Toyota has also used this model-year refresh to introduce a new mid-range trim level to the Verso range. Called Trend, it bundles some of the most wanted items of optional kit together at a lower price. Verso Trends come with 17in alloy wheels, sat-nav, a reversing camera, front parking sensors, front foglights and privacy glass, so they’re good value.
But they also come with something Toyota calls a ‘floating roof effect’, as a supposed stylish point of difference. This actually means they have put an ugly black sticker over the car’s D-pillar, which just about creates the illusion of pillarlessness from a distance. At dusk. Sometimes. From normal range it just looks cheap and superfluous.
The Verso’s cabin is broadly pleasant, well finished and spacious, but here, too, a few places show the same uncharacteristic lack of attention to detail from Toyota. The instruments are offset into the centre of the fascia, away from your eyeline, apparently just for the sake of it; no extra oddment storage is created as a result. The fascia is smart, with one or two nice chrome trims, but it lacks colour and life.
The interior door handles feel flimsy and poorly finished. There’s decent passenger room, with second-row seats that tumble and slide independently, but none of the surprise practical features we’ve come to expect in the class. There’s just a telling lack of imagination and commitment about the fixtures and fittings.
The Verso’s driving experience, however, shows more careful consideration. The new diesel is as quiet and smooth as any in the class; particularly so at a steady cruise. It’s economical, too, returning 50mpg in mixed real-world use very readily, and closer to 60mpg if you’re economical of style. There’s no more low-end turbo lag to drive around than in many downsized diesels, and high-range flexibility is good.
Handling is assured and stable and body control is good, while the Verso steers accurately and with consistency of weight. It’s a precise, secure and obliging sort of a drive, although fairly humdrum. The car rides tidily, too, its dampers reining in body movement with some subtlety.