1 Dec 2001
By CHRIS HARRIS
TOYOTA weighed into the growing compact people-mover market with its new Avensis Verso, which offers seven seats in a vehicle smaller than a Camry.
Launched in late 2001, the Japanese built Honda Odyssey rival was initially offered in two spec levels - GLX and top-line Ultima.
Replacing the unrefined van-like Spacia, the Avensis Verso is a part-time seven-seater - with the third-row seats intended for occasional use.
Its role was to fill in the gap that was to be left when the 1998-2002 Camry wagon went out of production.
Although 125mm shorter than a Camry, its wheelbase is 155mm longer, to maximise interior space.
A 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve VVTi powers the front wheels via a five-speed manual (GLX only) or four-speed automatic gearbox, generating 110kW at 6000rpm and 192Nm at 4000rpm.
Fuel consumption is quoted at 9.0 litres/100km around town and 6.2 litres/100km on the highway.
Stopping power comes from four-wheel disc brakes equipped with an anti-lock system with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist. No other vehicle in its class is so equipped.
Dual airbags are standard in the GLX while the Ultima also has side-impact bags and curtain shield bags.
Other standard features across the range include dual air-conditioning, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, and a six-speaker stereo with CD player.