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How much? £20,755
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1968cc 16v four-cylinder, 141bhp @ 4200rpm, 236lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 9.6sec 0-62mph, 129mph, 51.4mpg, 143g/km
How heavy / made of? 4661/1772/1430mm
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 1515kg/steel
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CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 4 out of 54

Usability

Rated 4 out of 54

Feelgood factor

Rated 3 out of 53

Readers' rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

By Ben Barry

First Drives

28 December 2009 23:11

If you’re shopping for a turbodiesel family estate, chances are the Seat Exeo ST has escaped your attention. Yet it’s well worth a look. Here's why.

The Seat Exeo ST is just an old Audi A4 isn’t it?

Pretty much. All the basics remain the same, while the styling is Luc Donckerwolke’d with new bumpers and lights front and rear, plus a revised bonnet and boot.

Inside you get the old A4 cabriolet interior, distinguishable from the old saloon by virtue of its triple centre air vents. It looks durable, and it’s well laid out and has an upmarket feel too.

Shouldn’t I just get a new Audi A4 Avant?

If you can afford it, yes, but consider this: the Exeo ST range starts at just over £19k and tops out just beyond £23k. The cheapest A4 is the £21,665 petrol 1.8 that’s 80bhp down on the only petrol Exeo (a 2.0-litre with 197bhp), and the Seat is still almost £1k cheaper. The Exeo 2.0-litre diesel can be had in three flavours – 118bhp (from £19,155), 141bhp (from £19,855) and 168bhp (from £22,445), yet the equivalent A4s – with exactly the same power outputs – are around £4.5k extra.

I bet the Exeo spec’s stingy, then…

Not so. Even in the mid-ranking SE trim that we sampled, the Exeo ST is crammed with standard equipment like dual-zone air-con, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control and a USB port.

The only telltale laughter lines are blocky, dated buttons in the centre console. Otherwise it’s a nice place to be – comfy seats with plenty of support, enough head- and legroom in the back for a six-footer, plus a low deck for easy luggage loading and 60/40 split rear seats. Seats up you’ll get 460 litres of luggage space – 30 less than the new A4, but Even Stevens with the 3-series Touring.

How does it drive?

In 141bhp trim it pulls strongly with just 1300rpm on the dial and is smooth, refined and moves swiftly through the powerband with one long lunge. The gearchange is slick, the steering nicely weighted and the ride, while a little lumpy, is unlikely to sour the ownership experience.

The Exeo is frugal too, our 141bhp car turning in the same 53.3mpg and 139g/km as the 118bhp diesel, yet 5mpg more and 14g/km less than the 168bhp TD range-topper.

With our car’s ample performance, it’s hard to justify its thirstier, dirtier, costlier sibling.

Verdict

Practical, well built, frugal, strong value, decent to drive and attractive too, this is possibly Seat’s best car. Whether it really fits with the Seat brand is another matter, but chances are that won’t matter to those who can see its appeal.

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Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

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volvofan

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volvofan says

RE: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

 But do the rear seats actually fold flat? 

25 February 2010 01:23

 

Beckerman

Beckerman says

RE: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

I had high hopes for the Exeo. Given the appeal and success of the original Leon, particularly the Cupra version at a time when the Golf GTI had lost the plot it seemed that if you took the best bits from the last generation A4 with the dash from the Cabrio and the latest engines for the same or less than the price of a Passat surely it would add up to a cracking car. I still think it is a good looking car, personally I prefer it to the current A4, but since it was announced early last year I have never seen one out on the road.

It does seem that image and badge snobbery over-rides everything. The guys that set the future values which dictate the monthly rentals on a lease don't know where to pitch the Exeo so they play safe and aim low  making it too expensive, and the retail buyers seem to be staying away so far. Seems a shame to me but maybe it is a great used car in the making.

20 February 2010 18:09

 

eastwu

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eastwu says

RE: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

@JamesST55

 

You're quite right, it IS badge snobbery, but unfortunately that's exactly what VAG want.  Badge snobbery is intrinsically part of the VW group's brand philosophy; why else would they charge more money for the Golf than any other rival?  Because they want you to think it's WORTH more.  Parts-bin raiding and platform-sharing is one thing, it's done for economic viability, and very few people begrudge them that.  What annoys me is when they've worked so relentlessly to create a portfolio of brands, each supposedly catering for a different demographic, why insult both Audi and Seat by saying "here, you can have the old one".  Frankly it makes a mockery of the revered brand hierarchy the VW Group has forced upon the automotive world.

 

On a different note, does anyone else think it looks remarkably like an RS2 Avant from the back, especially in that blue???

28 January 2010 10:18

 

Grant0610

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Grant0610 says

RE: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

 I like the look of this car as I prefer the look of the last gen A4 to the current. I just don't understand the concept of sticking a new nose on it and calling it a Seat. A bit of a slap in the face for Seat. I like Seat brand but they are stuck with cars that all look very similar and an old A4 with a new front. Don't think VW are as interested in Seat as they are in Skoda who are booming.

22 January 2010 14:35

 

wittgenfrog

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wittgenfrog says

RE: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI (2009) CAR review

I'm confused.  I thought Skoda was VW's 'supermarket own brand' version of its products with SEAT adding intangible (and in my case completely invisible!) Latin 'flair'.  

Therefore simply bunging a new (and not that pretty) gob on an Audi, calling it a SEAT and knocking a grand or so off the price seems to have a foot in both sub-brands....   As I said, I'm confused.   Surely this should be a SKODA?   Arrrgghhhh.

17 January 2010 00:17

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