Fleet News

SEAT Toledo 1.9 TDI SE – 2,650 miles



##Toledo front--right## THE last time I drove a SEAT Toledo it was the stunning V5 and I said it was a delight to drive but would fail to grab a fleet manager's attention as much as the 1.9 TDI.

Now, as if by magic, I am behind the wheel of the said 1.9TDI version of this increasingly popular marque, this time in SE trim. It has given me a chance to re-check my paper comparisons and see whether the driving experience dents them in any way.

Putting the change in fuel aside for a second, the difference in price is the first key issue that will attract the attention of fleet managers and drivers alike. The 1.9TDi SE costs £14,495 on the road, while the V5 costs £16,695, although the top-of-the-range petrol model does add satellite navigation to an already comprehensive package.

Despite the impressive performance of the V5 and the wonderful sounding engine, a quick glance at carbon dioxide emissions seals the argument in financial terms.

The V5 throws out 211g/km, so a driver would be taxed on 24% of the car's full price this year, 26% next year and 28% the year after. By contrast, the diesel Toledo produces 140g/km, so including the 3% supplement for being 'dirty', it remains at 18% for three years.

In those three years, the tax liability of the V5 is £13,020, so a 22% taxpayer would be charged £2,864, compared to the diesel driver, whose liability is £7,827 over three years and who therefore pays £1,721.

If you add the £55 saving in annual road tax for the diesel (£110 compared to £155), the 20 mpg difference in fuel economy (32.1mpg v 54.3mpg, although I have got nearer 60mpg at times) and the fact the diesel has more torque, it makes you understand why diesel sales are rocketing among fleets this year.

On the road, although the V5 engine has a fantastic edge to it, the torque of the diesel more than answers back. At cruising speeds the heavy oil engine is almost silent and apart from its traditional clatter at start-up, is refined enough to tackle a petrol model any day of the week. After more than 1,000 miles with the car, in my opinion the diesel model wins hands down.

Company car tax bill 2002 (22% taxpayer) £48 per 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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