• Initially launched in 2002, cumulative Verso sales now exceed 700,000 units
• Made exclusively for Europeans, by Europeans, in Europe since 2013
• Introduction of new 1.6 litre D-4D turbodiesel
• 2014 Verso adds new exterior colour, new alloy wheels, new interior trims and upgraded Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia systems
Starting from a strong base
Launched in 2013, the current Verso was developed exclusively for the European market.
The company’s first full-scale project to incorporate European-based Product Planning, Design, R&D and Purchasing from inception, Verso was designed, engineered and built entirely under the leadership of Toyota Motor Europe.
Styled at ED2, Toyota’s European design centre in France, and with over 470 changed parts (60% visible, 40% related to driving dynamics and NVH), the current Verso represented a comprehensive model mid-lifecycle upgrade for Toyota in Europe.
Tailored to meet the increasingly varied demands of today’s MPV customer, the stylish, comfortable and flexible Verso range represents outstanding value for money. Within compact exterior dimensions, it boasts exceptional roominess with one of the best seat coupledistances in its class and the true multi-purpose vehicle versatility of the company’s Easy Flat seating system.
Since the initial launch of the Verso in 2002, cumulative sales have risen to over 700,000 units. Built exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey, the current Verso has sold some 40,000 units since its launch in 2013, increasing the company’s C-MPV segment share to 4.6%.
New 1.6 D-4D, new features
The enhanced 2014 Verso features an expanded engine line-up which introduces a new 1.6 litre D-4D turbodiesel. The exterior benefits from a new bronze colour and new, 16” and 17” alloy wheel designs. The interior has been enhanced with new trim and detailing. And the company’s range of affordable multimedia systems, Toyota Touch® 2, has been comprehensively upgraded.
• New 112 DIN hp 1.6 litre D-4D turbodiesel offers fast throttle response
and linear torque build-up over a wide rev range
• First adoption of Stop & Start system in Verso
• CO2 emissions of 119 g/km
• Expanded choice of powertrains: 4 diesel and 2 petrol engines
New 1.6 D-4D
The 2014 Verso features an expanded line-up which introduces a new 1.6 D-4D (Direct injection – 4-stroke Diesel) engine to the range for the first time.
Diesel engine sales continue to dominate the European market in the C-MPV segment, and 1.6 litre variants currently account for over 50% of sales.
The engine for the 1.6 D-4D is sourced from the BMW Group, and is mated to a Toyota 6-speed gearbox. 20 kg lighter than the 2.0 D-4D powerplant, this Euro 5 compliant engine develops 112 DIN hp/82 kW at 4,000 rpm and 270 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,250 rpm. It accelerates the Verso from 0-100 km/h in 12.7 seconds, and on to a top speed of 185 km/h.
The engine delivers an 8% improvement in fuel efficiency over the 2.0 D-4D unit, equating to fuel consumption of 4.5 l/100 km in the combined homologation cycle. Simultaneously, CO2 emissions have reduced from 129 to only 119 g/km.
These figures are supported by the first ever adoption of a Stop & Start system in the Verso range, in accordance with the principles of the Toyota Optimal Drive philosophy.
Several engineering challenges were key to the successful integration of the new 1.6 D-4D engine. All electrical interfaces were redesigned, and a newly-developed dual-mass flywheel was fitted to optimise noise and vibration.
New engine mounts offer particularly low vibration characteristics, especially under Stop & Start operation, minimising Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) and offering quiet running at cruising speeds.
The engine itself has been tuned to deliver a fast throttle response throughout the rev range. It generates good initial response at low rpm, then, as turbo boost develops, provides a linear torque build-up. The availability of torque has also been stretched, so the engine will happily rev beyond 3,000 rpm without running out of breath.
With ride quality already assured on the existing Verso, spring settings have been modified for the new 1.6 D-4D version to replicate the same levels of body control and ride comfort.
The addition of the 1.6 D-4D unit to the model range increases the engine line-up to a choice of 6 powerplants –150 DIN hp and 177 DIN hp versions of the 2.2 D-CAT diesel, a 124 DIN hp 2.0 D-4D diesel, the new 112 DIN hp 1.6 D-4D, and a choice of 1.6, 132 DIN hp and 1.8, 147 DIN hp Valvematic petrol engines.
Gerald Killmann, Vice President R&D2 at Toyota’s R&D centre in Belgium, discusses the new diesel, key development goals, the main project challenges, and the R&D required to develop a true Toyota D-4D engine.
