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After a period of being off the road due to running another car, my Seat Toledo TDI is back on the streets. Here's her story....
I bought my Toledo TDi back in early 2004, it had 38k miles on the clock and was in very good condition. This is her story.....
From the moment I set eyes on her I was impressed, sleek, curvacious and to some extent, sporty looking were my first impressions. I'd never taken any notice of seats before then apart from the Ibiza I learned to drive in so I'd not really looked at buying one. I saw her for sale at a local garage and thought i'd take a closer look. My partner at the time and I were expecting our first child, at the time I was driving a Rover 220SD and although it had 5 doors, it wasn't the roomiest car I'd been in.
So, I climbed in and instantly it struck me. Everything was laid out where you would expect, no silly dials in the centre of the dashboard, no funny looking buttons that had no purpose. This was a straight forward car that had the tools needed for the job. I gave the car a good going over, this is what I found....
Inside the car, a very comfortable drivers seat, upholstered in a dark grey, black and blue to match the black dash and instruments. The front passengers seat was just as comfortable and both were height, reach and recline-adjustable, manually but what the heck. The back had masses of space, even enough for me and i'm 6'2! There were airbags in the front and ABS as standard. This car had air-con and a CD changer so i was happy. The top of the dashboard was flat and quite large so there was plenty of space to put those essential cluttering things such as a road map, mcdonalds bag, wallet, phone you name it. The rear parcel shelf was the same, adequate space for storing window shades etc for the kids or installing even more speakers (not that it needs them).
The factory fit sound in this car is outstanding. Door mounted low/mid-range combo with seperate tweeters and the same in the back make it kick out excellent bass for a factory fit unit, as well as the higher voice ranges for the all round music lovers everywhere. It came with a 6CD changer in the glove compartment, easy access non of this under-the-seat or tucked away in the bot rubbish. The head unit itself is a pick of technology that integrates into the car. It is capable of Traffic Announcements, CD, Tape, FM, AM and long range radio. A repeat display in the centre of the driving instruments shows you what you're listening to. The sound experience is enhanced by a fully adjustable treble and bass with loudness option. The head unit can be programmed so you can set if it comes on with the ignition or remains off, the standard volume level, the traffic announcement volume level and security code.
Moving the the rear of the car, it is well rounded and has a massive boot. One of the largest available for this class of car (at time of manufacture - 1999). It's deep, wide and can hold 3 people (don't ask!). The only negative point is the opening, for such a big boot, the opening is not the widest, much of the available space at the side of the car being taken up by the light clusters. The lights themselves are cool, clear indicators with coloured bulbs give the car and extra look of sleekness.
Now round ot the front of the car., and my favourite part. My TDi is powered by a Volkswagen, Audi Group (Commonly known as VAG) engine. In fact much of the car is made from VAG parts but we'll get to that later. The engine is the 110bhp model giving excellent power and equally excellent fuel economy. I have modified the car by the way of an ECU chip modification courtesy of Dragon performance, taking the peak power to an estimated 145bhp. When theres a demand for power it is delivered and when driven sensibly the car produced an outstanding rate of economy, better than any diesel car i've owned to date. This engine is as reliable and bulletproof as they come. On Christmas eve 2004 I struck a dislodged manhole cover at speed, tearing off the lower engine bay cover and putting a nasty gash in my oil sump. Almost immediately the oil light came on but I was hestitant to stop the engine as I would have lost the power steering and some power to the brakes so I let it run until I could bring the car to a controlled stop. There was no oil left in the engine by the time I pulled over, the sump was repaired and the engine is running as new again. I've never had any issues starting or running the car. Being a VAG product it also features a very clever engine management system. If the car detects a problem it will preverve itself as best it can, for example, if you try to accellerate and at the same time press the brake pedal, the engine management will ignore the signal from the accellerator and stop any power from being applied to the drive wheels. Similarly, if there are any incorrect reading from any of the engines pressure or temperature sensors, the car will dive into a limp mode, providing enough power to move the car but without putting too much stress on the engine.
Ok, so that's the technical bit covered. As for fuel economy, I can averege around 55 / 65 urban, 60 / 70 motorway which isn't bad. The car uses EGR or exhaust gas recirculation which means some of the exhaust gas is put back through the engine and re-burnt, this increases fuel burning efficiency and reduces waste gas from being released to the atmosphere.
Front fogs give the car that extra look as well as the convenence of being able to see your way forward in the worst conditions.
Both the bonnet and boot are hydraulically assisted and dont require any support once opened.
Handling, well, it handles well for it's length and weight and the ABS makes the car safe in wet conditions. I have put the ABS to the test on several occasions and it has helped avoid a catastrophy! The only thing the car lacks is traction control. There is so much power that it does need it, even on dry roads.
The car has it's own immobilisor build in as part of the clever engine management.
So, its reliable, safe, spacious, comfortable, secure, looks good, handles well, performs well, is economic and quite possibly the best purchase i've ever made.
After several weeks of indecision and reading of car reviews I finally decided to test drive a Seat Toledo. Previously my impression of Seat was that of the old Marbella - the Fiat Panda lookalike with horrible pink letters, however my opinion was changed as soon as I laid eyes on the car. Looks wise it's smart, modern and a bit different - something which appealed to me very much. On the technical side it's basically a cross between a Volkwagen and an Audi - it's a VW Bora with a different body and an Audi A3 interior. VW Audi Group have transformed Seat's reputation with cars like this. Some of the plastics they've used on the inside are possibly a bit cheaper than the Audi version, but not much. Everything is very solid and high quality. The engine is the 110bhp direct-injection Turbo Diesel first used in the VW Golf GT TDi - faster than the 1.8i petrol version and tonnes of torque. It's lovely to drive on any roads. Around town is a doddle due to it's surprisingly tight turning circle and on the motorway is very quiet and smooth - and the SE has cruise control so you just press the button and put your feet up! The SE is also packed with features - CD changer (mounted in the glovebox for easy CD changes!), climate control, all round electric windows, electrically retractable mirrors, 8 speak stereo system and loads of little touches that make a big difference. There's a 12v socket in the boot (for a cool box etc), when you remotely unlock the car the interior lights come on and then again when you switch off the ignition and take the key out. It's difficult to fault the car really, you get a lot for you money and it's built to last too. One bad thing that struck me is that although the boot is huge, the opening to it is quite narrow meaning large objects can be awkward to fit in. I've had mine nearly 18 months (it was a year old when I got it) and it's still thor
oughly enjoyable to drive and use on a day to day basis.