It is not so long ago that anything other than premium brand cars were pretty basic, poorly equipped and frankly a bit dull. These cars were driven out of necessity rather than by someone who had a real desire to drive one.
Roadtested By Hugh Maguire.
The current crop of new cars on the market today are a far cry from those described above. Look at the dashing Ford Fiesta, or the Alfa Romeo Guiletta as just two examples of compact cars with real style and plenty of equipment.
This week I am road testing another example of such cars, the stylish new Seat Toledo.
Seat as most will know is part of the Volkswagen Group. Seat however while benefiting from VW’s undoubted engineering expertise produce a very different car to the mainstay offerings from VW. Seat offer cars with a great flair in their style and a more sporting theme, and so it is with the Toledo. The model on test is the second trim level available (one above the base “Reference”model) called Style. There are two engine options, a 1.2 TFSI petrol or 1.6 TDI diesel as on test here.
It has that real touch of Mediterranean flair making it stand out from the crowd.
The Toledo is in fact a five door hatchback but looks identical to a three box saloon.
Its clean good looks and sweeping lines make it an attractive looking car.
Behind The Wheel
Initially I was less impressed by the cabin. I feel the large swathe of dashboard plastic looks a bit bland particularly on the passenger’s side. That said It all feels very well put together with a feel of quality evident throughout.
Standard equipment on the 1.6 TDi Style model is pretty good too with front airbags, head, side, curtain airbags, ABS, ESP, EBA, ISOFIX, Alarm, front and rear power windows, stereo CD and MP3, audio controls on steering column, integrated Bluetooth, alloy wheels, remote locking, cruise control, and on board computer.
Accommodation both front and rear is very good for a car in this class and the boot is huge.
The 4 cylinder 1.6 litre diesel produces 105 bhp and is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Overall performance is pretty good.
In practice it goes just fine and proves lively enough.
On the economy front it scores highly burning on average just 6.0 litres per 100km on my test.
On the road it proves lively and nimble with agile handling.
The steering is light and precise, in general it proves to be an enjoyable car to drive.
Noise levels are well suppressed giving the new Toledo a refined and quiet cabin even at motorway speeds.
The Seat Toledo is competing in a very competitive segment dominated by the likes of the stunning new Ford Focus, Opel Astra and indeed their own VW Group cars the excellent Golf and Jetta to name but a few, nevertheless it can hold it’s own, and while it is never going to outsell either of the above it will continue to carve a niche for itself in the Irish market with those who seek an excellent and versatile all-rounder with good levels of specification and a sense of real design flair in the style. Prices start at just €18,260 for the 1.2 TFSI Reference model.
The car on test this week, the Toledo 1.6 TDi diesel “Style” costs €22,510.