SEAT Toledo, front, action
SEAT Toledo, boot
SEAT Toledo, rear seats
SEAT Toledo, interior
SEAT Toledo, rear
SEAT Toledo, front
SEAT Toledo, side
SEAT Toledo, rear, action

IT took a trip to Center Parcs near Nottingham to prove to me just how economical the new SEAT Toledo Ecomotive is.

The distance from home was exactly 66 miles - and the 1.6-litre diesel model used exactly one gallon. On the return journey it was even better - returning 68.3 miles per gallon.

It's all very well reading the statistics about what is claimed for the economy of a vehicle or occasionally glancing at the on-board computer but it's not until you look at the fuel consumption in a real life situation that it brings home to you just how efficient a car is and how that would save you cash during the vehicle's lifetime.

And because of its operating efficiency and green credentials there is no road tax to pay with this SEAT for the first year and then just £20 per year afterwards.

The latest Toledo is the fourth generation of the popular car and comes in the form of a five door fastback which looks like a saloon but is actually a five-seater hatchback, which means more space and more versatility. And unlike with a saloon you get a rear wash/wipe.

In designing it the Spanish company decided to turn its back on the MPV looks of the previous generation model in favour of the original 1992 concept.

The result is a compact and highly manoeuvrable vehicle yet with generous interior space for the family, and best of all a massive boot and wide opening tailgate.

In fact you can pack in some 550 litres of luggage into the boot space which, to put it into perspective, compares to 316-litres in a Ford Focus. Lower the seatbacks and that 550-litres swells to a hefty 1,490-litres.

In order to be able to use the space to the full the height and width of the tailgate opening has been stretched, and there are few interior "lumps and bumps" to inhibit loading.

The interior is fairly conventional and what you see is what you get with the Toledo. There is plenty of adjustment on both the steering wheel and the driver's seat so it's easy to get comfortable and on the move the ride is nicely on the firm side so there is very little roll on corners and it grips the road well, which is typical of SEAT's sporting pedigree.

Acceleration through the five-speed gearbox is certainly adequate although not exceptional but it is a car geared more to economy than performance. Having said that I never found it lacking during high speed motoring with a good response when needed for overtaking on the motorway thanks to a generous amount of torque.

The car I tried came with the bonus of a £350 winter pack - which meant it had much appreciated heated seats - as well as dark tinted rear windows (£150) which added a bit more panache to its looks.


SEAT Toledo SE TDI Ecomotive

Price: £17,840

Mechanical: 105bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 116mph

0-62mph: 10.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 106g/km

Bik rating: 15%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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