Engines and road-holding are great; but steering, suspension and noise levels let things down
Easy to get comfortable behind the wheel but whoa! Check out all those buttons...
Stability control and braking aids to help avert disaster; seven airbags and anti-whiplash head restraints if you can't
While we can't argue with the quality, neither Seat nor Audi has performed as well as we'd like in reliability surveys
Fine for four, but by no means a big estate car
Plenty of goodies on all models and scope to add plenty more as you move up the range
Driving the Exeo ST is rather a mixed bag. The engines are strong - we like the 141bhp 2.0-litre diesel best for its blend of power and economy. It's just a pity that too much noise and vibration reaches the cabin. The steering is heavy at low speeds, making manoeuvring tiring, and lightens up at higher speeds, which isn't ideal.
And while the car feels securely planted on the road and corners neatly, the suspension doesn't do enough to smooth out bigger bumps. You could resolve this by choosing a Sport version which is stiffer, but it comes with larger wheels and the payoff is a very firm ride.
The driver has plenty of adjustment to get comfy. Only the plethora of confusing small buttons on the dash lets the classy interior down. Plenty of equipment is included as standard, from climate and cruise control to Bluetooth and an MP3 socket. Upgrading adds all sorts of luxury goodies.
The rear seats don't offer as much legroom as rivals and the boot is also smaller than other estates for this money – both a VW Golf Estate and Hyundai i40 Tourer have bigger boots. The rear seats do at least split and fold flat to extend the space.
Although the cabin materials feel suitably classy, neither Seat (nor Audi) have scored well in recent reliability surveys.
Safety kit is top notch – every model has stability control and seven airbags, including one for the driver's knees. Anti-whiplash front headrests are also standard.
Although the Exeo ST is wearing the cast-off clothing of the previous-generation Audi A4, it looks more vintage chic than tatty hand-me-down. However the step up in price over the saloon model is hefty so it's not quite as much of a bargain. If you want the Audi DNA more than boot space the Exeo is the answer, but at this price you'll find alternatives with more space and just as much class.