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July 10, 2013

Toyota Verso

Filed under: solar lighting — Tags: , — solaroutdoorlight @ 3:41 am

THE Toyota Verso comes in for a bit of a mid-life facelift, although those in the know will realise that not a lot needed doing to this very good seven-seat mini-MPV. A sharper look and better emissions for the diesel models are the headliners here.

There remains a choice of two petrol engines and two diesels. Those looking for a petrol model choose between a 1.6 or a 1.8-litre Valvematic. Both are matched to a six-speed manual gearbox, with the 1.8 optionally available with a revised Multidrive CVT that has been tuned to give more of a stepped gear-shift feel, with engine revs building in a way that’s more closely linked to vehicle acceleration.


Toyota has stiffened the chassis and tuned the front MacPherson strut and rear torsion beam suspension for a more comfortable ride. The electric power steering has been adjusted for better feel and feedback and the cabin has been made quieter by adding extra damping material and by developing smaller, more aerodynamic door mirrors.

This generation Verso first appeared in the UK in 2009; it looked fresh then. Since then, ever bolder MPV styles have hit the market and Toyota clearly felt that a sharper look was required.

The facelift chiefly addresses the usual targets of grille, lights and bumpers but it’s a neatly resolved job. The overall aim has been to make the Verso look low, long and wide and there’s an eye-catching trapezoidal grille and a horizontal bar across the front that extends into the narrower headlight units. These lights now incorporate LED daytime running lights and, on upper spec versions, there are High-Intensity Discharge lights available.

The Verso remains refreshingly free of the cheap attention-grabbing gimmicks so many other manufacturers employ to claw in sales. There is nothing that will turn heads or provoke comment. The styling updates are well-judged but the Verso’s shape is inherently low-key. So not a whole lot has really changed. If you’ve driven a Verso, you’ll know that this is very good news. If you’re a potential buyer who knows what’s important in a mini-MPV, it’s largely as you were.

The Verso formula remains the same; reliability, safety, versatility and honesty. There aren’t many rivals that get close.

The design features a heavily revised multi-link axle, as well as an electronic differential lock XDS integrated into the electronic stability control (ESC). This function improves the traction of the wheels and reduces the tendency to understeer in fast cornering. Electro-mechanical progressive steering provides accuracy and fast responses.

Available in either hatch or estate guise, the Octavia vRS features a front grille with honeycomb air intakes, a unique front bumper and led  fog lights as well as bi-xenon headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights.

Other highlights include the red-lacquered brake calipers and a choice of 17, 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels. You’ll get the best ride quality on the standard 17-inch Dorado alloys. I probably wouldn’t recommend the 19-inch wheels for this country’s roads although the Xtrem alloys do look great finished in black.

The Skoda Octavia vRS does nothing particularly radical – but then it doesn’t need to. It has established a profitable niche for itself in offering a model that’s presentable, rapid, discreet and which won’t break the bank.

Buying a quick car is no longer the no-brainer decision it once was, especially when the budgetary constraints of a growing family look likely to stymie your plans. The vRS offers all the solid common sense of the Skoda brand with more than enough about it to reassure anyone that they’re not on the fast track to pipe and slippersville.

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