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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Compact executive luxury for family car money. It's also loaded with luxury and safety kit, while the engines are strong.

Against The ride and handling could be better, many rivals are more spacious, and refinement is poor.

Verdict The Seat Exeo is based on the previous-generation Audi A4, so it’s not in the first flush of youth. It's a high-quality car for the money, though.

Go for… 2.0 TDI 143 SE

Avoid… 2.0 TDI 170 Sport Tech

Seat Exeo Saloon
  • 1. The diesel engines aren't as hushed as the class best, and you feel too much vibration through the steering wheel, pedals and gearstick
  • 2. There is plenty of space up front, but the rear seats are decidedly tight on both head- and legroom
  • 3. Our favourite engine is the 141bhp diesel because it provides the best balance between performance and affordability
  • 4. Everything in the Exeo's cabin has a built-to-last feel, and the materials are nicely finished
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Seat Exeo Saloon full review with expert trade views

The Exeo is based on the previous-generation Audi A4, so it grips well through bends and feels stable on the motorway. That said, the standard suspension allows too much bounce over high-speed dips and crests. Sport models have a stiffer set-up that negates this, but it's combined with 18-inch wheels, so the ride becomes unforgiving. The steering isn’t ideal, because it’s heavy around town and light at speed.

The Exeo is reasonably well insulated from road noise, but there’s some wind noise to be heard on the motorway. The diesel engines aren't as hushed as the class best, and you feel too much vibration through the steering wheel, pedals and gearstick.

There is plenty of space up front, but the rear seats are decidedly tight on both head- and legroom. The boot doesn’t measure up to the biggest in the class, but it’s a decent size, well-shaped, and has split-folding rear backrests as standard.

Every Exeo has stability control and electronic braking aids to help you avoid trouble. Front, side and curtain airbags, a driver's knee airbag and active anti-whiplash front head restraints are all on hand in case a collision becomes unavoidable. Deadlocks, an immobiliser and an alarm help to deter thieves.

Trade view

Make sure the sportier suspension set-ups aren’t too harsh for you.

Rory White
Used car writer

Exeo buyers can choose from four 2.0-litre turbo engines – 118-, 141- and 168bhp diesels, or a 197bhp petrol. Our favourite is the 141bhp diesel because it provides the best balance between performance and affordability. It's also the only engine that can be specified with an automatic gearbox.

Entry-level S trim gets alloys, climate control, four electric windows, cruise control, Bluetooth and an MP3 input socket. SE adds automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors and front-seat lumbar adjustment, while Sport brings sports seats, tinted rear windows and different trim. SE and Sport can be upgraded with a Tech pack, which has sat-nav, leather upholstery and an upgraded stereo, while range-topping SE Lux cars feature everything from leather upholstery to bi-xenon headlights.

We think the best value engine and trim paring is the 2.0 TDI 140 in SE trim, which offers decent power, respectable economy and all the kit you’re likely to need.

Trade view

If badge makes no difference to you, the Seat Exeo offers the luxury, style and handling of an Audi A4 at a discount price.

Rory White
Used car writer

The Exeo is competitively priced on the used market considering the fit and finish, and kit levels. That said, it isn’t as good value as a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Insignia.

The 141bhp diesel makes a lot of sense for company car drivers. It averages more than 50mpg and its carbon dioxide emissions are lower than many rivals'. Exeo resale values are no better than reasonable.

Insurance groups tend to be higher than the Ford and Vauxhall competition, too, so check before you buy to avoid a nasty surprise.

Trade view

Make sure the sportier suspension set-ups aren’t too harsh for you.

Rory White
Used car writer

The Exeo's interior shares many parts with the previous-generation Audi A4 range, but that's no bad thing, because it was always one of the classiest compact executive cars around. Everything in the Exeo's cabin has a built-to-last feel, and the materials are nicely finished. On the downside, Seat didn't perform that well in our latest Reliability Survey, while Audi finished mid-table.

We’ve heard reports of leaking windscreen washer fluid and, not surprisingly, high oil usage, given that it’s a VW-group engine.

Trade view

If badge makes no difference to you, the Seat Exeo offers the luxury, style and handling of an Audi A4 at a discount price.

Rory White
Used car writer
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