The Toledo GT was a breath of fresh air among too many staid, stick-in-the-mud classmates and good enough to snatch four road test stars.
A 2.0-litre twin-cam four-pot petrol engine, lifted from the Mk3 Volkswagen Golf GTI 16v, provided the Toledo GT 16v with 150bhp. That was enough to haul the car from rest to 60mph in just 8.3sec, despite a clumsy and obstructive gearshift. In-gear stats were more impressive and actually bested the hot Volkswagen Golf. Excessive engine noise and a considerable appetite for fuel were less welcome, though.
Thicker anti-roll bars and sportier tyres helped bless the Seat Toledo with taut, virtually roll-free cornering but also blighted the ride over broken surfaces. The steering was crisper than before, however, and lifting off the throttle helped tuck the nose in. The unaltered brakes were strong, with good pedal feel.
The roomy, well-made and ergonomically friendly interior received sports seats for the GT 16v model, but the new seating position was too high to be comfortable. Standard equipment was good.
Price: £14,995 Engine: 4 cyls in line, 1984cc, petrol Power: 150bhp at 6000rpm Torque: 133lb ft at 4800rpm 0-60mph: 8.3sec 0-100mph: 23.0sec Standing quarter: 18.5sec, 85mph Top speed: 132mph Economy: 25.0mpg
What happened next?
The second-generation Toledo arrived in 1999. The line-up included the VW Group’s 2.3-litre VR5 petrol engine, which eventually came in 170bhp guise, but the car’s swollen kerb weight meant it couldn’t match the Mk1 GT 16v to 60mph. The quickest Mk3 (2005-2008) was the 2.0 FSI Sport, but it was heavier and slower still. A Mk4 appeared in 2012 but no hot variant materialised. The Mk4 was withdrawn from the UK in 2018 and there hasn’t been a Mk5.