Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI

Is Audi-inspired saloon a hit on British roads?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The SEAT Exeo is by no means a groundbreaking car, but it gives buyers an interesting alternative to mainstream rivals such as the Ford Mondeo. It’s a likeable family model with classy looks and a prestige feel, while the diesel engine is great and the driving experience entertaining. But although the Sport-trimmed variant we drove is well equipped, it’s pricey. We’d advise buyers to look further down the range.

New from the ground up, the latest Mazda 3 (here) is a worthy rival for class leaders such as Ford’s Focus. But can you take a short cut to success? SEAT is certainly hoping so with its Exeo, which is based on the previous-generation Audi A4.

We were impressed with the newcomer when we drove it in Issue 1,052, yet how does it fare on UK roads? Well, while the Spanish firm has taken a lot of criticism for its approach, you can’t argue with the results.

On the move, the Exeo is very good, thanks to the VW Group’s latest 141bhp 2.0 TDI diesel. It’s an excellent engine, pulling smoothly from 1,500rpm, taking the car from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and returning 51.4mpg combined.

Our Sport model is pricey and has a firm ride, but decent damping and superb handling with precise steering and composed body control. It feels like an old A4 – no bad thing.

Inside, the dash comes from the previous A4 Cabriolet, and is of better quality than in the saloon. Switchgear is a little dated and rear legroom tight, but the car is comfortable to drive and there’s plenty of kit to play with. The seats split/fold 60:40 to increase practicality, too. So while the Exeo may be a short cut to success, it makes sense.

Rival: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI
In Elegance trim, this Skoda is £1,785 cheaper than the Exeo, but just as well equipped. It features the same engine and is more practical, too.

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