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New Toyota Verso compact 7-seat MPV
Larger and quieter with latest safety technologies

2009 Toyota Verso compact MPV: front view right oriented).

New Verso: built by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey.

APN

23 March 2009.

If the world première of the third generation Toyota Verso was a very significant attraction to the Japanese brand's stand at the 79th Geneva International Motor Show (5 to 15 March), the compact seven-seater MPV was surely not the only one.

At Geneva, Toyota's environmentally friendly technologies (including small models) showed the real engines of its new expansion plans, mostly in the developed markets (see box below).

Compared to its predecessor (known as the Corolla Verso), the new Toyota Verso (in the European markets this spring) is longer by 70mm (at 4,440mm), wider by 20mm (1,790), with a 30mm longer wheelbase (2,780mm), while overall height remains at 1,620mm, giving the compact minivan (C-segment, lower medium) a wider and lower stance.

Toyota says that it improved the Easy Flat-7 system for quick folding of the five individual rear seats, providing better second and third row accommodation with improved active and passive safety for occupants and pedestrians.

In view of the global concerns over both economy and climate, Toyota, like most other car makers, is in the concomitant race to develop more environmentally-friendly technologies and in the same time, cheaper, smaller and lighter cars.

This was clearly reflected in Toyota's long list of environmentally-oriented exhibits and presentations, which covered at Geneva this year, the European première of the third-generation Toyota Prius, the launch of the New iQ with 1.33 Dual VVT-i engine with Stop & Start, the Optimal Drive system, Hybrid Synergy Drive, Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) and Future Toyota Electric Vehicles (FT-EV) Concept, leading to the very recently announced new joint road-trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) with an innovative charging infrastructure in France, between Electricité de France (EDF) and Toyota.

The new Verso also gets, for the first time in Europe, Toyota's active steering force compensation with the variable assistance electric power steering.

Competing against compact people movers such as the Ford C-Max, Renault Scenic / Grand Scenic, Citroën C4 Picasso, Kia Carens, Honda FR-V, Mazda 5, Volkswagen Touran, Opel Zafira and others, the new Verso will be launched this spring with new 1.6 and 1.8 Valvematic petrol engines, a new six-speed manual transmission as standard or Toyota's optional new Multidrive S continuously variable transmission on the 1.8 unit.

A revised version of the 2.0-litre D-4D diesel will also be available, as well as two 2.2 litre D-CAT turbodiesel engines (150hp and 177hp versions) with a new six-speed automatic transmission due to join the line-up later in the year.

By introducing the Optimal Drive throughout the compact Verso range, engine power increased by up to 20 per cent, while fuel economy and CO2 emissions improve by up to 12 per cent, compared to the current model.

Active, passive and pedestrian impact safety features are all upgraded and the new highly rigid body shell incorporates a larger percentage of high tensile steel.

The standard equipment list will include curtain shield airbags that extend protection to the third row passengers and intelligent steering assist Vehicle Stability Control (VSC+). Exact prices and specifications to be announced soon.

  Exterior

2009 Toyota Verso compact minivan: front view (left oriented).

2009 Toyota Verso lower-medium MPV: side view (left oriented).

2009 Toyota Verso C-segment monospace: rear view right oriented).

"Dual-zone": a strong character line flowing from the edge of the front bumper, rising through the lower edge of the doors and sweeping up through the C-pillar to the roof-mounted spoiler.

For a minivan shape, new Verso has an exceptional drag coefficient of Cd 0.295, with wider front and rear tracks and extensively revised suspension geometry.

Continuing the visual identity of its predecessor, the new Verso conveys a more dynamic "dual-zone" exterior styling, expressed in the car's profile view, with a strong character line flowing from the edge of the front bumper, rising through the lower edge of the doors and sweeping up through the C-pillar to the roof-mounted spoiler.

The front expresses a powerful stance through its forward-flowing lines, emphasised by the horizontal lines of the twin-bar grille, headlamps that are pulled back into the wings, a deep air dam and a prominent, central Toyota emblem.

In profile view, the clearly delineated front wheel arches complement the dual-zone character line, blending into the upper wings.

  Interior

The all-new interior brings more space with an improved Easy Flat-7 folding system, better accommodation for rear passengers, and more room behind the third row of seats for load carrying.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, dashboard, seats, console and door view 1.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, dashboard, seats, console and door view 2.

Interior theme: Smart Wave Dynamism (see opposite details).

Toyota designers describe the interior theme as Smart Wave Dynamism, expressed in a wave-like form on the upper instrument panel, which distinguishes the functional character of the driver's zone from the more relaxed ambience of the passenger zone. The two zones are linked by a crisp wave line that runs the full width of the fascia.

