Motoring review: Toyota Verso Excel

'The ideal family car if you want peace and quiet'

Price: £23,445

Engine capacity: 2.0-litre 4 cylinder diesel

Power Output (BHP @ rpm): 125 @ 3,600

Top Speed (mph): 115

0-60 mph (seconds): 11.3

Fuel economy (mpg): 53.3

CO2 emissions (g/km): 129

Everybody loves a road trip don’t they? There’s nothing better than setting up your playlist, stocking up on snacks and hitting the road, as I did recently on a trip to the Lake District. I had my closest friends in the back of the new Toyota Verso seven-seater and good times were ahead.

First the good news; the new Verso is one of the quietest MPVs I’ve driven in a while and on the motorway it hums along smoothly, with little intrusive road noise and without any fuss over Britain’s pothole-marked roads. Now for the bad news; this silence and serenity sent my once-chatty occupants to sleep soon after we joined the M6. There were to be no sepia-tinted road-trip  memories for us, just me at the wheel with  the DAB radio turned down low and 300  miles ahead of us.

Never mind, this did at least mean I was able to take stock of the new Verso in isolation. Mine was the top of the range model with a fancy touch-screen control unit and a mild dose of leather, but even the mid-range Icon model gets 16ins alloy wheels, Bluetooth, electric rear windows, a rear-view camera, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a DAB radio.

Toyota has really packed this car with kit and priced it keenly against its MPV rivals – there’s even a chilled glove box for your lunch. In a family car this is a fantastic little detail and one I’ve not seen before on a non-luxury set of wheels. My slumbering road-trip companions particularly enjoyed me explaining this function in great detail, just before I moved on to a short lecture on the Verso’s cruise control system and four cylinder engine.

They did not stir, perhaps because the Verso isn’t a thrilling car to drive (or be a passenger in). The brakes have a worrying level of travel at times and the engine is lacklustre – but that’s not the point. The Verso is all about practicality and looking behind me at my unconscious passengers, we’d just about manage to fit six adults and all our weekend bags in a car really only designed for four adults and the occasional extra passenger on the third row of seats.

Over 600 miles of motoring the only real letdown (have I mentioned how well the fridge went down?) was its fuel economy, which I struggled to get much above 40mpg. Come to think of it, could it be that my 25-minute lecture on fuel economy may have sent my occupants to sleep. Is it  possible that I have become a car bore?

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