If a traditional MPV doesn't have enough seating for you, or you run a business that needs to ferry lots of people about, then the Toyota Proace Verso is a new option.
In the Metal:
With a choice of three different lengths and seating arrangements that vary from six to nine, the new Toyota Proace Verso offers a variety of options for those needing to transport large numbers of passengers. Rather than just adding or removing seats Toyota has also given the Proace Verso four distinct styles to best complement the intended purpose, including a leather-clad six-seat VIP version.
Access to the rear is via sliding doors and getting into the third row of seats isn't too difficult. The passenger seating offers a good deal of versatility too, with seats having individual adjustability and a 60:40 split middle row that can slide forward and back on floor-mounted rails. Removing the seats is also a very quick and straightforward operation, so should you need to carry a bulky load it can quickly be transformed into a van.
All version other than the Proace Verso Combi model will feature 2.0-litre diesel engines, and the 150hp version proves more than adequate when it comes to power. The six-speed manual transmission slots between gears in a more refined fashion to the 1.6-litre's five-speed item and has a set of ratios that won't have you constantly shifting up and down at slower speeds.
Van-derived passenger vehicles have the potential to be noisy on the move with such large interiors, but even in its longest of three lengths the Proace Verso is quiet and refined compared with others in its class. The higher driving position gives you a good view of the road ahead, too. With the gear selector mounted up high as part of the dashboard it all works well from an ergonomic standpoint as well.
Aside from the turning circle and size of parking space you'll ned, there is no noticeable difference in handling performance between the three lengths available. The Proace Verso isn't overly sprung either, meaning that, when it is empty, the ride isn't too harsh, even over speed bumps. With the full eight passengers (or nine in the case of the Shuttle), it will handle a touch differently, but with an overall sense of solidity, it performs well as a people mover.
What you get for your Money:
Toyota doesn’t have a confirmed price for the Proace Verso Combi yet, though this eight-seat Proace Verso Family is more likely to be the model that appeals to buyers. Priced from €38,550 it’s on a par with many popular SUVs that may offer more kerbside appeal but the Toyota trumps them on passenger capacity.
The Verso Shuttle starts at €37,750 and will come with seating for up to nine, rear parking sensors, front fog lamps, rear sunshades and a carpeted floor. The Verso Family features seating for eight including six ISOFIX points, automatic air conditioning front and rear, automatic lights and wipers, a luggage cover and a seven-inch touchscreen display.
The more luxuriously appointed Verso VIP will sit on 17-inch alloy wheels and includes keyless entry, rear privacy glass, leather seats and a nine-speaker audio system.
Citroen Space Tourer/Peugeot Traveller: the equivalent offering from this three-way partnership - same car with different styling.
SsangYong Rodius: questionable styling and crude interior, but is spacious.
Volkswagen Shuttle: offers similar levels of versatility, but can get expensive depending on specification.
While Toyota expects these Verso passenger variants only to account for a small percentage of overall Proace sales, it does represent many new options for buyers ranging from chauffeur services to taxi drivers and families with the requirement for a higher number of seats.