TWO THINGS about the Toyota Verso that make it different from its sibling the Avanza are the design and technological advancements.
The new Toyota Verso's Gauteng media launch was held in the Hammanskraal region north of Pretoria at the weekend.
What used to be the Toyota Corolla Verso will now be known as the Toyota Verso.
Toyota South Africa says it is confident that the Verso will hold its own without being associated with the Corolla.
The new Verso is a continuation of what you already know.
It bears pleasant facial changes without being radical. But the new car has been improved technologically compared with the outgoing model.
The new Verso, which competes in the MPV(multi-purpose vehicle) market, will be positioned as a fully fledged family car. It has seats folding flat to make more space for luggage if the need arises.
Built in Turkey, the new Verso competes with the likes of Honda FR-V and Renault Scenic, among others.
Our launch drive was from the Toyota South Africa head office in Sandton to a quiet game lodge outside Hammanskraal.
The drive was not a typical launch drive, which usually consists of different road surfaces. It was a leisurely freeway drive - just what a family would undertake.
The Verso demonstrated good road manners at high speeds.
With my eight-year-old son at the back and my sister in front, the journey seemed perfect.
That is how the Verso is being positioned, family and friends having quality time on long journeys.
The Verso's history dates back to the Toyota Space Cruiser, introduced in 1984, a vehicle that established Toyota in the then new MPV segment.
The Japanese car maker entered the 'C' segment of the MPV market for the first time in 2002 with a vehicle that recognised that something more than just flexible interior packaging would define this market sector.
The first generation Corolla Verso launched in 2002 and the second in 2004 were both heavily influenced by contemporary passenger vehicles.
This latest model has been given the designation C-MPV by Toyota to underscore the Verso's increased independence as a vehicle in its own right rather than a simple extension of a passenger car range.
Included in the latest generation model is the anti-lock brake system with electronic brake force distribution.
Also available on the Verso are a traction control system and vehicle stability control, which incorporates Steering Torque Assist.
The Verso was launched in four model range: the 1,6-litre S (base model) the 1,6 SX, the 1,8TX and the 2,0D TX.
The diesel model will only be available to the public in a few weeks time.
It also comes with a 3-year-100000km warranty, and included in the package, is a 5year-90000 service plan.