Why did you decide to source an engine, rather than to develop a 1.6 diesel from scratch?
Considering that diesel sales for passenger cars are mainly concentrated in Europe, and that a new diesel engine requires significant development work, we came to the conclusion that in this instance, the best solution was to cooperate with another OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) rather than develop a unit ourselves.
The next step was to fix the selection criteria. We went looking for candidate engines that delivered our required level of performance – torque, power, fuel consumption. And of course, we also had to take into account whether the geometry was compatible with our car.
But the engine hardware wasn’t our only driver – we also wanted to find a partner that is, like us, a technically oriented company, and which thinks in similar ways to us.
So, all in all, the BMW Group turned out to be the ideal partner for us.
What was Toyota’s development on this engine?
The engine is maybe the most interlinked component in a car – it interacts with a huge number of systems. In this case, we developed a host of new elements: a new dual-mass flywheel, an adapted gearbox housing, new engine mounts, new electronic interfaces…
When you install an engine in a car, it is not only a mechanical, but also an electrical marriage.
This matching of electronics was a major task, because the engine controlunit contains elements from both partners in this project, and they all needed to be integrated to the car’s electronic system through our interfaces.
External components of the unit were adapted to meet our geometrical requirements. And, to cope with the thermal stress that comes from powering a relatively large and potentially heavily loaded car, air flow through the engine compartment was optimised.
Has the use of a Toyota gearbox primarily to do with the packaging?
No. The key point was that we started with a very good car. We wanted to preserve as many elements as possible, and only change what was really necessary.
What were your main targets when adding this engine to the line-up?
First of all, being a family car, an MPV has to remain comfortable to drive. On the other hand, based on the vehicles that were already on the road with this engine, we recognised its dynamic performance. So we wanted to bring a combination of these key aspects to our car.
With a low displacement engine in a relatively big car, it’s essential that the engine delivers. So that was one of the key engineering targets. We had to make sure that torque was available from low revs, but also that it was spread over a wide rev band.
This ‘stretchiness’ was one of our key goals – it allows the driver to stay in the same gear for longer, at higher rpm during acceleration, without getting the feeling that the engine runs out of steam.
A second item was fast engine response, delivering sufficient torque even before the turbo cuts in. And not just a fast response but also a natural torque build-up, so it doesn’t feel like small engine… small engine… small engine… and then suddenly the turbo comes in with a whoosh. Rather, we wanted a more natural, linear torque build-up.
As a result, the driver gets access to very decent performance, without upsetting the comfort of his passengers with sudden bursts of acceleration as he goes through the gears – important in a family car!
The target on NVH was to be as good as the 2.0 D-4D and, in some areas, perform even better.
And of course, one of the key objectives was efficiency. We managed to cut back CO2 emissions by 8%, from 129 to 119 g/km, compared to the 2.0 D-4D engine. And due to the smaller engine size and the adoption of a Stop & Start-system, the fuel consumption advantage is noticeable, especially in urban conditions.
How was Toyota quality guaranteed?
The car is engineered like any other Toyota. The engine was subjected to all our durability tests, even though it comes from another OEM. From the R&D viewpoint it’s just a different engine manufacturer supplying the unit, but our standards don’t change.
We have checked that it complies with all our durability requirements, and we have done all necessary component re-development and testing.
What elements are you most proud of?
Our goal was to ensure that the 1.6 D-4D version would deliver improved CO2 without sacrificing comfort, driving pleasure and real-world usability. Three elements contribute to achieving that:
Firstly, we managed to control the transmission of engine vibrations into the body very well. Especially under Stop & Start operation, I’m extremely happy with the level we achieved.
Secondly, the response of the engine, the linear torque build-up and the high torque availability over a wide rpm range. Often with a diesel, once beyond 2,700-2,800 rpm, the torque decrease hits you like a barrier. The 1.6 D-4D, on the other hand, allows you to happily continue well beyond 3,000 rpm, almost like a petrol engine. As a driver, it is nice to have that option, especially when you have to pull into heavy traffic and need power to catch up with the traffic flow.
Thirdly, we’ve also worked on gear ratio selection to combine dynamic performance with good fuel consumption and low noise levels at motorway-speeds. That’s why we made 6th a highway cruising gear, while lower gears like 2nd and 3rd are designed to give good acceleration, using the stretchiness of this high revving engine.
