Car Test   R0241
May 2002
  Toyota Corolla Verso
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 2.0 D-4D (diesel)
In the past, the main reason for opting for a Corolla (of which nearly 30 million have been made) had to be its reliability. It epitomized the mass-production principle of quality through volume - if you do it enough times and stick to what you know is well-proven, you can make it cheap and good. The only snag is that the result is often bland and unlikely to be a trendsetter in any aspect.
   There are signs that greater European influence has resulted in a bit more adventurousness in this latest version’s design - but not much.
   It certainly looks the part - both inside and out, it follows the Euro-norm in matters of trim and ergonomics, and its remodelled styling (the five-door is shorter, yet wider and taller) follows the current trend.
   Significantly, however, the three-door is no longer shorter than the five, and the estate version now has a true MPV alternative, for buyers with a more complicated domestic lifestyle. We sampled this five-seater Verso version with Toyota’s direct-injection, up-to-the-minute diesel engine. It becomes a shade gruff at higher speed, but its lower-rev manners are sweeter than those of some European rivals.
   Although the higher-powered version would lift its overtaking ability from so-so to 'interesting', at present you’ll have to settle for 89bhp in this MPV. The alternative 1.8 petrol version has the power, but for most of the time it sounds more uncouth.
   The 1.6 petrol version is smoother and quieter in the hatchback- until you’re close to the legal limit or revving through the gears; even then it’s not stressed, just vocal.
   The Verso costs £1700 more than the hatch (but just £700 if your alternatives are estate or Verso).
   Curiously, we prefer the driving position in the Verso. Its ride and handling seems just as good too. The hatch’s back seats are more cosy and, up to a point, it offers good adaptability between the needs of people and luggage.
   However, the Verso’s greater cargo volume, with all seats occupied, will be the clincher for many people - especially as the back seat can slide forwards to enhance that space, as well (something the Corolla hatch doesn’t perform).
   We would be quite happy with the T2 (basic) trim level, except for the absence of any form of air conditioning. Otherwise, its equipment is generous, especially in matters of safety and security.
   Lovers of their own pre-recorded cassette tapes are finally frustrated, however- every Corolla has a CD player.
  considering size, price and rivals
Overtaking Ability
Fuel Economy
Security, theft of  not available
theft from  not available
  • lots of lined (skid proof) oddment spots
  • rear centre armrest-cum-table
  • displays always easy/clear to read
  • arrow on fuel gauge points to filler cap
  • seat height adjuster heavy-going
  • A-posts prominent and at a distance
  • enlarged load floor uneven (under seat)
  • no wheel reach adjustment
If the latest version of the Corolla hatch had been launched five years ago, it would have been hailed as a trendsetter. However, such is the rate of progress in this all-important market-sector, that we now welcome it as a worthy variation on an established theme. The Verso is different. Because it’s a Toyota (built in Japan, as well), it’s good enough to be preferred to European five-seater-only MPV’s. Why? Because its road manners, accommodation, and adaptability match all except the Zafira, with the prospect of superior reliability.

engine 1955cc, 4cylinder turbo-diesel; 89bhp at 4000rpm, 158lbft at 2200rpm. Chain-driven double overhead camshafts, 16valves with direct injection, common-rail fuelling   transmission 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive; 26.0mph/1000rpm in 5th, 19.5 in 4th
suspension front: independent damper/struts with integral coil springs rear: torsion beam (dead) axle, coil springs   steering electric power-assistance; 3.2 turns lock to lock; 10.6m diameter turning circle between kerbs. (16.65m for one turn of the wheel)
brakes ventilated discs front, solid discs rear with anti-lock and brake-force distribution control standard   wheels/tyres 6in alloy with 195/60R15V on T3 test car (steel wheels on T2); full-size spare

size and type lower-medium (mid-priced) MPV   trim levels T2, T3, T Spirit
engines petrol: 4cylinder/1.6litre/109bhp; 4/1.8/133 diesel: 4/2.0/89   drive front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual (4-speed stepped automatic optional on 1.8 petrol)