New puddle lights are integrated in the door mirrors, which illuminate when the vehicle is unlocked with the key fob, with soft orange LED lighting activated in the front foot wells as the doors are opened.

The optional panoramic glass sunroof extends from the head of the windscreen to beyond the B-pillars, measuring 1,160mm long and 1,180mm wide. Its integrated electric blind can be opened to any point along the length of the sunroof.

  Easy Flat-7

The Toyota Easy Flat-7 system allows the five rear seats to be individually folded to carry extra passengers or increase load space as necessary, giving a total of 32 different seating permutations are possible.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, side view with 7-seater position.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, side view with 5-seater position.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, boot view with 5-seater position.

7- (top) or 5-seater (middle and bottom) configuartion.

The new Easy Flat-7 system has an improved mechanism that returns the second row seatbacks to their original position after being folded to give access to the third row. The headrests on the second and third row seats have a new low-profile L-shape to make the seat folding operation easier and improve rearward visibility from the driver's seat.

The third row seats can now be stowed or put upright in one single handed action, with a pull-strap that can be reached from the tailgate. The third row seatbacks also gain a recline adjustment.

The height-adjustable front seats have enhanced shoulder support, with the seat base extended by 20mm to improve comfort on long journeys, while an increase of 40mm in the height of the front seat cushion gives the driver a better view from the wheel.

Support and cushioning have also been improved for second row passengers and a 30mm increase in the seats' sliding adjustment makes access to the third row of seats easier. The couple distance between the front and second row hip points has been increased by 50mm to a maximum 975mm, giving more rear legroom, and the height of the second row seats has been reduced by 35mm to give more headroom and make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, instruments, entertainment and automatic climate control.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, instruments, entertainment and normal climate control.

2009 Toyota Verso: interior, instruments, entertainment, automatic climate control, gear lever, cupholders.

New Verso will be available in four equipment levels.

The boot floor is completely flat when the second and third row seats are folded and is longer by 185mm (1,830mm), making it easier to load long items.

The cargo space is also wider by 240mm (1,585mm), increasing storage capacity when all rear seats are in the upright position, from 63 litres (current Corolla Verso model) to 155 litres (new Verso).

A new boot management system is located under the rear load space for keeping items out of sight or stowing the tonneau cover. Its capacity varies according to how many rear seats are in use, and whether a full-size or space-saver rear wheel is specified.

Storage places throughout the car include a double-deck glovebox, an overhead console, door pockets, fold-out seatback tables with cupholders, a centre console box, a drawer beneath the front passenger seat, second row under-floor storage and driver and passenger pockets for holding mobile phones or music players.

To improve sound insulation, Toyota fixed a two-piece upper and lower liner on the cabin side of the bulkhead. A second acoustic liner on the engine side of the bulkhead combines with under-bonnet insulation to further reduce engine noise intrusion. Tuned floor silencing panels are installed beneath the seats and in the spare wheel well, and a new acoustic material is used for the first time in a Toyota to insulate and absorb noise in the footwells.

With other noise reduction techniques and the aerodynamics drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.295, these measures combine with to reduce cabin noise significantly (by 2.5dBa) compared to the current model.

  Engines

New Verso is the ninth model to get Toyota's Optimal Drive technology, which  reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing power, by focusing on the reduction of powertrain weight and mechanical losses with the maximisation of combustion efficiency (to read more).

2009 Toyota Verso: link to specifications page.

The five engines to be available include two petrol (gasoline) and three diesel ones (more details at Verso specifications):

- 1.6 litre Valvematic petrol engine with a new 6-speed manual transmission, develops 132DIN hp (131bhp), 22DIN hp more than the 1.6 VVT-i unit it replaces, whilst torque has been increased to 160 Nm (+10 Nm) at 4400 rpm. CO2 emissions have been reduced by 20g to 158g/km with a combined fuel consumption of 6.7 litres per 100km (equivalent to 42.2 miles per imperial gallon, 35.1 US mpg, or 14.9 km / litre).

- 1.8 litre Valvematic petrol: The new 1.8 litre Valvematic engine is available with the new six-speed manual gearbox or the optional Multidrive S continuously variable transmission (CVT). Compared to Verso's previous 1.8 VVT-i unit, power is up by 18DIN hp to 147DIN hp (145bhp), and torque is boosted by 10Nm to 180Nm at 4400 rpm.

With the 6-speed manual transmission, the engine’s CO2 emissions have been reduced by 22g to 162g/km and combined fuel consumption is 6.9l/100 km (equivalent to 40.9 miles per imperial gallon, 34 US mpg, or 14.5 km / litre). With the Multidrive S, CO2 emissions are 164g/km and combined fuel consumption is 7.0l/100km (equivalent to 40.3 miles per imperial gallon, 33.6 US mpg, or 14.3 km / litre).

