SEAT's Toledo has long occupied an odd spot in the company's range, it sitting above the Leon, but being largely based on the same underpinnings. Previously that's meant a three-box shape (something it's reverted to), a familiar profile with bonnet, roof and boot, but with this third generation Toledo SEAT came over all MPV-esque, the Toledo going tall and mono-box, its looks and role much like its Altea relation. That might explain its relatively short production run, it only lasting a scant four years, SEAT's replacement reverting back to the familiar three-box layout.
Utilising Volkswagen Group underpinnings and powertrains means the SEAT Toledo was offered with much the same engine choices as you'll find in the Leon, Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda's Octavia. That means everything from 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol units, to a 170hp 2.0 TDI diesel. Forget both of those, as the Toledo was only ever sold in Ireland fitted with its more sensible powerplants. Scour the classifieds and you'll find little but 1.6-litre petrol engines or the ubiquitous 1.9 TDI unit on offer under the Toledo's bonnet.
That 1.6-litre petrol delivers 102hp and returns an average fuel consumption figure of 7.7 litres/100km; the 1.9-litre TDI delivers 105hp and an official combined fuel consumption figure of 5.4 litres/100km. The diesel is the quicker of the pairing, not thanks to its greater hp figure, but its greater torque, that making the TDI model an easier, punchier drive. That's particularly true if you've filled up the spacious cabin with passengers - something it's rather adept at doing. The diesel is additionally offered with a six-speed automatic gearbox, but it's a rare option, so don't hold your breath on finding one.
The Toledo's interior majors on SEAT's usual mix of simplicity and user friendliness. While the expansive black plastics on the dashboard are not quite up to the standard of its Volkswagen Group stable mates, that was always reflected in its price when new. All drive decently too, with reasonable handling for a family car and a comfortable ride.
It only survived on SEAT's price lists for four years, its position in the line-up rather negated by SEAT's own Altea XL, which brought all the passenger carrying utility and large boot space of the Toledo with lower purchase and running costs.
Choice is fairly limited, but you don't really need anything other than that 1.9-litre TDI diesel engine. The petrol is okay, but if you plan on filling it up with people, or venturing out of town on longer journeys, you'll be glad of the diesel's extra flexibility. All came generously specified as standard, so as a minimum you should expect to get air conditioning, remote central locking and alloy wheels among the standard equipment list.
SEAT Toledo 1.9 TDI
Engine: 1,896cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Maximum speed: 183km/h
0-100km/h: 12.4 seconds
Fuel consumption: 5.4 litres/100km
- Interior space
- Decent economy
- Comprehensive standard specification
- Quirky looks
- Interior a bit workmanlike
- Diesel refinement when cold
Odd as this third generation Toledo might be its relative obscurity, mixed with decent practicality make it a useful family purchase on the used market. Only limited availability means there aren't many to choose from, but a 1.9 TDI engine for economy and performance with a middling specification could just make for the perfect, if unusual, family car.