Our cars: Seat Exeo ST 2.0 TDI 143 SE - December
Back in March, crash test experts Euro NCAP issued results for the Seat Exeo. I must admit to not reading much beyond the fact that it had scored a decent, if not mind-blowing, four-star result, with good ratings for adult and child safety.
Given that the Exeo is a slightly modified version of the old Audi A4, I wasn’t surprised it didn’t get the maximum star score. After all, car manufacturers have moved on a lot in virtually all areas of safety since the old A4 was built. Under the circumstances I felt the car had done well, and moved on.
However, a string of slightly unusual events have made me take a bit more notice of that verdict recently. First, I read the Euro NCAP report in more detail. The bit that caught my eye was the following warning: ‘Structures in the dashboard are considered to present a risk of injury to the knees and femurs.’
This struck a chord with me because I’m 6ft 4in tall. That means I like to have the driver’s seat set well back from the dash and steering wheel – but with two young children to carry around that isn’t always possible, as anyone who has ever fitted a bulky child seat in the back of a car will tell you.
Oddly, I’ve found that as small children get bigger, the less space they – or at least their seats – take up in a car. As a result, I had put my younger child in a rear-facing newborn seat behind the front passenger seat, and my elder child in his group one seat behind me, giving me a vital couple of extra centimetres of space to push back my seat.
Trouble was, even then I was pushed farther forward than I would normally like to sit.
As I could, just, drive unimpeded in that position, I didn’t give it too much thought – until that Euro NCAP report came to my attention. All of a sudden driving along with my knees pushed up against that dashboard and the potentially hazardous structures within it wasn’t so appealing.
Fortunately, the situation essentially rectified itself. My boy grew up a bit and moved into a much less bulky group two seat, giving me the opportunity to move back another couple of centimetres. I’m still close to the dash, but I feel safer now I’m not actually pressed up against it.