Toyota's rapidly expanding UK model line-up gains another new member this week with the sales launch of new Verso, bringing more style, space, safety and advanced equipment features to the compact MPV segment.

The third generation of the seven-seat Verso has a new look inside and out and translates larger external and wheelbase dimensions into added comfort for those on board, particularly for rear seat passengers who have significantly more head and legroom. There is also substantially more load space, even with all three rows of seats in place.

Shifting the balance between seat and storage space is easier than ever before, thanks to an improved version of Toyota's Easy Flat-7 system, making flat-folding of each rear seat a simple one-touch operation.

In common with all new Toyota models, new Verso benefits from Toyota Optimal Drive powertrains across the entire range, giving stronger performance but lower emissions and improved economy compared to the previous model. The new 1.8-Valvematic petrol engine, available with a new six-speed manual gearbox or Multimode S CVT system, musters an additional 18bhp compared to the 1.8 VVT-i unit it replaces, while bringing CO2 emissions down by 19g/km to 165g/km (manual) and gaining an extra 3.7 miles from a gallon of fuel with an official 40.4mpg in combined cycle driving.

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The 125bhp (126 DIN hp) 2.0-litre D-4D engine has been revised with new piezo-electric injectors and higher injection pressure, helping achieve higher torque performance and lower emissions. A 2.2-litre D-CAT 150 engine with Toyota's four-way DPNR clean diesel catalyst system will join the range later this year, offered with a new six-speed automatic transmission.

New Verso is available in a three-grade model range: T2, TR and T Spirit. T2 models come equipped with five airbags (including curtain airbags protecting all three rows of seats), air conditioning, four-speaker audio with steering wheel-mounted controls, Easy Flat-7 folding rear seats, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, electric front windows and body coloured bumpers and doorhandles.

TR grade, which will account for around 73 per cent of sales, includes Bluetooth, an Aux-in socket for connecting personal music players, additional driver and front passenger side airbags, leather steering wheel and gear knob trim, electric rear windows, front foglights and 16-inch alloy wheels.

T Spirit models gain premium features such as climate control, automatic windscreen wipers and headlights, Smart Entry and Start, cruise control and 17-inch alloys. The auto-dimming rear view mirror includes an integrated display which shows real-time images relayed from the car's rear parking camera.

Key options include a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery and two satellite navigation systems. TR models can be specified with a DVD-based system with Bluetooth, while T Spirit versions can be equipped with hard disk drive (HDD) system with a seven-inch colour touch-screen display. The HDD also provides a music storage function, so owners can create their personal on-board juke box.

Toyota Verso prices, VED and insurance

T2 Toyota Optimal Drive 1.8 Valvematic 6MT £16,750 G 7E
T2 Toyota Optimal Drive 2.0 D-4D 6MT £17,950 F 6E
TR Toyota Optimal Drive 1.8 Valvematic 6MT £17,750 G 7E
TR Toyota Optimal Drive 1.8 Valvematic Multidrive S £18,750 G 7E
TR Toyota Optimal Drive 2.0 D-4D 6MT £18,950 F 7E
T Spirit Toyota Optimal Drive 1.8 Valvematic 6MT £19,475 G 8E
T Spirit Toyota Optimal Drive 1.8 Valvematic Multidrive S £20,475 G 8E
T Spirit Toyota Optimal Drive 2.0 D-4D 6MT £20,675 F 7Etd>