• Choice of 10 exterior colours, including new Avantgarde Bronze
• New bold 17” alloy wheel with a darker, smoked silver design
• Introduction of 2 new seat upholstery choices: Dark Grey fabric with silver stitching and Light Grey fabric with leather side bolsters
• New Tyre Pressure Warning System and gear shift lever design
The Verso combines the Toyota MPV’s trademark, dual-zone styling with the company’s Under Priority design language and Keen Look styling elements. A 2013 mid-life redesign has brought an increase in dynamism and desirability to the model range.
Building on the existing range of 10 exterior colours and 16” and 17” alloy wheels, the 2014 Verso introduces a new Avantgarde Bronze paint, a new 7-spoke 16” alloy wheel and a bold, 5-spoke 17” alloy design with a darker, smoked silver finish.
On board, the 2014 Verso interior features a more tactile gear shift lever design, the addition of a Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS) to the standard equipment list, and the availability of new seat upholstery -a Dark Grey fabric with 3D-effect silver stitching and a Light Grey fabric with leather side bolsters.
New colours and equipment
Mehmet Kilic, Senior Project Manager at Toyota’s R&D centre in Belgium, discusses the Verso’s uniquely European DNA, the significance of the exterior and interior design changes to the 2014 Verso, and the role of ED2 (Toyota’s European design studio) in the creation of the new designs.
What makes the Verso unique?
First of all, its interior modularity and its ease of use, which is very important in the MPV segment. If we look at the profile of our main customers, they’re very family oriented and have a lot of sporting and social activities going on… So they need flexible seating and loadspace.
Then, there is the styling. We have tried to introduce dynamism to a segment which traditionally favours rather static and boxy design.
So in summary, Verso is a stylish and modular family car. It is also one of the most compact 7-seat MPVs. When we ask our customers, this is one of their key buying reasons. They like the compactness, especially for city use, in combination with the maximized interior space.
How is Verso a ‘full European’ car?
Well, if we go element by element… More than 95% of Verso customers areEuropeans… There actually is no Japanese Verso, and the equivalent in China looks nothing like this - it was launched two years before the current European car.
From a manufacturing perspective, about 95% of all parts are produced locally. Secondly, for the last three years, all R&D activities have taken place within Europe. So we are now kind of independent from the Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan; the leadership is here in Europe. That also goes for the styling, and the product planning. All have been completely localised for the last three years. In all, some 350 to 400 local staff were involved in this project.
So Verso is made for Europeans, in Europe, by Europeans.
Why are you now launching this new 2014 Verso, just one year after the model’s comprehensive mid-lifecycle upgrade?
This is a ‘Model Year’ car. With the Model Year concept, we want to introduce newness and freshness to the product every 12 months to keep the profile of the car as high as possible in the market. This is the first time we have applied this concept to Verso.
And, again, this idea is tailored completely to the European market. Typically, a Model Year would introduce visual newness, and perhaps some new equipment. But this 2014 Verso goes a bit beyond that, because we’re introducing a new engine as well, which constitutes a wider choice, and gives us better access to the heart of the segment.
The Model Year concept also allows us to make product improvements. A simple example: this time, we are also changing the shift knob to a more tactile design. It is a part that the driver touches 100,000 times a year. If we can introduce a softer leather, better ergonomics… Let’s not wait for the next generation to come… Let’s do that now.
How did you decide which elements to update for the 2014 Verso?
After the 2013 facelift, we continued to refine a second colour interior that we had been working on. With this 2014 model we are introducing that lighter interior, which should not only attract families but also fleet and business customers. These drivers spend many hours a day in their cars, so a lighter, brighter interior really makes a difference. It may also be seen as more prestigious.
We also have two new alloy wheels, a 16” and a 17”. The 17” is quite robust looking … It’s bold and the colour is not a standard silver, but a darker, smoked colour.
When you put these different elements together with the new bronze exterior body colour, the Skyview panoramic roof and privacy glass –along with the new 1.6 diesel engine and upgraded multimedia systems, you end up with a new and very attractive package.
What was the involvement of ED2 in the creation of the new designs?
They are one of our most significant partners in product development, especially for a job like this. A car has 2,000 parts and we are only changing 1% to 5% of them, so you aim for maximum impact from those changes.
The exterior colour is the number one element from a communication perspective, so that’s where ED2 comes in: Which colours to select; why; what are the market trends; how will they stand the test of time?
