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First drive: Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.

First drive: Toyota Proace Verso
Toyota's new Proace Verso is for those that prioritise space and flexibility.


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Toyota Proace Verso

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Van-based people carriers will never appeal to those that place style above space and ultimate versatility, but Toyota's new Proace Verso makes a good stab at being all things to all people.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Toyota Proace Verso 2.0 D-4D 150 Family
Price: starts at 26,050, 32,930 as tested
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, eight-seat MPV
CO2 emissions: 139g/km (Band E, 130 per year)
Combined economy: 53.2mpg
Top speed: 105mph
0-62mph: 11.0 seconds
Power: 150hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 370Nm at 2,000pm

What's this?

The Proace Verso is Toyota's latest MPV, which also happens to be a passenger version of its new van. Like the van, the Verso model too will come in three different body lengths while Toyota will also offer buyers three different specifications: Shuttle, Family and VIP. Each suits a different task, though it is the mid-range Family version tested there that is perhaps most applicable to private buyers.

At launch it will be available in the Compact (4,606mm) and Medium (4,956mm) lengths, both of which can easily fit into regular car spaces and multi-storey car parks. Sliding side doors add to the convenience factor when parking and on the more expensive VIP model these are electrically operated.

With seating for up to eight, the Proace Verso Family will tick a lot of boxes for those who often find themselves carrying extra passengers. The middle and third row each have three seats, and each seat back reclines individually. Both rows are made up of a single and a double seat and these also slide forward and back on floor-mounted rails, again adding to versatility. Alternatively, it is just as easy to remove some or all of the seats thus effectively converting it back into a van - providing you have somewhere at home to store the seats.

The interior is better finished than you may expect for a van-derived passenger vehicle. Toyota has been keen to stamp its mark on the Proace Verso given that it was developed almost entirely by the PSA Group (Citroen and Peugeot) as part of a joint partnership. While the eagle-eyed may spot some familiar switchgear the quality of the materials used inside the Toyota is spot on for a car in this category, combining hard-wearing functionality with an aesthetically pleasing finish. A Premium Pack that adds leather upholstery and a panoramic roof that makes the cabin feel airier is available to enhance that further.

How does it drive?

Functionality may be the key objective of the Proace Verso, but when it comes to how it handles and performs on the road it scores well. It may be a seat-filled van, but the refinement levels on the move are surprisingly good. Up front, the engine noise is kept at bay, and the taller driving position gives you an SUV-like view of the road ahead. There is also a useful head up display, something not often available in cars like this.

The 150hp turbocharged diesel engine has more than adequate levels of power, while the six-speed manual gearbox feels solid and won't have you constantly swapping between gears. Toyota says that it will return around 53mpg on the combined cycle though we'd expect that figure to drop a bit if you've got plenty of passengers on board.

In towns and cities, the Proace Verso is quite manoeuvrable with a decent amount of steering lock too. There's reasonably good all-round visibility, with well-sized door mirrors as well, although parking sensors aren't a standard fit item. On the open road, the Toyota responds surprisingly well. It is happy to sit in fifth or sixth gear without the engine ever feeling particularly laboured. The steering isn't overly light and through bends it stays fairly level and composed, though it isn't a car that you feel encouraged to push on in. Useful features such as standard cruise control and a speed limiter make longer journeys that bit easier, though.


While it may not be as sleek and stylish as some MPVs on the market today, the Toyota Proace Verso does nail versatility and space. And even though it may share much with a van, it does make a good effort at bringing some inoffensive looks to what could otherwise have been a box on wheels. If you find yourself doing school runs during the week and mountain biking on the weekends, or you love driving holidays with the family, the Proace Verso could be right up your street.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain

Dave Humphreys - 13 Sep 2016    - Toyota road tests
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- Proace Verso images

2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.

2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.2017 Toyota Proace Verso. Image by Toyota.


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