By BRENWIN NAIDU
VERSO is an appropriate name for Toyota’s family-orientated multi-purpose vehicle. I’m guessing it is not simply by chance, that the “ver” syllable features in its name, and the word, versatile.
Recently a continuously variable transmission (CVT) option was added to the range, bringing the kind of comfort and ease-of-use that comes with not having to swap cogs manually. This CVT gearbox can be had with the 1.8-litre model, in its SX guise.
Toyota‘s press machine says that the Verso has also undergone some changes in the looks department. And while we’re not disputing this, we have to say that it is hard to spot the tweaks – less observant people would probably not notice.
At the rear, there’s some new privacy glass – this features in all models in the Verso range. The rear lights have been given some LED treatment, and if you go for the TX version, you’ll get powerful high impact discharge (HID) head lights, also fitted with a nifty cleaning system – this TX also gets parking sensors. The SX and TX models are also the recipients of new alloy wheel designs.
Keeping with the times, an auxilliary port for music players and iPods has been added to the Verso’s cabin. Some embellishments to spruce-up the Verso’s lounge have also been added, like silver accents for the gearlever, steering wheel and other controls. Some models even get silver stitching on the upholstery.
Now, while this updated Verso might look quite similar to the pre-facelift one, it appears as if there are some real improvements. For example, this new one is 70mm longer than the 2009 version, and it’s 20mm wider. It has enabled the folks at Toyota to employ the practical Easy Flat 7 feature, which allows some 32 – yes, 32, seat configurations. As is the case with most multi-purpose vehicles, the Verso is abound with storage compartments – ideal for all those things you’re going to need, if you’re using this as a family mobile.
In terms of engines, you’ve got the choice of two petrol engines, and one diesel. The 1.6-litre engine produces 97-kilowatts and 160 Newton-metres of torque, and the larger 1.8-litre engine has an output of 108-kilowatts and 180 Newton-metres. The turbocharged diesel powerplant kicks out 93-kilowatts, and a pretty sizeable figure of 310 Newton-metres of torque. Optimal Drive is Toyota’s moniker for economy-enhancing technologies, and all Verso models boast Optimal Drive wizardry.
Expect to pay around R244 400 to get into the Verso range, R283,500 if you want the CVT model and R311 700 if you prefer the top-of-the-range diesel TX model.