Used SEAT Toledo review
A full used buyer’s guide on the SEAT Toledo covering the Toledo Mk4 (2012-2019)
You could be forgiven for not even realising that the fourth-generation SEAT Toledo ever existed – not because it was a bad car, but because it was one of those invisible models that came and went without anybody really noticing.
Indeed, the three previous generations of Toledo were hardly big sellers, so SEAT’s decision to introduce a fourth take on the formula didn’t seem like the most logical move. Sure enough, the Mk4 sold in relatively small numbers, even though it was reasonably priced, inoffensively styled and offered a healthy dose of practicality.
When you throw in the car’s VW Group running gear and build quality, it’s clear that there is still plenty to like about this mid-sized family hatch, despite its low profile.
- SEAT Toledo Mk4 (2012-2019) - Family hatch’s low profile gives it the edge on pricing for used buyers.
The Toledo Mk4 arrived back in October 2012, with 74bhp 1.2, 84bhp and 104bhp 1.2 TSI, or 104bhp and 120bhp 1.4 TSI petrol powerplants. There was also a 104bhp 1.6 TDI diesel; 18 months later, an 89bhp 1.4 TDI was added. The 1.4 TSI came only in DSG auto form.
In October 2013 the S gained rear electric windows and parking sensors, while the SE got navigation, DAB radio and privacy glass. In June 2014 the Toledo i-Tech was slotted in at the top of the range; this was replaced by Style in June 2015, then in September 2015 the Toledo Connect arrived with SEAT’s Full Link smartphone-friendly infotainment.
A 1.0 TSI arrived in spring 2017, and in August 2018 SEAT launched its Easy programme, which saw all options dropped. Buyers simply picked the engine, trim level and paint colour they wanted.
Which one should I buy?
Most of the engines are excellent, yet the 1.2 petrol and 1.4 TDI aren’t very perky. The DSG automatic works well, but the manual box is also slick. Diesel buyers who live near or regularly enter a Clean Air Zone will want a Euro 6-compliant engine if you buy diesel.
The base Toledo is best avoided because it’s pretty spartan by modern standards, although it did come with electrically adjustable and heated mirrors, Bluetooth, air-conditioning and a six-speaker hi-fi. The SE added 16-inch alloys, a five-inch touchscreen display, climate control (with refrigerated glovebox) and cruise control. I-Tech had Alcantara and leather trim; Style featured a 6.5-inch touchscreen.
Alternatives to the SEAT Toledo
Skoda’s Rapid is pretty much the same car as the Toledo, but with different badges. It’s more readily available (not that you’ll be spoiled for choice), and the Spaceback version gives the option of a more estate-like silhouette. Other fine small family hatches include the Ford Focus, Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra, all of which are great value and plentiful, while the same is true of the Kia Ceed and Hyundai i30.
The VW Golf is related to the Toledo, but although there’s a huge number for sale, you will pay more. We’d also suggest that you look at the Mazda 3, because it’s well designed, good to drive and has a great cabin.
What to look for
The handling is soggy, but an officially approved Eibach spring kit drops the car by 30mm and sharpens things up.
The factory-fit Bridgestone tyres are noisy and not as grippy as the Dunlop SP SportMaxx and Continental Premium Contact 2 alternatives.
Toledos with keyless go fitted seem to get through batteries in their key fobs quite quickly, but the batteries are easily replaced.
Some Toledo owners aren’t impressed with the standard lights; they’ve subsequently fitted Osram Nightbreaker bulbs for a better light output.
Fault patterns are likely to echo other VW Group cars on the A05 platform, so Mk4 Ibiza forums are a good place to start. Some Toledo owners mention dash rattles.
One of the Toledo’s highlights is its roomy cabin, which offers enough space for five adults, with ample head and legroom. The build quality is good, but there’s a lot of plastic on show, even if it’s generally high-quality plastic.
The dash design is clear and boot space is, at 550 litres, well above class average. Fold the seats (they don’t quite lie flat) and capacity jumps to an impressive 1,490 litres.
You can choose Fixed or Flexible servicing regimes. With the former the car must be serviced every 12 months or 9,300 miles; the latter is every two years or 18,600 miles. Fixed alternates between Minor and Major (£189/£319); Flexible requires a Major every time.
Brake fluid is needed every two years (£69); the use of long-life coolant negates a replacement schedule. All engines have a cambelt that must be replaced every five years or 130,500 miles (£499). For some jobs (eg new pads/discs) dealers offer genuine or pattern parts.
The Toledo Mk4 has been recalled three times, first in August 2016 for faulty child locks fitted to some cars built from November 2015-April 2016. In July 2017, 35 Toledos built from May-October 2016 had faulty seatbelt-pretensioner pyrotechnics that could enter the cabin in a crash. In May 2019, 50 cars made in December 2017 had airbags that might not inflate quickly enough.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
Showing just what a low-volume seller the Toledo was, neither it nor its Skoda Rapid cousin have appeared in a Driver Power survey. However, a handful of people have reviewed the SEAT on carbuyer.co.uk, and encouragingly nearly all of them awarded it the full five stars. Owners are especially impressed by the value, cabin quality and space, user-friendliness and low running costs.
The Toledo’s problem was that it didn’t lead the class in any way – it just got on quietly in the background doing its job, while more charismatic rivals received all of the attention. The thing is, while the SEAT is unexciting, so are some of its competitors, which invariably sold in bigger numbers. Relatively few Toledos were shifted, despite a wide range, so there aren’t many used cars to choose from. You might have to travel to buy the right one for your needs. However, if you want a model that’s user-friendly, cheap to buy and run, made to a high standard and (generally) well equipped, it makes a lot of sense.