Fleet News

SEAT Toledo V5 - 5,200 miles

SEAT

Review

##seatol.jpg--right##IT is quite ironic that SEAT's auto emoción advertising shows its logo engulfed in flames, because my brother's H-reg Malaga burst into flames for real while moving recently and was destroyed.

The gutted wreck of his car - he and his family were unharmed, by the way - could easily represent the drastic comparison of the reputations between 'old' and 'new' SEAT.

Whereas his 1.2-litre car was the epitome of unreliable motoring, the rebranded SEAT has risen from the ashes of its old reputation and become a benchmark for quality and value to fleet motorists under the stewardship of Volkswagen.

Take our long-term V5 for example, which in a rather ironic twist I received on the same day my brother's car was burning a hole in the Tarmac on a busy Yorkshire A-road.

On taking over the car, I had guessed at a price above £18,000, nowhere near the £16,995 SEAT is asking, particularly if you bargain hard on the discounts front. The fit, finish and standard of materials used in the car makes it clear this is a completely different company to the one that produced the Malaga.

Although SEAT is quite keen to focus on the individual personality of the brand, the hand of the Volkswagen Group is clear wherever you look, from the damped grab handles to the moulded dashboard.

As for the engine, you will come across this unit in the Volkswagen Golf. Some motoring pundits have used this as a reason to attack the manufacturer, but as long as the engines and parts are good quality and the models have enough differences to make them look like you are driving separate brands, I see no reason to complain.

But while the engine is a throaty, racey unit that sounds great and complements the car's handling, alarm bells should start ringing for fleet managers when they look at their spreadsheets.

As an alternative, persuading a driver to opt for a 1.9 TDI-powered Toledo brings a hefty penalty in terms of equipment, particularly as you lose standard satellite navigation, for a £1,500 cut in list price to £15,450.

Performance-wise, there is also a penalty, with the 0 - 60mph time dropping from 8.6 to 11.2 seconds.

However, torque rises from 166lb-ft at 3,500 rpm to 173lb-ft at just 1,900rpm, while economy jumps from 32.1mpg to 54.3mpg, a saving of about £2,678 on fuel costs over three- years/60,000-miles.

Then there is the insurance, which is group six rather than group 13 and finally, although you have to lose the sound of that engine, the V5 driver pays tax at 24% of P11D value, compared to the diesel driver at 18%, including a 3% diesel penalty.

Which would I choose? Well the V5 is a firm favourite, but if it was not on my choice list, I would happily live with the diesel, particularly when I saw my tax bill at the end of the month.

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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