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Seat's new Leon will be rightfully grabbing the attention for the Volkswagen-owned brand because it is excellent. But its sibling, the Toledo, has arrived with less of a fanfare, is also an interesting car that, for the right audience, will be more than worth a look.
The Toledo is positioned between the supermini Ibiza and lower medium Leon, and is a notchback design where it has the appearance of a saloon but with a full top-hinged tailgate.
It's a badge Seat has used in the past, on cars with a similar layout to this, before the last generation of Toledo, which was a larger version of the Altea mini-MPV.
The model is priced at a little under the cost of a Leon, but is both longer and has a larger boot than the hatchback, although it's not as stylish.
Only the top SE specification, rather than E or S, gets alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control or a front armrest, and the fact that there isn't a spec higher than SE, which is the middle of three on the Leon, shows where the priorities are for this model. There is also just the one diesel variant, this 105hp 1.6, along with three 1.2-litre alternatives and a 1.4 petrol that's the only one available as an automatic.
On the inside, the Toledo is as useful as the dimensions suggest, comfortably taking four adults and with a huge 550-litre boot compared with the Leon's 380 litres. The cabin is of decent quality, but the touchscreen audio system, a £700 option on our car comprising satellite navigation and DAB radio, frustrates for usability.
There are no complaints with the driving experience, and the 105hp engine is adequate for a car that has little by way of sporting pretentions, although the 106g/km is 7g/km higher than the Leon with the same engine, and it could do with a sixth gear for higher-speed runs.
On a cost per mile basis, the Toledo's P11D price difference versus the more expensive Leon isn't enough to give it an overall pence per mile victory as the Leon is more efficient and has a significantly better residual value. The Toledo also suffers from being more expensive and having a lower residual value than the Skoda Rapid that it shares a factory with in the Czech Republic, a car that is almost identical in dimension terms.
The Toledo is probably best seen as an option for those that put cost and practicality at the heart of their decision making, but its biggest problems are that the Leon is cheaper to run, and if you want the larger boot and lower P11D, it relies on brand reputation to beat the more cost-efficient Skoda Rapid.
Seat Toledo 1.6 TDI Ecomotive 105 SE
Model price range
Service, maintenance and repair
Vehicle Excise Duty
Cost per mile
Large and practical for the sector, but likely to be overlooked