Fleet News

SEAT Toledo

SEAT

Review

IF there was a competition for rear of the year in the fleet industry, the new SEAT Toledo would surely be in with a chance of the honours.

That isn’t because its rear portions are particularly stunning, but because it has provoked more than a flurry of newspaper column inches about what the back end actually is.

To the uninitiated, a quick glance at the Toledo would suggest it is an MPV of some sort, maybe even a hatchback.

But, like the model that preceded it, SEAT likes to call this car a saloon.

I fall between the two camps and would actually call it a saloonhatchmpvestate crossover.

Whatever the Toledo is, it is certainly a break from the norm in the upper-medium sector and offers a refreshing change compared to more traditional rivals.

That change should bring about at least 2,500 sales, SEAT believes, as the ‘bustle’ look combines with flexible and plentiful space inside and a value-for-money reputation that has seen its sales grow healthily in the UK – a target of 40,000 units for the firm is set for this year.

The Toledo carries over the family appearance of its smaller siblings, the Altea and potentially the new Leon, with a bold front end and sweeping lines down the side which flow into the rear.

Carrying capacity is impressive, starting at 500 litres with the seats up and rising to 1,440 litres with everything folded.

Passengers benefit from the new design too, with plenty of room in the rear, while the driver slides onto the seat, rather than dropping into it, as with normal saloons. Occupants face a bewildering array of storage options, covering pockets, shelves, trays and compartments.

While its looks are unique, there is an underlying benefit of common DNA with Volkswagen Group quality, which ensures high-built quality, a wide range of strong engines and good ergonomic layout for the driver. There is also a vast range, with Reference, Stylance and Sport models, starting from £13,350 for the Reference 1.6 and rising to £18,100 for the 2.0 TDI PD with a DSG semi-automatic gearbox.

There are two petrol engines and two diesels. The 1.6-litre entry level petrol engine offers 101bhp and 0-62mph time of 12.8 seconds, with 36.7mpg overall fuel economy.

This wasn’t available for testing, but the penalty of opting for the 2.0 FSI petrol with 148bhp, a 9.6 second 0-62mph time and 34mpg economy seemed small, if you could afford the nearly £3,000 price hike.

But diesel is where most people will be putting their money and the two engines 1.9 TDI PD and 2.0 TDI PD were difficult to separate on the road.

There was certainly more urge from the 2.0 138bhp engine, which hits 62mph in 10 seconds and offers 47.9mpg, but again it comes at a cost, with the cheapest Sport model costing about £3,000 more than the cheapest Reference 1.9.

The penalty for choosing the slightly smaller engine is minimal, with slower acceleration to 60mph at 12.4 seconds offset by better economy at 51.4mpg.

Both pulled well and were quiet at cruising speed, while they managed to corner well for quite tall cars. Noise was effectively suppressed at motorway speeds and the gearchange was easy and obstruction-free.

So, it is only the specification argument that will really win the day here and all the models are packed.

All versions get six airbags. The Reference makes do with manual door mirrors, but also has air conditioning, electric front windows, six CD multichanger, height and reach adjustable steering, ABS, remote central locking with deadlocks, driver’s seat height adjustment, metallic paint, heated front seats, electric sunroof and ESP.

Stylance adds, among other things, full colour satellite navigation, front fog lights, electric mirrors, rear electric windows, cruise control, alloy wheels, trip computer, leather steering wheel and gear knob.

Sport adds sporty extras like sports seats and access to the top engines. Considering the value for money the base specification package offers, the Reference 1.9 TDI PD at £14,500 seems the winning option, if you can put up with the manual mirror adjustment.

Fact file

1.6 2.0 FSI 1.9 TDI 2.0 TDI
Engine (cc): 1,595 1,984 1,896 1,968
Max power (bhp/rpm): 102/5,600 150/6,000 105/4,000 140/4,000
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 109/3,800 147/3,500 184/1,900 236/1,750
Max speed (mph): 112 128 (auto: 126) 113 124 (DSG: 124)
0-62 mph (sec): 12.9 9.7 (10.1) 12.4 10.0 (9.9)
Fuel consumption (mpg): 37.1 34.4 (31.7) 52.7 50.1 (47.1)
C02 emissions (g/km): 182 196 (214) 146 157 (162)
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 55/12.1
Transmissions: 5-sp man; 6-sp man; 6-sp auto; 6-sp DSG
Service intervals (miles): 10,000
Prices: £13,350-£18,080
On sale: Now

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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