The Seat Exeo – a four-door family car based on the previous-generation Audi A4 – has been given a mild face-lift for 2012.
Exterior changes to the Seat are limited to new headlights and new alloy wheel designs, and the subtle tweaks continue on the inside, with new upholstery and higher-quality leather trim on the steering wheel.
Changes to the 2.0-litre diesel engines help boost fuel economy and cut emissions. The manual 118bhp version, for example, improves by 3.3mpg to 57.6mpg, while CO2 emissions fall by 7g/km to 129g/km.
What’s it like to drive? Most versions major on comfort rather than sporty dynamics. Even cars with sports suspension – such as the Sport Tech model we drove – are surprisingly compliant when cruising and you notice the firmer ride only around town.
Our test car had the 168bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which sounds a bit rattly at low speeds, but quietens down as speeds increase. It’s punchy and flexible, too, and rarely requires a downchange on the motorway.
What’s it like inside? Despite the improved materials, the Exeo still doesn’t feel as classy as rivals such as the Ford Mondeo.
The dashboard isn’t as intuitive to use, either, because there are too many fiddly and poorly labelled buttons. However, standard equipment includes Bluetooth, climate control, an MP3 socket and a multi-function steering wheel.
There’s plenty of space up-front, too, but six-footers will find they’re a bit short of head- and legroom in the back.
While the boot is a decent size, it’s nowhere near as spacious as a Mondeo’s.
Should I buy one? The Exeo isn’t as efficient as the class leaders, but our favourite, the 2.0 TDI 120 S, costs £19,480 – around £500 less than an equivalent Ford Mondeo.
That said, the Mondeo is a superior car in most other respects. It’s bigger, classier, better to drive and more refined – so that's where our money would go.
What Car? says…
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