Seat Exeo

The Essentials

  • Price from £19,480
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 54.3mpg
  • What is it? The Seat Exeo is an Audi in disguise and a bargain, too.

Great

  • Classy family car in compact executive clothing
  • Well equipped for luxury and safety kit
  • Strong, economical engines

Gripes

  • Suspension allows too much bounce over bumps
  • Diesel engines are rather unrefined
  • It's a compact saloon so not practical for everyone
  • Drive

    Engines and road-holding are great; but steering, suspension and noise levels let things down

  • Inside

    Easy to get comfortable behind the wheel but whoa! Check out all those buttons...

  • Safety

    Stability control and braking aids to help avert disaster; seven airbags and anti-whiplash head restraints if you can't

  • Reliability

    While we can't argue with the quality, neither Seat nor Audi has performed as well as we'd like in reliability surveys

  • Space

    Fine for four, but the saloon isn't as roomy or versatile as a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty of goodies on all models and scope to add plenty more as you move up the range

  • What's it like to drive?

    Driving the Exeo 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.

  • What's it like inside?

    Available only as a saloon, the Seat Exeo isn't as versatile as some hatchback rivals. It offers less space for people and luggage than more up-to-date models like the Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb. Even a Volkswagen Jetta is bigger in the back.
    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.

  • How reliable is it?

    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.

  • Should I buy one?

    Although the Exeo is wearing the cast-off clothing of the previous-generation Audi A4, it looks more vintage chic than tatty hand-me-downs. However, newer alternatives offer more space and versatility. We'd also look closely at the Volkswagen Jetta which is slightly more economical to run and offers a little more rear space.