From £19,425
Seat Exeo estate is well-priced and capable

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.

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jdevlin 23 June 2009

Re: Seat Exeo ST TDI 170 SE

I don't see any clamour to specifically defend VAG but simply numerous postings pointing out that your response to this particular car appears not be founded on any evidence and comes from simply having an axe to grind. Your point in this respect, if one even exists, remains comprehensively unproven. The surveys that I and others have asked you to consider are not a product of "badge-mad UK", all the more reason for taking them seriously rather than wrapping yourself in consumer surveys. If you aren't simply trolling, why not try and address the point below?

jdevlin wrote:
The very survey that you reference is What Car?'s Reliability Supertest 2008, which states that the ('01-'05) A4, on which the Exeo is based scored top marks for reliability. In light of this, ISTM that most other posters here are right to wonder how your fatuous remarks about the quality of this car are anything more than trolling.

ThwartedEfforts 20 June 2009

Re: Seat Exeo ST TDI 170 SE

jdevlin wrote:

Again compared to TUV and Dekra, all these consumer surveys should be taken with a large pinch of salt, but what I don't get is that you're using the JD power survey, which has 3 of VAG's 4 products above industry average, to prove your point that what, VAG cars are hopelessly unreliable? LOL.

Okay, this constant clamouring to defend VAG come what may merely proves my original point, but anyway.

I've already said in my prior message that the JD Power satisfaction survey is a "grey area". Ignore it, take it with a pinch of salt, whatever, but in America the results shadow the company's more objective VDS survey:

2005 Vehicle Dependibility Study

Volkswagen is at the bottom of the list. Odd that.

I agree that modern vehicles seem but distant relations of the cars in which our parents would splutter to a halt at the side of the road (though oddly, the one car that's left me stranded is an '03 Audi). You need to see how the reports I've posted together with all the other data paint a picture that is entirely at odds with the generally held perception of German cars in badge-mad UK.

They are comparatively unreliable, and that's all there is to it.

jdevlin 19 June 2009

Re: Seat Exeo ST TDI 170 SE

The very survey that you reference is What Car?'s Reliability Supertest 2008, which states that the ('01-'05) A4, on which the Exeo is based scored top marks for reliability. In light of this, ISTM that most other posters here are right to wonder how your fatuous remarks about the quality of this car are anything more than trolling.

Again compared to TUV and Dekra, all these consumer surveys should be taken with a large pinch of salt, but what I don't get is that you're using the JD power survey, which has 3 of VAG's 4 products above industry average, to prove your point that what, VAG cars are hopelessly unreliable? LOL.

Whilst they make very stylish cars, good engines and interiors, I've no huge love for VAG, or as time goes on, any mass market auto producer, such cars being increasingly much of a muchness and any significant difference is down to marketing, self-perception and customer service. But what I do respect is that pretty much all of the big players have got their act together in the manufacture of safe, efficient and reliable cars and that barring the odd malfunctioning ECU you are unlikely to find yourself stranded at the side of a road with a newish car, regardless of manufacture. To suggest otherwise, about any of the major brands, simply reinforces what another poster suggests, which is that you have an axe to grind, a chip on your shoulder.


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