In-depth reviews

SEAT Exeo ST (2009-2013) review

The SEAT Exeo ST is based on the old Audi A4, and offers great value for money and plenty of equipment

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

  • Good value, lots of equipment, efficient diesels
  • Poor rear legroom, firm ride, dated components

The SEAT Exeo ST is based on the old Audi A4, and offers great value for money. This estate version is a bit more expensive than the saloon, but every Exeo comes very well-equipped and is great to drive, too. It's not the largest estate in this class - the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb are miles ahead when it comes to boot space - but it does come with a few neat touches. A facelifted version was revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, with new bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, a more upmarket interior and efficiency improvements, to help lower road tax and attract fleet buyers.

Engines, performance and drive

On the road, the Exeo ST is on the firm side, but it is quiet and comfortable on the motorway. The weight of the engine makes the SEAT feel nose-heavy in corners – a familiar sensation for anyone who’s driven the A4 it’s based on – but the steering is accurate and the Exeo is enjoyable to drive. There's just one petrol and one diesel to choose from. The 2.0-litre TSI engine produces 209bhp and can go from 0-62mh in 7.3 seconds. The 2.0-litre TDI is available in three states of tune, from 118 to 168bhp.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

An eco-friendly Ecomotive version, fitted with stop-start to cut CO2 emissions to less than 120g/km, will join the line-up later this year. Until then, the most efficient versions are the 118bhp and 141bhp diesels, both of which are said to return a 56.5mpg and emit 132g/km of CO2. The more powerful diesel manages 52.3mpg and 142g/km. Even the petrol model can returns fuel consumption of 40.4mpg and Co2 emissions of 162g/km.

Interior, design and technology

The Exeo ST looks like a SEAT from the front, but it is actually an old Audi A4. The ST estate's sleek lines means it looks better than the saloon, and a recent facelift added bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights on top spec cars for a more modern look. All versions now get a more upmarket interior and a whole host of kit, too. There's five trim levels: S, SE, SE Tech, Sport and Sport Tech. Even entry-level models come 16-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone air-con, cruise control, heated and folding mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity. SE adds 17-inch alloys, stainless steel roof rails and rear parking sensors, while Sport trim adds 18-inch alloys, sports seats, sports suspension, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights. SE Tech gets a Bose stereo and sat-nav - the same system as fitted in the ageing TT, giving away the Exeo's Audi roots.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

The Exeo ST comes with plenty of clever storage features, such as a retractable net that allows you to separate the boot from the rear seats, but the boot space is only adequate, with a maximum capacity of 1,354 litres – rivals like the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb are better for carrying big loads.

Reliability and Safety

The Exeo has a four star Euro NCAP crash test rating. It comes fitted with ESP, ABS, Isofix and six airbags as standard. SEAT finished a disappointing 24 out of 30 in the 2012 Driver Power reliability survey, but most components are widely used across the VW Group, which should help keep risk of problems to a minimum.

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