Fleet News

Toyota Corolla T3 Verso



CRITICS of television programmes are quick to claim that some of the best writing and direction appears in the adverts that break the monotony of terrible dramas and endless soaps.

Take the latest series of adverts for the new Toyota Corolla, including the new Verso mini-MPV which has become the latest addition to our long term test fleet.

Each advert shows people with the car, apparently being the owners, only for the director to reveal it is someone else's car and people are pretending it is theirs as they want a Corolla so much. It certainly beats cars racing along empty winding roads or passing exploding corn fields.

Toyota is so confident of its new lower-medium contender, it offers the car at a premium price, almost equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf, under a new badging policy — T2, T3, TSprint and TSport.

Our test model, the T3 Verso, costs £15,495 without extras, although Toyota has kindly provided satellite navigation and metallic paint, which bump the price up to £17,020.

Its basic price pitches it at the top end of rivals' price ranges, although Toyota claims that it has more standard equipment.

This includes driver and passenger front and side airbags, ABS with electronic brake distribution, trip computer, power steering, electric front windows, electric mirrors, CD player and removable rear seats, which also recline.

The adverts capture some of the car's best sides, in particular the eye-catching front-grille, although I much prefer the overall look of the three and five-door models. However, it avoids the unusually dumpy looks of its smaller sibling, the Yaris Verso.

The car's 2.0-litre D-4D engine achieves a claimed 45.5mpg combined, which I have matched, although this is only according to the car's trip computer. Once a couple of tankfuls of fuel have been through the engine, I will give you an independent figure.

With a CO2 figure of 164g/km, the Verso falls into the 18% tax band under the new CO2-based company car tax regime, including the 3% diesel penalty, equivalent to a tax bill of £613 for the basic T3 Verso.

Inside, anyone familiar with other Toyota models, particularly the Previa, will recognise the switchgear immediately. It is all well put together, as you would expect from a Toyota, although rear seat passengers have complained the seat base is too short to be comfortable for all but the shortest of journeys.

Folding the rear seats seems straightforward, although it is achieved by tugging on a small loop of material poking out of the lower part of the seat back. I would much prefer the simple push button system in the top of the seat, as favoured in some hatchbacks.

On the road, I feared the diesel engine would be a major disappointment when I first set off, as it seemed very loud, but once up to speed, it becomes almost inaudible.

Power delivery is smooth, instead of a surge between 2,000 and 3,000 as in many diesels, although the amount of power available is just adequate.

However, despite this performance, I have yet to see people copying the adverts and trying to have their picture taken with the car. I will update you when the next long term test appears.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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