10 June 2004

When Toyota’s new seven-seater Corolla Verso greeted its prospective UK buyers at the NEC last week, it showed off a number of impressive firsts. Among them were five rear seats that fold completely flat, and nine standard airbags. The most impressive, however, trumps even the new Renault Modus’ swiveling headlamps – a nose mounted camera system that enables the driver to see around corners.

Toyota’s Cornering Assist Monitor is a £2,300 option on range-topping T-Spirit Versos, combined with rear parking monitors and DVD satellite navigation system. By means of two miniature cameras mounted underneath the car’s grille badge, it relays real-time views on both sides of the vehicle to a dashboard display screen. This allows the driver to simultaneously check for potential hazards on both sides of the car, and to see past obstructions more quickly when ‘nosing out’ of junctions.

It comes as a welcome addition on a midi-MPV. With their extended and steeply-raking A-pillars, the adapted people-movers have been criticized for their compromised visibility.

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