sunblind and rear privacy glass, which all set it apart from its sibling in the range.
V for Versatile sums up the Verso-S pretty well in my book – it’s a great little all-rounder, perfect for busy families on the go, with a spacious, practical interior, reasonable economy and a handy camera which shows you what is behind when you have to reverse into parking spaces.

Rating: ★★★★★☆

With a split-level boot, there are plenty of storage options.

THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: TOYOTA VERSO-S.
TOYOTA VERSO-S RANGE: From TR 1.33 VVT-i 5dr (£14,795) to T Spirit 1.33 VVT-i M-drive S 5dr (£17,065).
ENGINE: 1329cc, 98bhp four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 106mph. 0-62mph in 13.3 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 41.5mpg.
Country: 51.4mpg.
Combined: 58.9mpg.
Fuel tank: 42 litres.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 127g/km.
INSURANCE: Group 8.
PRICE: £16,355.
WARRANTY: 5 years/100,000 miles.
WEBSITE: www.toyota.co.uk
• All data correct at time of publication.
CLICK HERE and “Like” our Facebook page for regular updates and follow us on Twitter