From £19,425
Reworked Audi A4 gives Seat a solid-feeling, largely impressive saloon

Our Verdict

Seat Exeo 2009-2013
Seat reskins Audi’s old A4 to offer a cut-price executive saloon

Is the Seat Exeo anything more than a reheated Audi A4?

  • First Drive

    Seat Exeo Sport 2.0 TDI

    It’s still an endearing, capable and well equipped option that’s worth giving serious consideration to
  • First Drive

    Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI Multitronic

    Adding an automatic gearbox makes the Exeo easier to drive at only a small cost to performance and economy

What is it?

This is the Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI SE, the new Mondeo rival from the VW group’s Spanish arm. If you think that it looks familiar, that’s because it is; The Seat Exeo (pronounced ex-ay-oh) started life as the previous-generation Audi A4.

To turn it into the Seat Exeo, the Audi has been modestly refreshed by Seat’s design team, and it uses a new generation of VW engines.

There are two common-rail turbodiesels (it’s the lower-powered 141bhp version we test here in the Seat Exeo 2.0-litre TDI SE) and the 197bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol. The whole production line has been shifted from Ingolstadt to Seat’s Martorell plant in northern Spain.

The saloon version will be available straight away, while the estate (or should that be Avant?) will be arriving shortly afterwards.

What’s it like?

Perhaps the question ought to be: is the Seat Exeo like getting an Audi on the cheap? In some ways, yes. The good bits of the last Audi A4 are also the good bits on the new Seat Exeo.

The dash of the Seat Exeo is actually the mildly more characterful fascia from the A4 cabriolet. Sitting in such familiar Audi surroundings but staring at Seat badges seems a little incongruous if you’re used to the last Audi A4.

But everyone is going to appreciate the sheer functionality and solidity of the cabin. Even last-generation Audis set the standards for fit and finish and this is the Seat Exeo’s biggest plus point.

Space is decent, even in the rear quarters. And the driving position of the left-hand-drive models we were in was extremely good - most shapes and sizes are going to find an optimal driving position.

As in the previous Audi A4, though, the Seat Exeo’s driving position is not the best. The 141bhp 2.0-litre TDI version we were piloting is going to be shown the way by the the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia. By comparison, the Seat is less refined and less precise on the road.

On our Spanish test route the suspension failed to smother the worst tarmac excesses and suffered old-style Audi pitch and squat on braking and full acceleration too.

On the positive side the latest VW group diesels are extremely refined and frugal. Official fuel consumption of 51.4mpg is not to be sniffed at either.

Should I buy one?

The Seat Exeo is extremely well made, stylish inside and deserves to finally put Seat in the minds of company car drivers.

That said, a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia will probably serve most of us a lot better.

Chas Hallett

Join the debate

Comments
25

SDR

17 February 2009

Very strange idea, not at all sure what that's all about. Prefer that interior to the new A4 though!

17 February 2009

Should appeal to all those who want a high quaility, well equiped and priced car.

Badge snobs can look elsewhere.

SDR

17 February 2009

[quote Lee23404]Badge snobs can look elsewhere. [/quote]

Hmm.... or, maybe just people who don't fancy a superficially rehashed 10 year old design with marginal dynamic ability and a far-from-a-bargain price tag? If I had 18 grand to spend this is about the least sensible thing I could think to do with it this side of a bonfire. 1 year old 3-series (or Audi!) money for a 10 year old Audi without the badge. I'll still pass.

17 February 2009

[quote SDR]If I had 18 grand to spend this is about the least sensible thing I could think to do with it this side of a bonfire. 1 year old 3-series (or Audi!) money for a 10 year old Audi without the badge. I'll still pass.[/quote]

As I said, badge snobs can look elsewhere.

SDR

17 February 2009

Oh, yes, you're quite right - the only possible reason for passing over the once in a lifetime opportunity to spend 18 grand on a 10 year old Audi and instead be so foolish as to spend it on a 1 year old 3 series is badge snobbery.

God that 'badge snob' thing gets old..........

17 February 2009

Don't buy this - get a Skoda Superb instead.

17 February 2009

[quote SDR]1 year old 3-series (or Audi!) money for a 10 year old Audi without the badge. [/quote]

If it's not about the badge for you then why do you only mention used BMW's and Audi's? Why not a Mondeo, Accord or Superb?

17 February 2009

Am at a loss as to why but.. I really like this car... Maybe the possibility of a 4.2 V8 Cupra version and we have the RS4 back again!!!

Global Warming.. My Rs

17 February 2009

Why is every car suddenly white? Look at Autocar's front page, five cars, four white. All white by me.

17 February 2009

A 4.2 Cupra V8 - in white of course. If it was priced correctly I might even be tempted myself.

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