Toyota Verso 1.6 D-4D 2014 review

17 Apr, 2014 4:30pm Jonathan Burn

Can BMW diesel power transform family-focused compact seven-seater Toyota Verso?


The more frugal and refined 1.6 diesel injects some much needed verve into the compact Toyota Verso. It may lack a bit of punch, but it’s the most efficient engine available in the range. You can carry seven people in the Toyota at a push – yet for similar money you can get your hands on a more practical, faster and efficient MPV from the likes of Renault and Citroen.

The compact seven-seat Toyota Verso is the first model from the brand to feature a BMW-sourced 1.6-litre diesel. It’s essentially the same engine that was used in the previous-generation MINI Cooper D – but how does it fare in the family-focused Verso on UK roads?

The unit has less power and torque than the 2.0 diesel it replaces: it delivers 110bhp and 270Nm, which represent drops of 12bhp and 40Nm respectively. But you wouldn’t know it, as it pulls strongly and the Verso picks up nicely from low down in the rev range.

Toyota has also tweaked the engine mounts to help deliver that power more smoothly, with things remaining hushed at low speeds. But press on past 3,000rpm and it begins to sound gruff and quickly runs out of steam.

Numb handling and limited braking feel also undo some of Toyota’s good work, but new springs give a cushioned ride. Shortcomings in performance are made up for by reduced running costs as the smaller engine is cleaner and more efficient, returning a claimed 62.8mpg and emitting 119g/km of CO2. The old 2.0-litre engine could do 57.6mpg.

Although an improvement, the Verso still can’t match its main European rivals from Renault or Citroen. It falls short on practicality, too. The Toyota’s one of the smallest seven-seat MPVs in its class, which makes it easy to park or drive in congested city streets, but significantly eats into space in the cabin.

The 440-litre boot is way off the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso’s 632-litre load area, and the third row of seats is a little too cramped. On the plus side, the flat floor means you can seat three adults in the middle row, while the simple tumble-and-fold seating mechanism leaves a perfectly flat loading bay.

Our top-spec Excel was well kitted out with Touch 2 infotainment, a rear-view camera, DAB radio and dual-zone climate control as standard. Unfortunately, the interior lacks any sort of sparkle, dulled by the flimsy materials and bare dash.

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Toyota verso, a very nice car.

Having looked very closely at the Verso as a possible next car, I have the opinion that this has badly under-rated it and there is no comparable Renault or Citroen.

The Toyota is far better than a similar Renault, Volkswagen or Citroen. The fit and finish is excellent not to mention the far better durbility compared with Renault etc.

If you're comparing against Renault's of old, yes. The latest Scenic came fourth in a reliability survey and the one my dad owned for 3.5 years, 50,000 miles during a hard life of hauling people, trailers and caravans was completely faultless.

Cabin fit and finish made it a nice place to be as well as durable unlike the dowdy Toyota.

Don't make sweeping statements!

You're right. There's nothing French that has such a dated interior design. The interior in these pictures is more comparable to the Xsara Picasso!

No, the French cars are in a lower league. For real reasons of being a father and family man I appreciate the Verso much more. Your subjective "dated" opinion is not only wrong but immature and geekish.

Oh so you have a one-off anecdote to prove your point? How very scientific. What a Bellend.

You could call it subjective but you could also more accurately describe it as popular opinion. French cars are not in a lower league at all, you could raise reliability as the biggest difference but Toyota's aren't built like they once were so the gap has narrowed significantly.

On the original point, I'm sure Toyota know themselves that they do not produce stylish cars, but instead target a market who yearn for 'beige' in their lives.

I've already said elsewhere on this forum that my dad owned a 2010 model for over 3 years and was faultless.

Are you speaking from experience yourself or are you stereotyping?

(And let's keep it civil!)

**I Really Like the Toyota Verso , I Must Say I Really Did Not want one to Hire For 3 Days I wanted a S Max or Zafira but I was Pleasently Suprised when this was all they had left, I didn't want to like it Because of its Image but it was so Nice & Smooth to Drive with a 6 Speed gearbox Smooth & Slick Changes & It was Quick to 2.0 D4D I Think or 2.2 D4D ? A Quick Car a Real Wolf in Sheeps Clothing & With All the Family in awell, an effortless drive From Middlesbrough To Oxford then Reading & Back Again I'd Done over 600 Miles in 1 Day & The Car Was Faultless & Economical Even with my foot down all the way it was a Family Wedding See & We were Running Late so 120 mph all the way & back, A Really Lovely Place/Interior to be in Comfortable & Simple Not A Clutter, Nice Seats, Handling, Brakes, A Quiet & Refind Engine To I Thought it was a Petrol Seriously, I'd love to own one but My Budget Want Allow :-( . Forget the Reviews You Really DON'T KNOW UNTIL YOU DRIVE A CAR FOR YOURSELF !**

Just bought a new Picasso after looking at all the current crop of small MPV's.

The Verso is dreadful and feels very cheap and dated inside, the doors sound tinny when being shut and the interior economics are dreadful.

The Scenic is very dated and desperate for an update, the 500XL is the elephant man in the room but had some very clever touches inside, engine range is limited though.

The new Picasso is a leap in front of its competitors at the moment, why else is it winning so many awards.

So I had an open mind when looking around, I think you obviously are not.

reliability index: toyota 4th place, citroen 16th, renault 22nd.

stereotypes exist because they tend to be based in fact.

people don't want beige in their lives, (buying a french car hardly makes you a rebel).
no, what people want is a car that works perfectly every time. futhermore if you're paying for the car (as oppossed to get a company leased one) and are planning to keep it for more than just three years then the the french cars cannot compete. toyota is the world's largest car manufacturer for a reason.

Key specs

  • Price: £22,295
  • 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
  • On sale: Now