It’s unlikely that many Toyota Verso-S buyers will be seeking scintillating performance, but the sheer effort required to wring reasonable out-of-town speeds from the Toyota’s 1329cc petrol motor is more than you would have to expend in plenty of other small petrol-powered cars.
In the sprint to 60mph we managed 12.1sec, which on paper is perfectly acceptable, but in practice the buzzy engine is never a relaxing or enjoyable motor to use. Despite the Verso-S’s low weight, the engine feels strained even at normal motorway speeds and doesn’t provide the flexibility that you require for easy progress on a typical B-road.
This is not a car that needs to be fast, and it is responsive enough for the urban roads on which it will most often be driven. But it is nonetheless a shame that the Verso-S requires such hard work when it is taken outside the confines of the low-speed urban environment.
At this price point there are plenty of other, equally practical cars that are more at ease with the task of being driven at a brisk motorway clip. The Verso-S, on the other hand, can leave you feeling exposed due to the engine’s lack of response at higher speeds.
Refinement is not what you would hope for at higher speeds, either. The engine is very hushed at lower revs, but road and wind noise intrudes noticeably at other times, so that even when the engine isn’t in its vocal upper ranges the Verso-S can be a less than calming way to travel.
The brakes on the Verso-S are very good in terms of outright stopping power and feel further down the brake pedal travel, even if the initial bite is a little sharp. Despite only having drums at the rear, the brakes stood up well to hard use throughout our testing.