2013 SEAT Toledo review
By Bob Hume, 06th December 2012
The Toledo has been reintroduced, having taken a sabbatical for a few years. Shaped like a 3-box saloon, it‘s actually a hatchback and SEAT‘s current design identity is obvious from the handsome new front end. The rest of the exterior is sublimely styled and smart.
This is SEAT‘s affordable mid-sized family car, placed squarely between the Ibiza and Leon and designed to compete with the Kia‘s C‘eed and the Hyundai i30.
I was lucky enough to be offered the loan of a car by Simon Trainor, Sales Manager at Agnew SEAT in Belfast during the week before the dealership launch.
The test car was a 104bhp Toledo 1.6 TDI SE (which SEAT predicts will be the most popular), fitted with optional 17" 'Dynamic' Alloys.
The underpinnings of the new car are a variation on a trusted platform used in various cars across the VW group, ranging from the Skoda Rapide to the Audi A1.
Interior is typical of the great quality that’s expected of cars from the Volkswagen Group – it’s well-built and hard-wearing, yet comfortable and spacious. Cloth and plastics quality is noticeably better than the Korean rivals.
The rear cabin space is notably good: Simon demonstrated by sitting in the back seat behind the driver’s seat, which was adjusted to my driving position. The rear was roomy enough to accommodate him comfortably with some legroom to spare - I’m no slip of a thing and Simon is over 6 foot tall.
One of the Toledo’s key selling points will be its huge 550-litre boot space and I’ll admit that I was surprised that the car’s design allowed for such a large and practically-shaped loading space. The tail gate opens high to allow for larger loads and rear seats fold in the expected 60/40 fashion.
All controls and instruments are placed well and fall easily to hand. The two dials and small display set into the binnacle are simple, clear and easy to read. The toggles set into the pleasantly tactile leather steering wheel control the trip computer, media player and phone connectivity.
Steering is light but accurate, handling is comfortable and safe on all types of journey and the car is particularly accomplished as a motorway cruiser. Road and engine noise are kept to a minimum.
Over the time that I had the car, there was a particularly icy night and the Electronic Stability Control took over a couple of times on the way home. It felt effective enough to avert something potentially nasty but not so intrusive that a skilled driver’s control would be removed.
As well as the ESP, other safety equipment includes driver, passenger, side-impact and chest airbags, and combined with the SEAT’s protective cabin structure that is already been used in the Skoda Rapide, the Toledo has been awarded a 5-Star Euro NCAP rating.
The diesel engines are both 1.6 litres, with 89bhp and the tested 104bhp.The choice of petrol engines are a 1.2-litre three-cylinder producing 74bhp, 1.2-litre four-cylinder TSI with a choice of 84 or 104bhp and a 1.4-litre TSI with a 120bhp output. The 104-brake TDI delivers a lot of grunt low in the range and feels muscular throughout.
The tested car returns a combined consumption of 64mpg and emits 114 g/km, making it an excellent choice as both a family and company car.
A 6-speed manual transmission complements the petrol engines and the diesels have a 5-speed manual. Next year, buyers will also have the option of seven-speed twin-clutch transmission.
The Toledo excels in practicality: the vast boot and passenger space will undoubtedly be enough to interest buyers but aspects like affordability, quality, safety, fuel economy and design should seal the deal. Combine this with the reliability that’s already expected from this car and SEAT undoubtedly has a winner.
Special thanks to Simon from Agnew SEAT for the loan of the car. The Agnew SEAT dealership launch of the new Toledo takes place on Saturday 8th December.
Test drives and further information are available from:
1 Glenmachan Place
Phone: 028 9032 1177
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/agnewseat