This isn’t just an automotive issue… It applies to any product. Take the Pearl White body colour that we used to launch the 2013 Verso; you can see similar colours on smartphones, PCs, TVs… There’s a clear trend. Grasping that trend and making sure our products fit in, that’s the expertise ED2 brings to a project such as this one.
• Unique range of affordable, touch-screen multimedia systems with uprated resolution and expanded functionalities
• Toyota Touch® 2 with Go combines full map navigation with online servicesand applications
• Toyota Touch® 2 with Go Plus with improved voice recognition and new Wi-Fi connectivity
• First mainstream brand to offer Google Street View and Panoramio services
Toyota Touch® 2
Fitted as standard in the 2014 Verso from Active grade, Toyota Touch® 2 is an upgraded version of Toyota’s affordable touch-screen multimedia system.
Via a 6.1” full colour touch screen interface, it incorporates AM/FM radio with an optional DAB/DAB+/DMB-A receiver, a CD/MP3 player, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity with a music streaming facility, and a USB port for the connection of portable music players, with the facility to display iPod album cover art.
A rear view camera is fitted as standard, helping drivers to manoeuvre in confined spaces.
The enhanced Toyota Touch® 2 system features redesigned screens with a deeper, 3D effect. Image resolution has been increased by a factor of four from 400 x 240 to 800 x 480, giving a much brighter, sharper image.
The screen menu has been expanded to incorporate more vehicle information content, such as air-conditioning settings, and the screen now supports ‘drag and flick’ control for easy, intuitive operation.
Toyota Touch® 2 is ‘MirrorLink’-ready, which enables users to connect compatible smartphones and then operate them entirely from the system’s touch screen.
The optional DAB radio has now been fully integrated, and incorporates an ‘FM Link’ facility which automatically switches to the corresponding FM station should the DAB signal fail.
Toyota Touch® 2 with Go
The Toyota Touch® 2 with Go offers customers an enhanced, full map navigation system which represents the best value for money on the market. The system was developed specifically with European customers in mind.
Available in 20 languages, it includes all the most popular navigation functions, such as customisable speed limits, speed camera warnings, automatic zoom, motorway signposting and junction view at motorway intersections. The map zoom function is now more easily controlled by a simple rotary button.
Advanced traffic coverage, now located on the map itself, takes the form of a ‘traffic bar’ showing the driver any congestion ahead, and what delay to expect.
Via the Toyota Online function, the system offers on-board connectivity to an expanded range of services including Toyota Real Time Traffic powered by TomTom, Google Street View, Panoramio and Google Local Search –the largest and most up-to-date search database in the world.
Toyota’s improved customer portal also allows users to be in contact with their vehicles online. For instance, via Google Maps, destinations may be input remotely from home or office, and Points of Interest (POI) may be downloaded for entry as destinations.
Further system access to Toyota Online content includes a Touch 2 with Go Apps function which offers several applications, including fuel prices, weather and parking space information.
The installation of Touch 2 with Go also upgrades the multimedia base unit to incorporate a contact person image display.
Toyota Touch® 2 with Go has been designed specifically to be both affordable and flexible. The system can be easily upgraded with the newest functions, updated maps and the latest Apps, as they become available.
Toyota Touch® 2 with Go Plus
When upgraded to Touch 2 with Go Plus, the touch-screen multimedia system comes equipped with 3D city models, landmark graphics and a ‘text-to-speech’ message readout facility.
The system will display emails and calendars depending on Bluetooth mobile phone compatibility. It also features a ‘Play More like This’ function. This smart music recognition system can automatically provide playlist recommendations to suit your mood; a safe and easy way to manage music on the move.
Touch 2 with Go Plus supports Wi-Fi connectivity. Users set up their smartphones as a Wi-Fi hotspot for connection to the system’s online functions.
With the number of languages now increased to 15, the Advanced Voice Recognition function has been designed for the simplest possible operation whilst driving. Focusing on three key tasks, it allows the driver to input a full destination, make a phone call, or to pick a specific song from a connected iPod with a single voice command.
Toyota Touch® 2 With Go Plus includes three years free map and software updating.
Sigi Killemaes, Manager Multimedia Systems and Telematics at Toyota’s R&D centre in Belgium, discusses the philosophy behind the Toyota Touch® 2 concept, and the integration of premium features at an affordable price.
What is the philosophy behind the Toyota Touch® 2 multimedia systems?
