The Toyota brand has become synonymous with high quality Japanese engineering, supreme reliability and cutting edge design. With the Avensis Verso, Toyota stepped into the arena of the mid-sized MPV which had become a highly contested market over the last decade.
The Toyota Avensis had been in production since 1997 and in utilising traditional saloon and hatchback designs had become a very popular line for Toyota. Released in 2001, the Avensis Verso used a completely different chassis to the original Avensis range to create a unique take on the MPV vehicle. The Verso featured a seven seat layout and choice of powerful 2 litre engines which meant that it could compete well with its rivals; notably the Citroen Picasso
and the Vauxhall Zafira
. In reality, its high price point may have put a lot of potential buyers off, as sales were less than satisfactory. A 2003 redesign refreshed the car visually with new trim including headlamps, bumpers and introduced new engine configurations.
With the impeccable record of the Toyota brand and lots of choice in trim and engine specification, potential buyers looking for an MPV car should feel confident buying a used Avensis Verso.
Bang for your buck
Space is the biggest consideration in an MPV especially when it is carrying 7 passengers. By relocating the fuel tank and the spare wheel Toyota have managed to squeeze in extra passenger room and provide a reasonable amount of room for luggage. The approved used Avensis Verso accomplishes this with the additional help of a lengthy wheelbase, which at 2.8 metres allows Toyota to cut the overall height of the car and produce a uniquely balanced vehicle. This creates a low centre of gravity which inspires confidence in the driver, especially in the corners. This is somewhat of a rarity in the MPV car market as many other manufacturers' cars can feel a little top heavy.
The Avensis Verso for sale offers a range of different seating configurations which make it particularly attractive to large families. The whole second row of seats can be folded away or taken out completely and can even be converted into tables, increasing space for the rear passengers. The volume of available space and the intelligence of convertible options are so extensive that the car could even be used as a holiday camper.
What you'll pay
The Toyota Avensis Verso was not a big seller on release and so there is a distinct lack of used cars on the market. Even a used 2001 model can command as much as £8000. A diesel model can add around 10% to the price. The good news is that the Verso will have often had very careful owners which means they offer good used car value and very sensible insurance prices. The petrol model is rated at insurance group 8-9.
What to check
The exterior bodywork and engineering of Toyota cars have a reputation that is second to none. Buyers should be confident that the Verso has no inherent problems which afflict other manufacturers MPV vehicles. However, as the car is most likely to have been used by families with small children, finding an example with good interior trim may prove more difficult. As the car will have been used for urban 'stop/start' driving, be sure to double check the clutch for excessive wear.
Service schedules are every 10,000 miles on the used Toyota Avensis Verso, so consumables will be the major outlay. Air and fuel filters are both under £30, oil filters are around £15 and spark plugs are less than £5.
How it drives
It's not only the space that is impressive with the Toyota Avensis Verso as a good range of engine options ensures the motorist excellent value. The diesel D-4D model offers a competitive 43.5mpg and generates a standing to sixty acceleration of just 11.2 seconds; not bad for a big car. As a family car safety is of paramount importance to Toyota. The Verso has one of shortest stopping distances of any MPV due to its super-efficient braking system which is enhanced by an electronic force distribution system. A low overall weight of just 1445kg, combined with the aforementioned low centre of gravity makes for a refined ride and satisfying handling which can often elude some of the bigger MPV vehicles. As in all Toyota cars the gear-change is solid smooth and assured. Additional options are available on special edition models which further enhance the silky gear system by offering an automatic transmission that can be controlled by a paddle lever system on the dashboard.