The new Toyota Verso-S is excellent family car with a sporty twist.
Although this Class E vehicle may look a bit squat and compact, once you climb inside the vehicle you will be surprised just how much legroom and headspace you will find.
The Verso is a five-door model and boasts a decent size trunk to fit all the baggage of a blossoming family.
It is a reassuringly comfortable machine to drive and its 1.4-litre engine gives you good acceleration to zip around town.
The Verso’s price tag just tops the 40k scales at $43,000 — and with this brand new Toyota you are getting a durable and reliable vehicle that is economical to drive as well.
This Toyota model may look simple and straightforward from the outside — but it is filled with funky little accessories like the Sports mode, the single front windscreen wiper and remote controlled car stereo.
It comes with automatic gearbox as standard, but you can also nudge your way up and down the gears with the step-tronic option. Added to this is the extra option of the gear paddles that are attached to the steering wheel if you fancy feeling a little bit like a Formula One driver out on the track.
The steering wheel also boasts stereo controls so you can operate the sound system without taking your hands off the wheel.
The Verso sports electric windows in the front, but reverts to the traditional manual option in the back seats.
There are extra safety features like front and side air bags as well as central locking that make this a safe and secure vehicle to drive your children around in.
It feels sturdy and robust to drive and because of its shape parking is a doddle.
The front dashboard sports everything that a modern car should have from the four front air conditioning vents to keep the summer heat at bay, a nifty looking CD player that can be controlled by a hand held remote, to a USB port to plug in your iPod or MP3 player and blast out all your favourite songs.
The car’s Sport mode can be activated by simply pressing down on a button in the central dashboard.
It is designed to make the car quicker through the corners and a bit more fun to drive. And while it may do just this, in Bermuda it is unlikely to be a big selling point on its own.
One of the best and also most surprising features of the Verso is the internal space.
The driving position is slightly higher than your average saloon and the driver’s armrest is a welcome addition. You can adjust the steering wheel to your own size as it moves up and down as well as in and out.
The lofty driving position gives you a good, unobstructed view of the road and as you drive along you find yourself at the same eye level as the moped drivers and bikers of the world.
Having said that there is still plenty of legroom as well as space above your head. You don’t feel like your head is scraping the roof of the car as you go.
Even when you are sitting in the back of the Verso you don’t feel cramped or short of legroom. For your comfort there is a central armrest that folds down and three head rests.
The back seats also fold down so you can fit the more awkward shaped objects in.
In many cars this often means a compromise in the trunk space — but when you open the trunk of the Verso it is bigger than you would have imagined. The Verso manages to combine compact and spacious.
The floor of the trunk can actually be adjusted down an extra four inches to give you extra space if you desire.
Inside the Verso it is dark and smart — the fabric interior comes in black and works well with the silver chrome of the steering wheel and door handles.
There are electronic wing mirrors than can be adjusted by the driver.
The driver’s dashboard relays speed, revs, temperature outside, what gear you are in and also your fuel level all at the same time.
The Verso is light on its feet and easy to manoeuvre into tight spaces.
Its compact, almost cube-shaped build, belies the space and comfort that you find inside.
And it would be ideal for a family of four to cruise around Bermuda in — but having said that it’s functional as well as practical design makes it appealing to almost all sections of the population.
Michael Butler, the general manager of Bermuda Motors said: “In many ways the Verso is the updated version of the Corolla, which was one of Toyota’s best-ever selling cars and a very popular one in Bermuda for many years.
“It is a good size and price for people looking for a smaller MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) with the flexibility you need in a family car.
“You can quickly switch the interior from a seven-seater to one with up to 1,400 litres of cargo space.
“Without folding the seats, you can get about 57 litres of space by removing the deck board in the rear of the trunk.”