FINDING a family car that stands out amongst the masses is getting increasingly difficult.
The more vehicles that take to the roads the more lookalikes we see.
But SEAT's new Toledo is anything but conformist.
The Spanish company's latest version of the model we first saw launched in 1991 is radically different from its predecessor which was unveiled in 1998.
The only thing that has gone before that it does resemble is its sister car, the SEAT Altea.
In fact the new generation of SEAT cars started with the Altea before the mantle was passed to the Toledo to continue the design trend.
With its deeply sloping front, small SEAT grille, high waistline and very upright tail section the Toledo is certainly different. But then that's the whole point. It's a car which stands out in the crowd, or perhaps that should be the car park.
The Toledo is different inside too and those differences not only look good but are also user friendly for the driver.
The attractive high back seats, for example, are superbly comfortable with wrap-around side panels that really hold you in place. Despite the "Sports" tag, the Toledo is not overtly sporting but these seats are much better than the sports seats in many cars that are.
The dashboard too has plenty of flair to it but is also decidedly functional.
The smaller, centre-set rev counter is immediately in front of the driver while the much larger speedometer is set to the right.
I particularly liked the way the centre section of the dash, containing the screen for the navigation system (if fitted) and controls for audio and heating etc is angled towards the driver making it easier to see.
Finished mainly in black but with a contrasting carbon fibre finish around the dials, air vents and on the gear lever, it gives the Toledo a real quality look.
In fact this latest generation of Toledo has an overall feeling of quality about it. The doors and hatch shut with a feeling of solidity and the general build quality is high.
The tall rear section of the Toledo means there is a massive amount of headroom and passenger space in general is impressive.
But if there is ample space for passengers the Toledo scores even higher when it comes to luggage. The tailgate hides a massive boot area which accommodates a vast amount of luggage.
Despite this the Toledo has another trick up its sleeve. The floor folds back to reveal a second layer to accommodate even more items which are hidden from view even when the rear door is open.
For even more space the split rear seat backs fold down and as they do so the seat squabs automatically slide forward to make room or them to lie flat.
My test car was the 150 bhp, 2.0-litre FSI Sport fitted with a sporting six-speed gearbox which makes the car very flexible and particicularly responsive. It's not a road rocket but it does offer sensible performance while at the same averaging well over 30 mpg and the agile chassis concept ensures enjoyable driving.
The six speed box is delightfully smooth and the electro-mechanical steering is pin sharp with plenty of feedback. SEAT has done a good job with soundproofing too as this newcomer is suprisingly quiet.
Overall the new Toledo FSI is a sensible-sized family car with a sporting edge that offers a welcome alternative to the products of the mass manufacturers - and has a realistic price tag.
SEAT Toledo 2.0 FSI Sport
Mechanical: 150 bhp, 1,984cc 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max Speed: 128 mph
0-62mph: 9.7 secs
Combined mpg: 34
Insurance Group: 10
CO2 emissions: 200 g/km
BiK Rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 12yrs antirust; 1yr paint