I could say that the Seat Toledo 1M is a Leon with an extended buttcrack, and with this thorough conclusion I could close up shop and easily head out for a few pints until I forget about this dreary existence and the fact that Avril Lavigne is no longer what she used to be.
Instead, I’m talking about the the Seat Toledo 1M, which is a Leon with a boot at first glance and a reverse VW Bora at a second glance.
This is because, in the case of the Bora, first there was the
Vento Golf IV. And after some time, they took a Golf IV and welded on a larger rear end, and so the VW Bora was born. But in the case of the Seat Toledo 1M, it was the opposite. First, they created the Seat Toledo 1M as a natural evolution of the Seat Toledo 1L, and a year later the Leon hatchback version was launched.
So, I will have to retell the story from the Leon review. So… The first Toledo was mostly a VW experiment because Seat was their first company among many to conquer, and this happened in 1989. In practice, they wanted to make out of the Toledo something different from the Golf or the Vento and to take a slice of the spanish car market.
Moving on to 1998, VW had Skoda in its portfolio, with the acquisition starting in 1991 with timid steps, then in 1994 as a majority shareholder, and in 2000, they bought it in full. So, VW had 3 compact saloons available in the 2000s – Skoda Octavia, Seat Toledo and VW Bora. Octavia was supposed to be the cheapest and most practical, Bora was supposed to be the top-notch, and Toledo was supposed to be the sportiest. And how do you make a car sportier? You take the interior from the Audi A3, which was supposed to be a plusher Golf, make a few adjustments to the suspension, and install sporty engines. And that’s how you get the Seat Leon for the 25 year old hoonigans and the Seat Toledo for the 30 year old hoonigan family guys.
Seat Toledo 1M Engines
- 1.4 MPI AXP of 75 horsepower – Very good for the Ibiza and the Polo but not enough for Toledo. Sure, it’s not bad at all, but at what cost? It’s like only eating from the discount aisle at the supermarket. Or like going to the cheapest “creatively working” girl. Sure, it’s cheaper, but at what cost?
- 1.6 MPI AZD of 102 and 105 horsepower – If for the Leon it’s a blasphemy because you can’t put a small engine on a sports car since it’s the equivalent of a Moet bottle filled with Fosters. On the Seat Toledo 1M however it’s a gentle family or taxi engine and is probably the most balanced petrol engine for the Toledo. It’s not like you’ll drive aggressively with a Toledo because most likely you’ll crush the Fosters cans and bottles in the boot. As for specific issues, get ready for some spark plugs and especially some oil bottles to keep in the boot all the time.
- 1.8 MPI AGN of 125 horsepower – And here is where issues start to appear, and the clear differences between Toledo and Leon become apparent. If on the Leon you can still find this engine, which sits in the middle of the center and is too big for 1.6 but too small for 2.0, this 1.8 MPI is found on A6 C5 and Passat B5.5 and sometimes on Leon. But on Toledo? No chance. But you can search for it.
- 1.8 Turbo AUQ of 180 horsepower – As I was saying above, but here the mystery deepens so much you can see Adelle rolling in it. Seat Leon was launched a year later in 1999, but comes directly with the legendary 1.8 Turbo with 180, 210, and 225 horsepower. And Seat Toledo 1M? It had this engine available only for a few months between 2003 and 2004, so good luck finding it. At any rate, prepare for double and make it double, because the spark plugs and the fuel economy won’t impress your wallet.
- 2.3 V5 AGZ and AQN of 150 and 170 horsepower – Like a car vacuum cleaner, this engine is known more for the sound it makes rather than for performance. But again, good luck finding a Toledo with this engine.
1.9 TDI AGR, ALH and ARL of 90, 110, 130, and 150 horsepower – It seems funny that they didn’t offer the 1.8 Turbo for sale for only a few months, but you could buy the famous ARL with 150 horsepower quite easily. However, most cars were bought with the legendary 90 horsepower and 110 horsepower engines. These engines don’t need any presentation, so let’s go straight to the general issues. Turbo, engine mounts, engine gaskets, and especially age. These are engines that already have 180,000 miles on each cylinder, so you’ll have to constantly repair them nowadays in 2024. They are good, but not even Her Majesty could pass the test of time.
Seat Toledo 1M Reliability Issues
- It’s a VW from the 2000s, so here comes the complementary moment where I have to talk about rust that accumulates everywhere, regardless of whether it’s metal or not, and the seals have been melted away for a long time, and all the rain in the car won’t help you at all with that rust already installed, just like boredom sets in for an employee on a Friday.
- The ABS pump and sensors are not the most efficient tools, so get used to the ABS light being on in the dashboard.
- Speaking of water seeping, water will seep through the horn in the same way that water seeps through the walls of a 2-square-meter apartment in Birmingham that costs only 800 pounds per week in rent. The solution is as simple as it is creative, and that is to mount it in reverse, towards you. In practice, you honk at yourself, and you and those around you can hear it. That’s how it starts.
Seat Toledo 1M Verdict
Seat Toledo 1M was supposed to be the sportier child of compact saloons, but the germans quickly gave up on the idea and pumped money and technology into the Seat Leon, making it a legend among motorsport enthusiasts. So, Seat Toledo remains a cheaper Bora, literally. And in the world of cars that cost up to 2000 pounds, every tenner counts, and here Seat Toledo 1M shines by being one of the cheapest saloons on the market that is worth your money. And you don’t spend as much as on a Bora because it says Seat on it, not VW, and the Seat brand doesn’t impress anyone.
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol, I clearly recommend the 1.6 MPI with either 102 or 105 horsepower, and for diesel there’s no need to talk more about the 1.9 TDI, the engine that has washed and still washes the brains of us europeans.