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Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI 140: Test Drive

Date: 09 April 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £18,165
Key rival: Vauxhall Insignia

Want an Audi A4, but can't quite afford the price? Well Seat has the answer in the new Exeo.

As we reported from the international launch back in November, the Exeo is essentially an upgraded version of the previous generation A4. Indeed while the exterior has been Seat-ized a little, the interior (badging aside) is pure A4.

The result is a first-class cabin that's simple, made from quality materials and built incredibly well. It's the kind of interior that will worry Ford and Vauxhall.

Now that the car's available in the UK we've tested the 143PS diesel in fleet-favourite SE trim.

Gone is the engine noise we noticed in the 170PS version, and now having tested the car on a mix of UK roads we can confirm the suspension set-up is first rate. Seat's engineers have managed what few in this class have achieved - a great middle ground between sporty handling and comfortable ride. All Seat needs to do now is tell Audi how they did it. In fact, the intro question to this piece could well have read, 'want an Audi A4, but without the hard ride?'.

Seat doesn't really expect the Exeo to steal sales from the prestige end of the market because its brand isn't strong enough for that, but it's aiming to take share from likes of the Citroen C5 and Mazda 6 as well as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia mainstream. In fact, the Exeo stacks up well against its rivals on whole-life costs. At 45.1ppm, it is slightly below the competitor Insignia, and within fractions of its other key competitors. The Exeo also has the advantage of being in a lower P11D band than most of its rivals, thanks to a 143g/km CO2 figure.

About 80% of Seat Exeos will go to fleet, and to attract these buyers the Spanish make has loaded the car with equipment and kept prices low. Standard kit on the £18,165 SE such as Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, USB and aux sockets, cruise control, trip computer, alloys, parking sensors, auto lights and power-fold mirrors to name the highlights.

With an estate following in July the Seat Exeo could put the cat among the pigeons in a tough market by offering top quality at a value price. Just what fleet ordered.

Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI 140 SE 4dr manual
P11D price£18,165
Model price range£17,560-£21,135
Fuel consumption51.4mpg
CO2 (tax) 143g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£57/£115
Service interval10,000mls
Insurancegroup 12E
Boot space460 litres
Engine size/power1968cc/143PS
Top speed/0-62mph133mph/9.2secs
On sale 2 April 2009
VerdictWhere the shrewd
moneyshould go in
the sub-prestige
upper-medium market


Where the shrewd moneyshould go in the sub-prestige upper-medium market