Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 77%
Seat specialises in 'different'. Its quirky styling has been well received in the UK, but its Toledo hatchback-cum-MPV has been overlooked by the majority of buyers. And that's despite hundreds of them being employed as taxis in the Barcelona area.
We took to the road in one to find out if it deserved to be forgotten or is a hidden gem.
1. Looks 7/10
From most angles, the Seat Toledo is indistinguishable from its Altea MPV brother. And that's because the two cars are fundamentally the same internally. The Toledo has a bigger boot, which is covered by a Renault Megane-type bulging bootlid. And its here the Toledo looks most awkward.
But there's real design flair -- like all other Seats -- with its scalloped sides and curvy front end. The Stylance model we drove and the Sport come with 16-inch alloys, while the entry-level Reference has 16-inch steel wheels.
2. Looks inside 8/10
The Seat Toledo shares its interior with the Altea, which means it's stylish, comfortable and well built. The seats are supportive, and there's a chunky steering wheel which features audio controls. The instrumentation glows in a red hue and all the switches and buttons have a pleasant robust feel.
3. Practicality 9/10
This is the Seat Toledo's real trump card. It has an enormous 500-litre boot, rising to 1,440 litres with the rear seats folded. It also has a false boot floor, which allows rarely-used items to be stowed out of the way. Although the Toledo is officially a five seater, it's a push to fit three adults in the rear. There's a decent amount of storage in the cabin, too.
4. Ride and Handling 8/10
Seat is the Volkswagen Group's sporty brand, so its cars just don't do dull. The ride is firm, only becoming tiresome on badly maintained roads. There's plenty of feedback through the steering wheel via an electro-mechanical steering system, which varies the weight of the steering depending on speed -- light at low speeds for easy manoeuvres, heavy at speed.Seat is the Volkswagen Group's sporty brand, so its cars just don't do dull. The ride is firm, only becoming tiresome on badly maintained roads. There's plenty of feedback through the steering wheel via an electro-mechanical steering system, which varies the weight of the steering depending on speed -- light at low speeds for easy manoeuvres, heavy at speed.
5. Performance 7/10
Seat has equipped the Toledo with a range of four engines; two petrols and two diesels. The diesel options are likely to be the most popular, with a clattery 105bhp 1.9-litre and the far more refined 2-litre 140bhp diesel we tested. The latter is available with the VW group's excellent and fast-shifting DSG semi-automatic gearbox. Petrol options include a 105bhp 1.6 and a 145bhp 2-litre which is also available with a tiptronic semi-auto 'box.
The headline figures are its 0-62mph range of 9.7 seconds for the 2-litre petrol to 12.9 seconds for the 1.6, while top speeds range from the 1.6's 112mph to the 2-litre petrol's 128mph.
6. Running Costs 7/10
Depreciation is the biggest cost for buyers of a new Seat Toledo, losing between 47 and 49 per cent of its value over three years/36,000 miles. That's noticeably more than the cheaper Altea. Insurance groups are reasonably low, as is the road tax on the 1.6 model -- CO2 emissions of 149g/km place it in £115 band C. The 2-litre diesels fall into band D, while the petrols are all band F.Few worries here, with all the mechanical parts proven in other models in the VW-Audi Group. Seat performs well in the Reliability Index for the cost and frequency of repairs.
8. Safety 8/10
Although the Seat Toledo hasn't been put through the EuroNCAP crash test programme, it should still perform well in the event of a collision. All models receive driver, passenger, front side and curtain airbags, ABS and traction control. The range-topping Sport model also receives electronic stability programme and brake assist.
9. Equipment 7/10
The entry-level Seat Toledo is fairly basic, with just air-con, electric front windows and a CD player as the highlights. We tested the Stylance model, which adds headlights which stay on after the engine is turned off, front fog lights, folding electric door mirrors, two-zone climate control, electric rear windows, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic dimming rear view mirror, cruise control, leather steering wheel and gearknob and a height adjustable driver's seat with lumbar support.
The range-topping Sport model adds sports seats and a six-speed gearbox.10. X-Factor 8/10
Stylish and practical is an unusual combination in this part of the market, but the Seat Toledo manages both. Its worth seeking out if you value some individuality.
Model tested: Seat Toledo 2.0 TDi Stylance
On the road price: £14,490
Price range: £12,520 -- £16,995
Date tested: March 2007
Road tester: Stuart Milne