MK3 SEAT Toledo
Fed up with boring family hatches and bland looking mini-MPVs?
If that’s the case and you don’t want to shell out a fortune, the MK3 SEAT Toledo could well be the ticket. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re excused, for the ’05-onwards Toledo didn’t really create too much of an impact with British customers who saw it as a rather curious oddity sitting between the rather similar looking Altea and Leon models in SEAT’s product portfolio. Used buyers can take advantage of this perceived lack of image by picking up Toledos for a song.
The raison d’etre for the SEAT Toledo is not instantly apparent. Whereas its predecessor was the saloon version of the popular Leon and cornered a small niche following, this model ditched the boot in favour of a hatchback and in so doing muddied the waters a little. First shown at the Madrid Motor Show as the Toledo Prototipo in May 2004, the Toledo followed hot on the heels of the Altea. Sales in the UK were rather slow, the public confused by SEAT’s sudden lookalike policy and the transformation from the Volkswagen Group’s sporting brand to one that seemed to produce a lot of cars that looked like mini-MPVs.
WHAT YOU GET
At 4.50 metres long and 1.77 metres wide, the Toledo is longer but narrower than the crop of proper mini-MPVs but features many of their attributes. A two-level luggage compartment boasts a hefty 500 litre capacity – more than enough for a week away. The parcel shelf can be configured in a couple of positions to offer added versatility. In high position, it houses a hidden compartment while if set low, you can create a hidden floor. Although its durability may be called into question, it’s a good way of keeping your valuables away from prying eyes. Side compartments with elasticated nets provide easy and safe storage for fragile items.
SEAT worked hard to make the Toledo as innovative as possible and one such development was the fitment of Bluetooth technology. This allows a wireless connection between a mobile phone and the car itself. The multi-function steering wheel features buttons whereby calls can be accepted or disconnected and voice recognition. When using this function, the driver can verbally place a call to a number or name or save names and numbers to the phone book, all the while keeping both hands on the wheel. The audio system is fully integrated into the centre console of the dashboard and features a slot for standard or MP3 format discs.
The interior is nicely detailed, if not quite so radical as the exterior. The instruments sit in deep cowls and are trimmed in satin aluminium effect material, this trim extending to the high level centre console. Twinned with the three spoke steering wheel and figure-hugging seats, it gives a rather sporting feel that seems at odds with the elevated seating position. The switches and minor controls feel up to the usual Volkswagen Group standard and it’s possible to specify a very effective satellite navigation system with colour LCD screen.
WHAT YOU PAY
You’ll be able to pick up a 54-plated 1.6 Reference model for less than £8,800 and 1.9-litre TDI Reference models can be found for around £9,000 with the plusher Stylance versions tacking another £600 onto these values.
The Toledo is big, safe, good to drive and markedly undervalued.