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 Go any lower than the 84bhp 1.2 TSI in the line-up, and you’ll end up with the outdated 74bhp 1.2 MPI engine, which is slower and less powerful but is lumbered with worse economy and greater CO2 emissions, and comes with more expensive road tax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