“The SEAT Toledo is a solid and practical family car that lacks any excitement.”
The SEAT Toledo sits between the Ibiza and the Leon in SEAT's line-up. Despite looking like a saloon car, it actually has a hatchback boot, so there's a huge opening that makes it easy to transport large items with minimal fuss. It's almost identical to the Skoda Rapid – and almost identically priced, too – but is designed as an alternative to family cars like the Volkswagen Golf. It has far more space than the Golf and is a lot cheaper, too, but doesn’t feel particularly high quality and isn’t very exciting to drive, either. Thanks to low running costs and its value price tag, the Toledo is definitely the type of car you buy with your head, not your heart.
The best all-rounders in the SEAT Toledo line-up are the 1.2-litre TSI Ecomotive and the 1.6-litre TDI Ecomotive diesel. Both can accelerate from 0-62mph in around 10.5 seconds and that proves to be more than enough for driving around town and just about enough for motorway driving. There's not much fun to be had in the corners, however, and the Toledo certainly isn’t a car you’d take out for a drive on a whim, but thanks to responsive steering and well-placed pedals, it's predictable, safe and very easy to use.
When it comes to comfort and refinement, the Toledo impresses more than it disappoints. Any pronounced bumps or ups and downs in the road are soaked up well and when travelling at 70mph it's very easy to hold a conversation without raising your voice. There's more wind noise than you’d get from a lot of family cars, but at this price tag it's very impressive. The only real downside is when you’re travelling slowly around town the suspension struggles to settle down, making the Toledo feel quite jittery.
The SEAT Toledo uses basically the same mechanicals as the Volkswagen Polo and the SEAT Ibiza. That's good news for reliability, because both those cars have had very few problems with their engines or anything else for that matter. Safety is impressive, too, thanks to the standard fitting of ABS, ESP and a host of airbags, including front, side, head and additional chest airbags - of which helped it get five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety test. Higher-spec models get fog lights that can help illuminate junctions and make pulling out in to busy traffic a bit easier.
Thanks to its shape, the Toledo has a huge 550-litre boot. It's even bigger than a Peugeot 508 SW estate and 200 litres larger than a standard VW Golf. The hatchback boot – which means the rear windscreen opens along with the boot lid – gives you easy access to all luggage and you can fold the rear seats down if you need more space. The rear seats get plenty of legroom, so carrying four tall adults won’t be a problem.
Value for money
Very few things come as standard on the cheapest model, so you’ll probably have to add a few thousand pounds to the price before you’ll have a model you actually want to live with every day. Given the amount of space on offer in the Toledo, it will still work out as a great-value car.
Every engine, except the most basic 1.2-litre MPI, is cheap to run. SEAT expects the 1.6-litre TDI diesel to be the bestseller and with CO2 emissions as low as 104g/km in the Ecomotive model you can see why. That means road tax will be free for a year and extremely cheap for every year after that. It can also manage 74.2mpg, which gives you a theoretical range of 890 miles on one tank of diesel. The petrol 1.2-litre TSI only manages 54.2mpg and offers the same amount of power as the diesel, but it's still an impressive figure for a petrol engine.