SPANISH car manufacturer Seat has managed to get the best of both worlds with the new fourth generation Toledo for it has the styling of a saloon but it also has the versatility of a hatchback writes Bryan Longworth.
For the latest Toledo has moved away from the MPV looks of its predecessor and reverted to the blueprint of the 1992 original - a five door fastback with the appearance of a saloon with a massive boot.
In fact the original Toledo was so popular in its native country that the Spanish slogan for the latest model is “The legend returns” which shows just how much Spanish motorists thought about that model.
I was reminded of the versatility of the new Toledo when collecting a large garden sun umbrella which would certainly not have fitted into a saloon car but because of the wide opening hatchback and being able to fold the rear seats I just managed to get it into the test car.
Seat stylists have been extremely conservative with their efforts for the new Toledo which closely resembles its relative the Skoda Rapid but because of its shape it has a very roomy interior and that large 550 litre boot under which is a spare wheel.
My test car was the Toledo SE 1.6 TDI Ecomotive priced at £17,840 on the road - the 105bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine has a top speed of 118mph, zero to 62mph time of 10.4 seconds combined fuel consumption of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 106g/km.
It had several optional extras including the winter pack which includes heated front seats that were ideal for the very cold test period and were among the hottest I have come across in test cars and also the quickest to heat up.
Otherwise the interior is functional with easy to see instrumentation including a very good computer which showed actual fuel consumption was over 60mpg and user friendly switchgear and controls with plenty of space for those inside on comfortable fabric seats.
My only grumble in the cabin concerned the driver’s lift up left armrest for with the arm rest down it was difficult to operate the hand brake and fix seat belts - an electronic hand brake would have solved the problem.
Performance, steering and handling were all adequate and the type of owner who will buy the new Toledo should be very pleased with the car for it does everything quite well and provides an enjoyable driving experience with excellent fuel consumption - the range on a full tank is around 650miles which is just about enough to travel from Calais to the South of France without refuelling!
The car should have particular appeal to family owners for there is the roomy and comfortable interior plus that massive load area under the hatchback which will easily accommodate bags for a family holiday and the other items that kids take along with them.
While I would not say that previous Toledos achieved legendary status in the UK as in Spain I consider that the latest model which has just gone on sale in this country will have plenty of appeal because it looks different from a conventional hatchback but has the versatility of one.
My Verdict: A hatchback with saloon appeal.
Model: New Seat Toledo SE 1.6 TDI Ecomotive.
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel.
Output: 105bhp @ 4400rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 118mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.4 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 70.6mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 106g/km.
Price: £17,840 on the road.