these under contract hire agreements. That's so far removed from the old model that comparison carries no meaning, and effectively marks the Toledo out as fresh territory for Seat in the UK. Based on the Golf platform - which has hitherto spawned a host of models including the Skoda Octavia, Audi A3, Volkswagen Bora as well as the Golf itself - it gets off on the right footing. What's more, Seat has styled a bold-looking upper-medium contender that is bound to appeal to user-choosers looking for something different in a crowded market.
Though it might look like a five-door hatchback, the Toledo is actually a booted four-door saloon. Following the tradition of the previous car, that boot is huge but it may run against the grain in a UK market more used to the versatility of a five-door hatch. Engines and running gear are pure Golf, though it's notable that the core model does not follow the example set by the Volkswagen Bora, which uses a 115bhp 2-litre four-cylinder eight-valve engine derived from that used in the Beetle. Instead, the Toledo is powered by the advanced 125bhp five-valve 1.8-litre unit that has become familiar in the Audi A4 and Volkswagen Passat. Other engine options include a 1.6 with 100bhp, a 1.9 TDi turbodiesel with 110bhp and the five-cylinder 2.3 V5 unit - tested here - as used in the Golf and Passat. All except the V5 are available in both S and SE trim levels.
To achieve its 90% corporate sales aspirations, SeaT needs to be aggressive on price - and, here, there are few surprises based on the company's track record of offering exceptional value for money. Starting at ú14,295 for the 1.6S, on-the-road pricing is ultra-competitive. The 1.8 S costs ú14,995 and the 1.8 SE is ú15,995 while the cheapest diesel, the 1.9 TDi 110bhp S, is ú15,895. But in the light of Seat's 'Enjoy Yourself' advertising slogan, it's the top-of-the-range 150bhp five-cylinder V5 model that offers perhaps the best bargain: at ú17,595 on the road, it is ú1,465 less than its blood brother Volkswagen Bora V5 (ú19,060) and pitched directly at the likes of the Renault Laguna RTi 2.0 (ú16,825), Vauxhall Vectra 2.0 SRi 140 (ú17,580) and even the Ford Mondeo 2.5 V6 Si (ú17,860).