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Verso varies tactics with new CVT

2011-03-01 13:36

VARIABLE TRANSMISSION VERSO: You’ll notice the darker glass behind the B-pillar, probably the most notable exterior styling upgrade.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Toyota
Model Verso
Engine 1.6, 2l, 2.0 D-4D
Power 97-, 108-, 93kW
Torque 160-, 180-, 310Nm
Transmission Six-speed manual, CVT
Fuel Consumption 6.8-, 7-, 5.5l/100km
Toyota's popular Auris/Corolla-based MPV has been mildly upgraded, with a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) option the most significant mechanical improvement.

Featuring a five-derivative range, the new Verso’s engines are trusted Toyota C-segment fare, two petrols (1.6- and two-litre) and a single dieseloption in the guise of the company’s well-known D-4D designation, denoting two-litre turbodiesel power when applied to Verso.

The upgraded Verso range has three specification grades - S, SX and TXhave.

All models now hve privacy glass covering the rear half of the their glasshouse while LED illumination diodes have found their way into the rear lights.

TX grade models hve enhanced illumination in the form of auto-adjusting headlights (they have parking sensors around the back, too), and both SX and TX Versos roll a newfangled alloy wheel design, spinning in wheel arches which are slightly flared compared to the old model.

Inside, the new Verso SX and TX models are identifiable by the presence of silver detailing in their upholstery.

A more useful interiro upgrade is the increase in load volume. The new Verso can carry 63 litres more luggage with the second-row seats in place and 180 more with them folded to the floor.

Beyond the upgrade in trim and greater cabin space available for moving luggage, the car has better infotainment convergence. An audio/auxiliary jack now allows one to sync and control an iPod through the Verso’s steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

PULL FACTOR: With its combination pulley drive system, Toyota promises its new CVT-equipped Verso is one of the most relaxing cars to drive in traffic…


The Verso’s party piece is, of course, its CVT which Toyota claims is 30kg lighter than a conventional planetary-geared automatic transmission and uses two pulleys to vary the ratios. CVT transmission's are able to offer great levels of efficiency and smoothness - especially when driven in slow, dense traffic.

Toyota calls its CVT set-up the Multidrive S-system. It combines a low speed lock-up clutch and torque converter.

A weakness a CVT generally has is below-par engine braking. To counter this Toyota has improved the transmission’s electronic control module to recognise situations where engine braking may be desirable and adjusts its pulley variance accordingly - when Sport mode is engaged.

For drivers keen on doing the shifting themselves, the Verso’s CVT can be manipulated manually with shift-paddles located behind the steering wheel. When the transmission’s Sport Sequential Shiftmatic function is engaged, the CVT enacts a seven-ratio strong mapped shift regime – shadowing the behaviour of a conventional automatic transmission.
Beyond the 1.8 SX’s CVT transmission option, another new mechanical engineering feature to the range is the presence of hill ascent control on all models bar the entry-level Verso S. This feature is sure to be a boon for drivers who live in very hilly urban areas, where heavy incline getaways can be a challenge in terms of clucth coordination.

The newly upgraded Toyota Verso is available immediately from Toyota dealers across the country. All models are sold with a five-year or 90 000km ToyotaCare Service Plan and a three-year or 100 000km warranty.

Prices for the Verso range are:

Verso 1.6 S - R244 400
Verso 1.6 SX - R257 500
Verso 1.8 SX CVT - R283 500
Verso 1.8 TX - R292 700
Verso 2.0D TX - R311 700 

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