The concept is built around what we call affordable innovation. We wanted to offer the features and functions of premium systems at an accessible price, so that as many customers as possible can benefit. Furthermore, we wanted a much closer integration of Toyota Touch® 2 with the car, expanding its use to display many vehicle functions.
We’ve kept the system cost down because we don’t integrate a communication module imbedded in the car. Instead we use the customer’s mobile phone as a sort of modem to connect to the internet. This also avoids the need for a second data-subscription.
Previously we were a little concerned at using the phone as a connection device, but actually it works pretty well. If you have to connect your Bluetooth for your hands-free and music anyway, it simply becomes part of the same process.
And we’ve really simplified the process of going on-line with this next generation system too. We have wireless connection, so you simply set up your phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot and then log into that via the car.
What is new on Toyota Touch® 2?
First, we wanted to increase the quality of the screen to give a much sharper and brighter image.
All the menu screens have been redesigned as well, with the help of ED2. We felt the need to involve them because on-board multimedia systems are becoming increasingly important to customers, and we value their design direction on such a significant piece of equipment.
The screens now have a much deeper, 3D effect and feature a ‘boat floor’ motif running through the designs, which helps to give visual consistency between the different screens.
We also have a new range of connected services, using partners who are leaders in their respective areas, such as TomTom for traffic services and Google for search related functions. And, provided they have a compatible phone, users can use MirrorLink to replicate their smartphone display on the vehicle screen, and even operate their phone from there.
What is Toyota Online?
With the Toyota Online function of Toyota Touch® 2 with Go and Toyota Touch® 2 with Go Plus, you have access to a number of online services which provide the driver with peace of mind.
Via TomTom HD Traffic you receive real-time traffic updates about any incidents or congestion along your route, and, if necessary, the system provides detour options.
Online Local Search is an additional POI database enhanced by an online search function. So it allows you to find any type of place of interest more easily via Google and TomTom places.
You can also activate apps to keep you informed on available parking spaces, fuel costs and the weather forecast. We also offer a Twitter app and ‘Glass of Water’, which is sort of a game to encourage more economical driving in a fun but non-distracting way.
Last, but certainly not least, Toyota is the first mainstream brand to offer Google Street View and Panoramio services.
Google Street View is very helpful for familiarising yourself with your destination before you arrive. You can see what the surrounding area is like, and even where you might park the car.
And Panoramio goes one step further. It provides user-uploaded images of city landmarks and places of interest. So if you’re on holiday with the car, you can check on the map for any POI, view a full image of it and then let the navigation system guide you there.
Do the Toyota Touch® 2 systems use Google Maps?
No, because that runs online and to use it you have to be connected all the time… For cross border travel, your 3G bill would become astronomical!
That’s why we use a hard drive system, which also has the benefit of being able to be very much more tailored for the car, and won’t desert you if you drive through a tunnel... The only thing you need connectivity for is traffic information, and that doesn’t even have to be 3G.
How do you ensure that your customers can cope with the growing complexity of HMI systems?
With the increase of functions, having a clear and easy-to-use HMI (Human-Machine Interface) is paramount. So in the development of the Toyota Touch® 2 range, a lot of our time and effort has gone into that.
For example, we have increased the number of languages for the voice recognition system, which we have otherwise kept as simple as possible. Many systems incorporate things you can do much more quickly with the buttons. Our philosophy is different: we’ve focused on three key commands. No matter what menu you’re in, you can set a navigation destination, play any music track from your iPod or phone, and dial any number or ask for any contact by name, in just one sentence. This also improves road safety.
The Toyota Touch® 2 systems have been designed to be as user-friendly as possible in many other ways too. For instance, if you type in a destination address, the system will react to the very first letter with a background suggestion, starting with the largest cities first.
We’ve also improved our customer portal on http://my.toyota.eu. Users can now manage their subscriptions and map updates on the website more easily. It even allows you to be in contact with your car online.
For example, if you’re researching a destination on Google Maps, you can simply right click and send it directly to your car’s navigation system. That’s extremely convenient.
Can older systems be upgraded to the latest software?
To a certain extent, yes. You can update maps every 6 months, and if there are software developments we also provide updates. You just download the latest version to a USB-stick and then plug that into the car to update the Toyota Touch® 2 software.
Over the lifetime of the first generation system we introduced new features, apps and software for customers to install. We offer support for each system for at least 10 years, so if you buy a second hand car you can still make upgrades that the previous owner did not.
And, of course, we’ll be doing the same thing for this new system.