New SEAT Toledo

The SEAT Toledo has gone back to its saloon roots, but is it a return to form, too?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The Toledo is the kind of car you buy with your head. The huge boot, generous amount of rear legroom and grown-up driving experience are all pretty much without match at this kind of price. Luxurious and fun the Toledo is not, but for many people there are things that are of far higher importance in a car, and it’s in these practical and sensible areas that the Toledo excels.

First the SEAT Toledo had a boxy saloon shape, then it was a controversial MPV-like hatchback based on the Altea. Now for this latest generation, it's back to its three-box saloon styling.  

It’s built on a stretched Ibiza platform and despite the saloon body-shape it actually has a wide-opening hatchback boot. It’s the same trick used by the Skoda Rapid (which shares the same mechanicals) and allows for easy access to the massive 550-litre boot.

It would be fair to say that the SEAT and Skoda share more than a passing resemblance to each other, too. The Toledo has got SEAT’s bold grille and headlights, as well as some more shapely taillights but the changes end there. In the flesh, it’s a little more exciting than the Skoda - but only just.

The margins are even smaller in the interior, which boasts the same kind of impressive build quality and sensible design. Admittedly a lot of the plastics are hard and scratchy but that’s something you can forgive, given the predicted £12,500 starting price.

That will get you a petrol-powered 1.2 model with 74bhp but buyers can also choose a 1.2 TSI engine, a 1.4 TSI or the 1.6 TDI driven here. It emits just 114g/km and is capable of 64.2mpg. There's an Ecomotive version of this engine available, too, which can manage 72.4mpg

Out on the road, the 1.6 TDI is smooth and mostly quiet but when you’re accelerating hard it can sound a bit harsh. With 104bhp it manages to accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and, while that won’t get your heart racing, it never feels underpowered.

Despite its modest price-tag the Toledo is impressively refined, too. At the motorway limit there’s only a hint of wind noise and you don’t need to shout to be heard. The low speed ride could be a bit less jittery but, on the whole, the Toledo feels comfortable.

And while the handling is safe and tough to criticize, it’s not particularly fun. But that’s almost what this car is all about – it’s very sensible.

There’s more room in the rear seats than in the current Leon and there’s over 200 litres of extra boot space. If that’s not enough to convince you, it also starts from around £4,000 less than the Leon, too. That said, a rear wiper and air-con are both options on the Toledo.

The new Toledo doesn’t look like the most exciting car on the road and it’s not thrilling to drive either, but there’s plenty to recommend here. The amount of space on offer is almost unmatched at this price-tag and while the ride could be better, the Toledo does very little wrong.

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