Produced between 2001-04 the Toyota Corolla Verso never really got the attention it deserved in the UK. It was marketing that let this car down, as it received far less praise than its popular main competitors like the Citroen Xsara Picasso and the Vauxhall Zafira. Other Corolla hatchbacks received much greater marketing as cars you could be proud of, whilst the Verso mini-MPV was largely ignored.
Toyota produced three different trims and three different engines for the Corolla Verso. In 2004 the car was also given a face-lift, with revisions made across the range to the interior and exterior styling. Although the Corolla Verso may not be the coolest choice around, it is a sturdy car that will treat you well.
Bang for your buck
The exterior looks of this car is what will divide a lot people. From the front and the rear it looks good, but from the side the car does have a very quirky window line. It's not so much that you either love it or hate it, but that if you buy one you accept your car won't be winning any beauty contests.
However don't let it fool you. The interior layout and design of the Corolla Verso is streamlined and the engine is fantastic. You won't get many jealous looks from the neighbours, but you will get a great car that you will grow to love.
You have your choice of the T2, T3 and T Spirit models, all available with either a 1.6l or a 1.8l petrol engine, or the D4-D diesel option. Most go for the sportier 1.8l version, by the diesel engine is by far the best choice, especially for fuel efficiency.
Inside you don't have seven seats, but you do have a huge range of options for arranging those you do have. The rear seats can be flipped down, taken out or moved backwards and forwards. There is also plenty of room for luggage even if you are full loaded up on passengers.
What you'll pay
Due to the Toyota Corolla Verso's rarity and reliability they still can fetch quite high prices on the used market. Prices can range up to £7000 and a bit more for the top of the T Spirit models that have been taken care of. You can still pick up a solid lower end model for around half that if you look, but you will also pay extra for the automatic versions.
What to check
Just like the other cars in the Corolla range the Verso is known for its reliability. There is nothing to really watch out for with this car, the engine and interior are incredibly hard-wearing. If it has a complete service record then even better.
You may want to check the seat mountings to make sure there has been no damage done when removing the seats, but this is honestly not a big issue to worry about as the seat mechanism is also sturdy and reliable if taken care of.
The price for parts from Toyota is unfortunately a bit higher in the UK than they would be for some other similar cars on the road. Though recently the company did have its pricing policy scrutinised so now many prices have either been frozen or reduced.
You can expect to pay around £330 for a new exhaust, £150 for a starter motor, but for some reason about £200 for a new headlamp. The revisions made to the price of parts has reduced insurance premiums as repair costs have also gone down.
How it drives
The sportier 1.8l engine is definitely worth the extra cost, but this is not to discount the smaller 1.6l option which is also a very solid engine. The extra speed of the 1.8l is probably what most people would prefer, though you still probably won't be winning many drag races. Of course there is also the diesel option which will give you excellent fuel economy.
What the approved used Toyota Corolla Verso lacks in speed and looks it makes up for with its smooth and reliable ride. There might be more cars on the road from other manufactures that are similar, but this does not mean you should overlook the Verso if you are in the market for a great mini-MPV that won't let you down.