Mentioned previously in dispatches, a particularly nice, if fading example of my favourite variant of VAG’s fecund PQ34 platform.
I’ve found some pictures taken last year, but it seems to have disappeared from my neighbourhood. The DVLA Vehicle Check information suggests it is set fair for its sixteenth year. Pale beige leather complements the gold exterior. It was registered in Edinburgh, traditionally a place where wealth showed a discreet face. This fits nicely with a well-optioned car from a less than top-tier manufacturer.
I’ve already mentioned the leather. I’m convinced it was also an automatic, but research suggests that no such option was offered. I don’t believe anything I read in the car comics, or on the internet, and VAG offered the VW 09A (aka Jatco JF506E) automatic with five staggered cylinders on the equivalent Golf and Jetta, so it’s at least a technical possibility.
This Toledo was registered on 30 January 2001. I don’t have pricing data to hand for that date but in July 1999 the V5 was listed at £17,595. A Bora V5 cost £19,060. A Polo-engined Audi A4 1.6 cost £17,996, while £17,860 got you into a Mondeo 2.0 Ghia. If nothing else, these numbers demonstrate VAG’s confusion about what to do with their “Spanish Patient”. The well-appointed, Giugiaro-styled compact saloon with a curious engine configuration was probably not high on the list of brand paradigms.
The Toledo name endures. It started on a useful half hatch, half saloon on the Golf Mk.2 platform. That car now looks like an Octavia development hack. After the paragon presented above, the name transferred to a most odd bustle-backed MPV, before settling on the Czech-built, made for minicabbing, Rapedo.
All of which reinforces my point about VAG’s problem of finding an identity for SEAT. Recent history suggests that rivals such as Ford, GM, and BMW would long ago have sold it, shut it down, or merged it into their manufacturing and distribution infrastructure. Is it time for VAG to give up their SEAT?