HOW THE VERSO COMPARES engine (cyl/cc/bhp) revs at 70mph (rpm) 30-70 through gears (sec) 30-70mph in 4th/5th gears (sec) fuel (mpg/CO2) brakes from 50mph (kg/m) maximum legroom - front (cm) typical leg/kneeroom - rear (cm) steering turns/circle (m) overall length (cm)
Corolla Verso D4D 4/1995/89 2690 14.4 16.9/25.2 46/164 14/26 107 100/76+ 3.2/10.65 424
Renault Scenic 1.6 16vp 4/1598/110 3460 12.0 19.3/28.2 34.5/173 40/26 108 102/76+ 3.5/10.6 417
Fiat Multipla JTD 4/1910/110 2740 13.3 19.2/27.5 43.5/170 18/28.5 106 114/83+ 2.8/11.1 399
Citroen Picasso 2.0 HDi 4/1997/90 2480 14.0 18.6/27.0 50/147 16/26 106 95/72 3.3/12.0 428
Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 16vp 4/1598/100 3630 13.1 18.8/27.0 35.5/190 18/24.5 103 102/75 3.2/11.0 432
Nissan Almera Tino 2.2D 4/2184/114 2380 12.6 17.5/29.7 42/168 9/26.5 108 98/71 3.2/10.7 427
  + back seat fully rearwards  p petrol-engined version

Commanding, supportive driving position - good for tired spines! Superb dial lighting all the time, but speedo optimistic. Good rear vision, but prominent A-posts forwards. indicators too quiet
Competent cornering ability and (electric) power steering better than Civic's and others of this sort - light when manoeuvring but weights up at brisker pace. Good turning circle.
Bump suppression similar to hatch's - not quite in Picasso/Zafira class but good front seats and sensible aircon. Back seat roomy, but lacks real comfort, despite the recline facility.

Very impressive diesel, despite modest ultimate acceleration; pulls well from low down and it's smooth, too. It grows harsher past 60mph, however, and gearchange is notchy (in the linkage).
  acceleration in seconds through gears 4th gear 5th gear
  20-40 4.2 9.8 16.6
  30-50 5.3 7.9 14.0
  40-60 6.9 7.6 11.6
  50-70 9.1 9.0 11.2
  30-70 14.4 16.9 25.2
  max speed in each gear (* using 4400rpm for best acceleration)
     gear      1st*      2nd*      3rd*      4th*      5th
     speed (mph)      23.5      41      62.5      86      104 (4000rpm)

A thoroughly respectable result for an MPV - Toyota's (apparently reliable) figures indicate 109bhp intercooled version is almost as frugal - but it's not offered with Verso, at present.
  type of use (air conditioning off) AA test (mpg) 
    urban (17mph average/heavy traffic) 31
    suburban (27mph average/6.4 miles from cold start) 40
    motorway (70mph cruising) 43
    cross-country (brisk driving/20 miles from cold start) 47
    rural (gentle driving/20 miles from cold start) 54
    overall mpg 46
    realistic tank capacity/range 47/475
    official mpg (urban/extra urban/combined) 35.7/53.3/45.5
    CO2 emissions 164g/km
    car tax band C

Looks good with twin front and twin side airbags plus five lap and diagonal belts. Back seats can be raised to fit toddlers to the belts, as well as Isofix mounting for infants' seats.
  from 50mph (with ABS)
This model has not yet been
tested by EURO NCAP
pedal load     stopping distance
unhurried 10kg     32m
sudden 14kg     26m best stop
+4kg i.e. 18kg     26m
fade resistance/consistency    
Euro NCAP = European New Car Assessment Programme: independent crash safety tests evaluating protection for occupants and pedestrians in an offset frontal collision, side impacts and pedestrian strike conditions
click here for more NCAP details/test results etc.

No attempt to seat more than five, but back seats slide fore-and-aft, remove and fold forwards neatly, in 60/40 fashion. Lots of oddments spots (including below rear footwells), but cargo deck of modest size.
  length 424
  width - including mirrors 196
    - mirrors folded 171
  height 152 (inc roof bars)
  load sill height (inside/outside) 2/61
  turns lock-to-lock 3.2
  turning circle (metres) 10.6
  easy to park/garage?
  front - legroom 86-107
    - headroom 99-105s
  rear - typical legroom 90-100b
    - typical kneeroom 62-76b
    - headroom 96
    - hiproom 132-135b
  load area
  load space(all seats in use)
(litres/cu ft)
  load length 74-160
  load length to facia 250
  load width 90-131
  load height (to shelf / to top of aperture) 46-49 90
b back seat fully forwards/fully rearwards  s no sunroof

Convenient as well as effective, the handset is powerful and deadlocks also fitted; alarm optional. Key locks every door, but only unlocks driver's - not as good as two-stage unlocking.
central locking  
remote control  
remote window closing  
alarm (perimeter and interior)  
static self-locking   
two-stage unlocking   
attack-resistant glass   
key unlocks driver's door only (locks all)   
AA load area security rating
=standard    =option    =not available
NCSR - "theft of" not available
NCSR - "theft from" not available
NCSR = New Car Security Ratings: a 1 to 5 star system which rates anti-theft protection, both of the car itself and the theft of valuables from within the car
Visit for more details
© The Automobile Association Limited 2019