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Seat Exeo 2.0 Diesel Sport review

The new SEAT Exeo is a cut-price premium model based on the old Audi A4. Read our review to find out what's the point

"Yes the Exeo is an old Audi, but the A4 wasn't exactly shabby"

Back in 2007, SEAT decided that it needed a new upper-medium segment car. Thanks to having an ex-Audi man in charge, a few phone calls later, and SEAT had managed to get the old Audi A4 tooling and the Exeo was born.

Now although from the side it might look like an Audi A4, at the front SEAT has made a bit of an effort to add some of its own ‘Arrow’ design language. It sort of works too.

Unfortunately it’s the same story on the inside too, with the Audi A4 Cabriolet interior being used and thus preventing SEAT from adding its own individual style to the Exeo’s innards. The seats are new, however, and are very comfortable and supportive.

This 2.0-litre diesel unit, which will be the biggest seller, has plenty of torque for overtaking and with a sixth cog on the gearbox as standard you’re going to easily get 50mpg plus on the motorway; a bonus for fleet buyers which is who SEAT is aiming for with the Exeo.

The steering has a nice direct feel to it and it feels weighty, in keeping with SEAT’s sporty brand image. It’s just a shame that the Exeo doesn’t look as exciting as the rest of the SEAT line-up.

In the Sports model you can opt at no additional cost to have sports suspension fitted which lowers the Exeo’s ride height. Cornering feels considerably flatter than standard, but out on the motorway it has a less comfortable ride. If you drive on motorways a lot – as fleet users tend to – I’d leave that option box unticked.

SEAT has pitched the Exeo as a rival for the all-conquering Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia. But to be honest, I see the Exeo as a more natural rival to the Octavia, from fellow VW Group brand Skoda. And having driven the new facelifted Octavia recently, the Exeo feels like less of a premium offering that the Czech car. I thought the VW Group budget brand was supposed to be Skoda?

Although the Exeo doesn’t appear to be particularly innovative, the Exeo does offer fleet managers a well-priced, reliable and dependable option. But the new car market’s current struggles mean that the Exeo will have to be very attractively priced for the fleet market to be a success for the Spanish brand.

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Car Specs - SEAT Exeo 2.0 Diesel Sport

Engine:2.0-litre diesel, 143hp
0-62mph:9.2 seconds
Top speed:133mph
Economy/emissions:51.4.2mpg/143g/km CO2
Price/On sale £19,230/Now

We rate:
Modern diesel engines
Decent handling
Supportive seats

We slate:
Old A4 with SEAT face
Dull looks
Sticks out in SEAT range

Rating: Image removed.

by Craig McAlpine

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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