- 2.0 litre D-4D turbodiesel: The newly available 2.0 D-4D turbodiesel is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, and can be ordered with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). It delivers 126DIN hp (125bhp) and 310 Nm of torque from 1800 to 2400 rpm. CO2 emissions are at 140g/km on units fitted with a Catalytic Converter, and 146g/km on those with a DPF. Combined fuel consumption is 5.4l/100km (equivalent to 52.3 miles per imperial gallon, 43.5 US mpg, or 18.5 km / litre). With the DPF, combined fuel consumption is 5.5l/100km (equivalent to 51.4 miles per imperial gallon, 42.7 US mpg, or 18.2 km / litre).

- 150 DIN hp 2.2 litre D-4D turbodiesel: The revised 2.2 litre D-4D diesel engine block now delivers 150DIN hp (148bhp), and 340 Nm of torque between 2000 and 2800 rpm. It comes with a new 6-speed automatic transmission and Toyota Diesel-Clean Advanced Technology (Toyota D-CAT), delivering CO2 emissions of 178g/km and combined fuel consumption of 6.8 l/100km (equivalent to 41.5 miles per imperial gallon, 34.6 US mpg, or 14.7 km / litre).

- 177DIN hp 2.2 litre D-4D turbodiesel: Carried over from the previous model range, the second 2.2 D-4D turbodiesel is also available with a 6-speed manual transmission and delivers 177DIN hp (175 bhp) and 400Nm from 2000 to 2800 rpm. CO2 emissions have been reduced by 19g to 159g/km. All diesel engines meet EURO 5 standards when fitted with DPF or Toyota D-CAT.

Combined fuel consumption is 6l/100km (equivalent to 47 miles per imperial gallon, 39.2 US mpg, or 16.7 km / litre).

  Handling

Toyota enhanced the ride and handling of the new Verso generation thanks to an all-new high-rigidity body shell, longer wheelbase and wider front and rear track, revised suspension geometry, electric power steering (EPS) with active steering force compensation and an improved braking system.

  Suspension

The MacPherson-type front suspension has a new set-up with dual top mounts: a stiffer, outer mount locating the spring and a softer inner mount locating the damper. With increases in the caster angle and roll rigidity, the new format is designed for better handling with low noise transmission and ride comfort.

At the rear, the compact, lightweight torsion beam with integrated anti-roll bar has also been revised with adjustment to trailing arm angle to improve steering response. The spring and damper mounts have been separated to improve packaging efficiency, ride comfort and handling.

 Active steering force compensation

For the first time in Europe, Toyota has added active steering force compensation to its variable assistance electric power steering in the new Verso. When the system detects a steering input speed that is too high for the required vehicle response, it automatically reduces power assistance delivery to limit the input and so promote smoother driving.

2009 Toyota Verso: active steering force compensation with variable assistance electric power steering.

Active steering force compensation with variable assistance electric power steering: when the steering input speed is too high for the required vehicle response, it automatically reduces power assistance delivery to limit the input.

When the steering column torque sensor detects vibration from the wheels, an active vibration control programme with the ECU (electronic control unit) can produce a compensating signal to reduce the vibration before it reaches the steering wheel.

  Active safety

New Verso gets standard ABS, Vehicle Stability Control VSC+, Traction Control and Hill-start Assist Control.

The latest ABS and VSC+ braking and stability systems also include electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA) functions to reduce stopping distances.

2009 Toyota Verso: VSC+.

VSC+: counteracts under or oversteer by independently applying braking force to any of the four wheels, while generating counter-steering torque to help the driver bring the car under control and the traction control limits wheelspin.

The VSC+ system counteracts under or oversteer by independently applying braking force to any of the four wheels (see opposite graphic), while simultaneously generating counter-steering torque to help the driver bring the car under control. Traction Control (TRC) limits wheelspin while Steering Torque Assist counters vehicle yaw moments under braking or acceleration.

Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) provides extra control when pulling away on a gradient, preventing the vehicle from rolling backwards.

  Passive safety

On the passive safety side, seven airbags are fitted as standard: a front and a side airbag for each of the driver and front passenger, a front passenger knee airbag and curtain shield airbags that extend the full length of the cabin (one on each side) to protect occupants in both rows of rear seats.

2009 Toyota Verso: hill-start assist control.

Hill-start Assist Control helps when pulling away on a gradient, preventing the vehicle from rolling backwards.

The front seats have active anti-whiplash headrests and all seats are linked to a seatbelt reminder system on the instrument panel. Further protection against leg injuries is provided for driver and front passenger by energy-absorbing pads built into the front footwells.

