What is it?
In our very first drive of the Seat Exeo saloon we said the 168bhp diesel estate could be a tempting proposition. Here it is.
Seat's Exeo saloon is a car in touch with the times. It was quick and cheap to develop, based heavily on the outgoing Audi A4 as it is, and it's cheaper than most of its key rivals to buy.
Like the saloon, the Exeo estate (badged ST) is available in SE and Sport forms, the latter with firmer and lower suspension, though we've driven the SE which is probably more suited to the load lugger's character.
What's it like?
Well, we say load lugger, but carrying lots of stuff was never an A4 Avant strong point. Sixty per cent of buyers' primary reason for buying one was because they liked the way it looked.
It didn't then matter that the A4 had only 442 litres of boot space. Does it matter more now the car has been unpremiumed? Probably.
The Exeo's seats-up boot volume is 50 litres shy of a Citroen C5 tourer's, and almost 100 short of a Mondeo wagon's. Seats down it has a 1184 litre volume, several hundred litres short of its best rivals, but the seat backs fold quickly and the loadbay is free from intrusion.
The Exeo is less deficient in other areas. It respectively rides less comfortably than the Citroen and is less dynamic than the Ford, but is far from poor in either area and has an appealing blend of qualities.
The Exeo handles tidily, if nose heavily, and is blessed with accurate and responsive steering, which is pleasingly weighted. On this softer suspension setting it shrugs away most surface imperfections capably too although, in fairness, the roads we've tried it on were generally well-surfaced.
By dint of being derived from a car that first went on sale almost a decade ago, the Exeo also feels manageably and welcomely compact by the bloated standards of modern family estates. It also feels quite brisk, with plenty of overtaking grunt from the flexible and quiet common rail diesel.
Should I buy one?
With its classy A4 Cabriolet derived interior, the Exeo ST would have merit even at the same price as its key rivals. That it outpowers similarly priced ones, and outprices similarly powered ones, makes it particularly compelling.