SEAT Toledo | Auto Express

28 Oct 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on SEAT Toledo | Auto Express

Verdict

If ever there was a car with an identity crisis, this is it. For most buyers, SEAT#039;s smaller, cheaper Altea will offer all the space and versatility they need. Only those who want a vast interior and huge boot will feel the need to shell out the extra £500 for a Toledo.

However, it is a practical, distinctive car which is good to drive.

It’s time for SEAT to ‘go large’ as the first right-hand-drive Toledos land on British shores. The firm has already made a big impact with its VW Golf-based Altea in the compact-MPV segment, and now aims to do the same with the new Toledo, which joins the large family car market this month.

SEAT has certainly played it safe – the car is virtually identical to the Altea from the nose to the rear wheel. But has it got what it takes to tempt people into supersizing, or will most be better off opting for the cheaper Altea?

The answer lies at the back of the newcomer, where a bulbous boot has been added underneath the rear window. Measuring 4,458mm in length, the Toledo is a big car, and the good news is that passengers reap the benefits of the swollen dimensions inside.

The five-seater cabin offers loads of room front and rear, and there’s plenty of space for luggage, too. The boot has 500 litres of capacity, placing the SEAT on a par with Volvo’s V70, and there’s also a neat split-level arrangement with a removable shelf. Fold the rear seats and the volume grows to 1,440 litres. An attractive and ergonomic dashboard means the driver will be comfortable as well.

In Stylance spec, buyers get a sporty three-spoke steering wheel and high-quality interior trim.

Out on the road, the Toledo proves itself to be highly competent. As with other models in the SEAT range, the suspension has been set up to offer a fairly firm ride, providing the benefit of sharp handling and taut body control. Even though this latest SEAT is no hot hatch, all but the most focused drivers will be more than satisfied.

Our test car was powered by the entry-level diesel engine – a 104bhp version of VW’s proven 1.9 TDI. Despite its reputation for punchy pace, with this lowly output the unit feels underpowered. Mated to a five-speed manual box as standard, it propels the Toledo from 0-60mph in 12.4 seconds – but those drivers who regularly travel fully laden with passengers and their luggage should opt for the 138bhp 2.0 TDI.

However, glance at the price list and it’s easy to see why many buyers will go for the sluggish 1.9; in Stylance trim this model costs £15,550, while the cheapest 2.0 TDI weighs in at £17,200. Factor in fuel economy of 51.4mpg and CO2 emissions of only 149g/km, and the entry-level oil-burning Toledo looks like a frugal choice – until you compare it to Skoda’s equivalent Octavia, which is only £13,800.

Despite the strong family resemblance to the Altea, the Toledo is ideal for people who are keen to stand out in the typically conservative large family car market. If you want to prove that not all motors need look the same, the Toledo could be just the ticket.

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