The Verso is relaxing to drive, with plenty of oomph and civilised handling
Robust if rather plain cabin, with simple dash that's easy to use
Ticks all the boxes, including curtain airbags for all the side windows
Should prove sound
Roomy for five but tight for seven
Good equipment provision even in entry-level trim
The Toyota Verso is relaxing to drive, with suspension that absorbs bumps well and little sway on corners, which is good news if any of your passengers are prone to motion sickness. The 2.0-litre diesel engine has plenty of punch almost from the word go, and though it is a bit noisy at low revs it calms down at higher speeds. Unfortunately there's no automatic option with the diesel, though you can get an auto with either of the 1.6- or 1.8-litre petrol engines available.
The cabin is a bit dour and plasticky but it's easy to get used to, despite the centrally positioned instruments. High-set seats, a raised gearstick and fully adjustable steering wheel make it easy for the driver to get comfortable, and visibility is good all round. There's plenty of space for passengers in the front two rows but the rearmost pair of seats are only suitable for children, and there's only just enough space behind them for a slim-folding pushchair. Fold them down, however, and the boot could manage holiday luggage for four at a push. The middle-row seats are a bit stiff to fold but all three slide and recline individually. Entry-level cars have electric front windows, air-con and hill-start assist. Icon trim adds alloys, Bluetooth, rear electric windows, a rear-view camera and a DAB radio, while Excel brings leather seats, keyless entry and automatic headlights and wipers. All models have Isofix fittings, with top-tether points, on the outer middle-row seats.
The Verso's cabin feels solid enough to stand up to the rigours of family life. Toyotas normally have excellent mechanical reliablity, too, and the previous incarnation of the Verso scored four out of five stars for reliability in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey. It also has a five-year/100,000-mile warranty. There's a long rosta of safety equipment including stability control, active front-seat head restraints, a driver's kneebag and cabin-length curtain airbags which take in the rearmost seats.
The Toyota Verso isn't especially spacious or clever, but its relaxing driving manners and solid build give it considerable appeal, as do its competitive running costs: the 2.0-litre diesel has a claimed fuel economy of 57.6mpg with emissions of 129g/km. There are some reasonable discounts available from dealers, though the Verso will be worth less of its original price when you come to sell on than rivals such as the Peugeot 5008.