Side impact forces are channelled across the floorpan and through roof strengthening members and, for the first time in a Toyota vehicle, energy absorbing pads are located on the door belt line and rear passenger hip point to reduce injuries. A high-resistance seat rod is positioned beneath the rear seats and secured on each side of the cabin, further helping to absorb side impacts.

2009 Toyota Verso: 7 standard airbags in all versions.

All new Verso models get standard 7 airbags.

The impact-absorbing body shell uses a higher proportion of high tensile steel, designed to earn a top five-star rating in the new Euro NCAP crash test programme.

  Pedestrian safety

New Verso's bonnet has an energy-absorbing structure and a crushable cowl at its rear edge. The wiper motor and linkage have been relocated lower down on the firewall, further away from the point of impact with a pedestrian.

Toyota front active anti-whiplash headrests.

Front seats have active anti-whiplash headrests.

The bonnet lock is also set well down from the upper bonnet surface and the construction of the front end of the car incorporates upper and lower leg impact absorbers, with additional absorbers located where the rear edge of the bonnet meets the upper part of the fender.

  Equipment

Specific market equipments and specifications will be announced nearer the car's on-sale date this spring.

For Europe in general, Toyota Motor Europe announced that the new Verso will be available in "entry" (Verso), "mid" (Verso Luna), "high" (Verso Sol) and "high plus" (Verso Premium) model grades, with standard equipment including on all versions the Easy Flat-7 seating flexibility system.

  Verso (base)

2009 Toyota Verso: panoramic roof view from rear seats.

Optional panoramic glass sunroof, measuring 1,160mm long and 1,180mm wide. Its integrated electric blind can be opened to any point along the length of the sunroof.

The entry level Verso is equipped with standard 7 airbags (including side airbags for the third row seats), front active headrests, Vehicle Stability Control plus (VSC+) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), LED rear lamps and door mirror-mounted puddle lights to illuminate the ground beside the car, a CD/MP3 compatible stereo with 4 speakers and automatic door locking.

Other features include an overhead storage console, 2nd row under floor storage, a load space management system in the boot and a conversation mirror enabling drivers to can keep an eye on younger rear seat passengers.

Options on this grade include front fog lamps and driver/passenger seat heating.

  Verso Luna

Verso Luna version adds to the standard equipment list manual air-conditioning, front fog lamps, a leather steering wheel and gear lever, rear electric windows, a CD/MP3 compatible stereo with 6 speakers and Bluetooth connectivity, a different seat trim, passenger seat under tray and second row aviation tables.

Additional comfort and convenience features include a cooled glovebox, a middle console box, a larger armrest and a rear 12v plug.

Options include cruise control with speed limiter (not available with the Multidrive S transmission), dual-zone automatic air-conditioning, entry level full-map navigation system with DVD, panoramic sunroof and 16” alloy wheels.

  Verso Sol

The Verso Sol adds standard dual-zone automatic air conditioning, 16” alloy wheels, cruise control with speed limiter, rear view camera display (shown within the rear view mirror), smart entry with push start button, rain and dusk sensors and a seat trim upgrade.

Other comfort and convenience features include door courtesy lamps, integrated sunshades for rear side windows and driver/passenger seat heating.

Options include a more advanced full-map navigation system with a 10 Gb hard disk drive (incorporating rear parking camera), panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and 17” alloy wheels.

  Verso Premium

The top Verso Premium adds 17” alloy wheels, an in-dash 6 CD changer, high-intensity discharge (xenon) headlamps with auto levelling and cleaning, a panoramic sunroof and rear privacy glass.

Options include an advanced full-map navigation system with a 10 Gb hard disk drive (incorporating rear parking camera).

  Made in Turkey

The new Verso will be built by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey, at the Adapazari plant where the Japanese automaker investments totalled over €1 billion. TMMT produced its first Toyota vehicle in 1994 and today employs 3,000 workers. Last week, Toyota announced that it has already produced its one millionth vehicle in Turkey, of which 430,000 Verso models (since 2004). It plans to manufacture 55,000 units of the new Verso in its first full year of sales.

The Turkish plant also manufactures the Toyota Auris, and is one of nine Toyota manufacturing facilities located in Europe and Russia. In 2008, Toyota's operations in Turkey distributed 120,000 cars across Europe.

* Specifications source (on this page and on the specifications page): Toyota Motor Europe. Toyota indicates that fuel consumption and CO2 values are measured in a controlled environment, in accordance with the requirements of Directive 80/1268/EEC incl. its amendments, on a basic production vehicle. These values may vary depending on driving style, road conditions, traffic, vehicle conditions, equipment, load, number of passengers, etc.

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