Seat Toledo Hatchback (2012 - ) review
Whether you love or loathe the looks of the new Toledo will depend on whether you value discreet elegance over statement-making design details.The Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.2 With discreet styling, immense practicality and representing good value for money, the new SEAT Toledo makes an excellent proposition in purely objective terms. If you like your cars to make a style statement you’re better off looking elsewhere, because although it’s big on usability, it lacks charisma.
- Huge boot
- Excellent TSI petrol engines
- Good cabin noise insulation
- Some cheap feeling interior plastics
- Restrained exterior styling
- Entry level models sparsely equipped
At a glance
The Toledo will be available in three trim levels from launch: E, S and SE. Full specification details are yet to be confirmed but standard equipment on entry level models is sparse, limited to central locking and electric windows. S models get remote central locking, slit-folding rear seat, trip computer, illuminated glove box, air con and Bluetooth connectivity. Top of the range SE versions are further fitted with cruise control, 16-inch alloys, front fog and cornering lights, climate control, rear electric windows and a leather clad steering wheel and gear lever. A range of optional extras will also be available from launch, including Hill-hold Assist, rear parking sensors and sat-nav.
Whether you love or loathe the looks of the new Toledo will depend on whether you value discreet elegance over statement-making design details. The angular headlights, trapezoidal grille and sharply creased ‘tornado line’ that runs the length of the car give a smart, confident appearance, though many are likely to be put off by its sheer subtlety, particularly when SEAT is best known for its bold designs. The stubby saloon profile hides the car’s 4.48 metre length and the fact that it’s actually a hatchback. Despite being long for what is essentially a B segment car (think Ford Fiesta), the Toledo is narrow, making it easy to thread through traffic.
The classic dashboard layout and two-dial instrument binnacle may seem a tad dated when compared to its rivals, but there’s no denying that there’s a certain sophistication to the Toledo’s cabin. Being a product of the Volkswagen group, the switchgear is pleasingly tactile and feels built to last. Some of the trim plastics aren’t as sumptuous as you might expect, but this is the only real concession to the Toledo’s bargain price. The seats are simple cloth affairs, yet prove comfortable and supportive, and on the whole, the cabin is ergonomically sound, with everything just where you’d expect it to be. One bugbear was that the pedals on our left-hand drive test car were significantly off-set to the right. It’s more off-putting than disastrous, and it’s not yet confirmed whether the pedal box in UK cars will be similarly arranged.
In terms of outright speed, the best engine is the 120bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine. Combined to VW’s quick-shifting DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox, it will crack 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds. We would recommend the 104bhp 1.2-litre TSI over it, however, as it is nearly as fast (taking 10.4 seconds to get to the same speed) while being significantly more economical. It’s turbocharged power delivery means it feels a lot stronger under acceleration than its tiny displacement would have you believe, and it certainly won’t leave you feeling short changed. The 1.6-litre diesel motors feel similarly muscular, with low-rev torque delivery that makes for effortless progress.
This is where the Toledo really gets into its stride. The 550 litre boot is big enough to outclass far bigger and more expensive cars such as the Ford Focus Estate and Vauxhall Insignia, and the huge rear hatchback opening allows for convenient packing of even the most cumbersome loads. The cabin is similarly commodious, with numerous storage cubbies, well designed door bins and a massive glove box. Passengers are well catered for, with enough head and legroom both front and rear for taller adults to get comfortable. With split-folding rear seats on all but the entry level model, the Toledo is the car of choice for those who value practicality and ease of use over anything else.
Alongside its other VW group stable-mates, SEAT enjoys a reputation for reliability and robustness. They’re not entirely bullet-proof however, with some models suffering from electrical gremlins. The Ibiza on which the new Toledo is based has so far shown no such problems, so should make a safe bet for a stress-free companion. SEAT offers a three year/60,000 mile manufacturer warranty, which is now bettered by rivals Kia and Vauxhall.
Ride and handling
For a car whose price point will see it contend with the Ford Fiesta and other similarly city biased fare, the Toledo has a decent ride quality (and hushed refinement) on the motorway cruise. Thankfully this hasn’t been created at the expense of cornering ability: the Toledo is grippy and predictable, though don’t expect it to serve up the dynamic thrills of the class leading Fiesta. The steering is well-weighted and consistent, and the Toledo serves up a well-judged blend of ride comfort and cornering ability.
If you’re looking to minimise on running costs, you’d think that the entry level 74bhp 1.2-litre petrol model would do nicely. In fact it is the second least economical engine of the lot, after the range-topping 120bhp 1.4-litre. The turbocharged 104bhp 1.2 TSI model is the one to go for, particularly in start-stop equipped Ecomotive trim, as it will average 56.5mpg and emit just 116g/km of CO2. If diesel is your fuel of choice, then the 1.6-litre TDI Ecomotive also performs well, managing a combined 72.4mpg whilst emitting the lowest CO2 of the model range, at 104g/km.
Structurally, the Toledo is identical to the Skoda Rapid, and shares its full five-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. The Seat comes with driver, passenger, side impact and thorax airbags, so you’ll be well protected if the worst happens. To make sure it doesn’t, Electronic Stability Control and anti-lock brakes are fitted as standard.