Mark Tisshaw
15 February 2013

What is it?

This is the model that, on paper, makes the most sense in the new Seat Toledo range. Go any lower than the 84bhp 1.2 TSI in the line-up, and you’ll end up with the outdated 74bhp 1.2 MPI engine, which is slower and less powerful but is lumbered with worse economy and greater CO2 emissions, and comes with more expensive road tax and increased fuel bills as a result.

Go any higher in the range, into the more powerful petrols and more efficient diesels, and the price goes up considerably as a result, thus losing the main selling point of the Toledo as cheap, practical and no-frills transport.

So the £14,120 Toledo 1.2 TSI 85 in S trim, the only trim available with this engine, would appear to be the Toledo's sweet spot.

What is it like?

Inoffensive. Tests of the Toledo, and its identical twin, the Skoda Rapid, have left no lasting impression dynamically, and it’s much the same here.

Not that there’s anything drastically wrong with the car: performance is acceptable and accessible, with peak torque arriving low down the rev range. It’s never brisk, but the engine is still a smooth and quiet companion, sending power to the front wheels through a slick five-speed manual gearbox.

Try and drive with a bit of enthusiasm and the economy will inevitably take a big hit, especially in town, but drive more sedately – as most Toledos will spend their lives doing – and you'll end up with economy in the low to mid-40s.

The dynamics are again acceptable rather than memorable. Its previous-generation VW Polo underpinnings result in an easy-going nature, and the controls are all nicely weighted and inoffensive. The ride is okay, never uncomfortable but also never particularly supple. The handling is a high point with a crisp turn-in, no doubt helped by the lighter engine at the front.

Where the car really stars is in the cabin. Not so much with the design, which is robust rather than eye-catching, or with the materials, which are more B&Q than M&S, but with the amount of space that's offered. There’s ample room for five, and a whopping great hatchback that lifts to reveal a cavernous 550-litre boot with a wide opening area. The driving position is also excellent, as is the all-round visibility from the driver’s seat.

Should I buy one?

It’s certainly the pick of the Toledos we’ve tried. The model is the best blend of price, performance and economy in the range, with improved dynamics afforded over more expensive Toledos by its lighter kerb weight.

But this is still not a car to buy because it's fun. Always competent but never engaging, the Toledo is a car you buy because value and space are top of your priority list.

Seat Toldeo 1.2 TSI 85 S

Price: £14,120; 0-62mph: 11.8sec; Top speed: 114mph; Economy: 55.4mpg (combined); CO2: 119g/km; Kerb weight: 1161kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 84bhp at 4800rpm; Torque: 118lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate


Yet again Seat have to make

1 year 40 weeks ago

Yet again Seat have to make do with another product that doesn't fill their remit because parent company VW say so.

I'd like to know how their Autoemocion tag line will fit with this product!



It's all about the twisties........


1 year 40 weeks ago

Most importantly, is the back seat comfy? The carpet easy to hose sick off?

For this vehicle has minicab written all over it!


1 year 40 weeks ago

Is this really the same company that made the Mk1 Leon Cupra TDi? I loved that car, but wouldn't consider any car from their current range at all... Inoffensive? No, its much worse than that, its banal, vapid, etc etc


Can't see the point either...

1 year 40 weeks ago

... as surely the Grandad Market is catered for by the Skoda Rapide. New Leon looks nice and Ibiza has its pluses, but I suspect this is a S Europe special which will simply further dilute (not exactly stellar?) Rapide sales.

So a badge-engineering own-goal: at the very least Seat should have done a proper hatchback verson to differentiate it, upgraded the suspension / ride / handling, and skipped the base engine. Or maybe done something useful with it, like a van or pickup version!

Agree - pointless

1 year 40 weeks ago

If VW is serious about Seat being its sporting brand then this model should never have been put into their lineup - that is what Skoda is for.

Still they have a history of doing this - the Toledo of 2005 should surely never have been a Seat either, but would have fitted into Skoda's lineup alright.

As the former ovner of a 2000 registered Leon Cupra which was a great car, all these anomalies are disappointing. Still, while I could never take to the styling of the second-gen Leon at least the latest one looks a bit better and hopefully the 3 door will look better still. In FR trim it is quite appealing - hopefully there will be a Cupra soon.

Hand up

1 year 40 weeks ago

i will put my hand up and say i quite like this Toledo, plain, simple and subtle.

However like all these new models SEAT shares with Skoda, it has more appeal wearing a Skoda badge.

I have lost patience with SEAT so VW must surely be getting to the end of pouring money into the bottomless pit. Sad.



1 year 40 weeks ago

Nice enough car in isolation but I agree it seems a bit pointless and doesn't really fit in with the SEAT brand. The interior does look smart though, you can very clearly see the strong VW influence there. Its a shame the Ibiza doesn't get a VW derived interior like this as it's own feels very cheap and nasty. 

Please make it cheap and cheerful

1 year 40 weeks ago

One of my friend jokingly calls Polo "Granny Wagon"! which makes this a rather over-stretched "Granny Wagon"!

If Seat skips the entry level engines and offers 105 TSI engine from £12k then this car begins to make sense.

fadyady wrote: One of my

1 year 40 weeks ago

fadyady wrote:

One of my friend jokingly calls Polo "Granny Wagon"! which makes this a rather over-stretched "Granny Wagon"!

If Seat skips the entry level engines and offers 105 TSI engine from £12k then this car begins to make sense.

I call them "granny wagons" myself but with a feeling of disquiet that the VW Group  should not consider granny deserving of something more interesting!


1 year 40 weeks ago

I really feel for Seat, give the entire line-up sports suspension and add ons, make them funky again. There is an original Ibiza with the system porsche engine near where I live and I still stop and look at it and think how beautiful. Iti such a simple, clean design, possibly one of the best ever small car designs of all time. It has its FIAT group quiks and it is everything SEAT should be now, fun, stylish cheap transport. Looking at this, I would just go for the better looking Rapid. It even makes teh Kia C'eed look interesting. (Thought I would never in a million years say that a Seat would make a Kia look interesting but there you go). 


VW - sort it out! 

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