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SEAT Unveils More Conservative Fourth Generation Toledo

Spanish car manufacturer SEAT has released details of their long-awaited fourth generation Toledo, which is set to wash up on UK shores in Q1 of 2013, after its initial launch on their home Spanish turf. With most people associating SEAT with their very popular Ibiza and Leon models, the Toledo was somewhat forgotten and never notched up remarkable sales, so it will be interesting to see how well the new 2012 version will fare when it goes on sale in the UK.

The first and second generation Toledo models carried a traditional, three-box saloon car design, whereas the outgoing model was rather different. At the front, it looked very similar indeed to the Altea compact MPV – but the rear is where it got really interesting.  The designer, Walter de’Silva, produced a five-door hatchback with an inverse rear-end, which didn’t look poles apart from the back of the equally slow-selling Renault Vel Satis hatchback. The Mk3 SEAT Toledo really was pitching itself as a quirky, practicality-first kind of car, offering lots of space for families, coupled with Volkswagen-Group-derived build quality.

SEAT’s last largish release was the Exeo, a compact executive car based on the B7 platform, on which the previous Audi A4 was also based – explaining why the two cars looked remarkably similar. Anyway, SEAT have definitely stuck to the more conservative, familiar design of the Exeo, in drawing inspiration for their 2012 Mk4 version of the Toledo executive hatchback.

What will the new Toledo bring to the table, then? Going by the official pictures released today, it doesn’t look that big, but in actual fact, it is. The Mk4 Toledo is actually 40mm longer than the previous model. At 4.48m in length, with a long wheelbase of 2,602mm (which again is more than the Mk3’s) and a wide-opening rear hatch instead of a conventional boot, the new Toledo is set to be even more spacious and practical.

Targeting the new Toledo as “perfect for the demands of everyday life”, SEAT have also ensured that it will compete on price, too. Having said that, they’re not releasing UK pricing until later this year, or maybe even into early 2013 just before its official release here. It will be a highly-specified car, with a multitude of airbags, even including a thorax airbag!  ‘Reference’ and ‘Style’ versions will be available for those wanting more kit as standard.

Being part of the Volkswagen group, this completely new Toledo will be available with a strong range of tried and tested engines, including 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrol engines, a 1.6 TDI commonrail diesel engine, and also Ecomotive start-stop versions in both petrol and diesel forms. The diesel Ecomotive engine is set to deliver class-leading emissions of only 104g/km of CO2. The more powerful petrol versions of the new Toledo will be available with an intelligent and efficient 7-speed DSG gearbox, which should be typically smooth.

 It’s a competitive segment to be in and SEAT will also somewhat be vying against their Skoda sibling in some ways, but by the sounds of it, the new Toledo will make a strong argument for itself when it comes to style, economy, practicality and cost. With more conventional styling than the old model, this may help it sell better in the UK. Watch this space!

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