2012 Seat Exeo ST review

* Seat Exeo ST 2012 update review * Priced from 20,650 * On sale now...

2012 Seat Exeo ST review

The Seat Exeo ST has been updated for 2012.

Changes include new optional bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights for SE and Sport trims, while there's improved economy and reduced CO2 emissions across the range.

There are also upgraded cabin materials and new alloys to choose from.

Three 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines are on offer, with outputs of 118bhp, 138bhp and 168bhp. CO2 emissions start at 132g/km, rising to 146g/km. A single 208bhp TSI petrol engine is available, too, with emissions of 159g/km.

Economy for both the 118bhp and manual 138bhp engines improves by 3.2mpg while CO2 is cut by 4g/km. The 168bhp engine improves economy by 2.7mpg and lowers emissions by 6g/km.

We tested the 138bhp diesel, which is available with all trims and is the only engine that can be paired with the optional Multitronic automatic gearbox.

Whats it like to drive? The Exeo ST compares well alongside tough competition from family estate cars such as the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat

Some rough surfaces can be felt through the steering wheel, but larger bumps and uneven surfaces are soaked up confidently and the car feels well balanced and precise at speed.

Around town, the Exeo is easy to drive, thanks to nicely weighted controls. It also feels compact compared with hefty counterparts such the Ford Mondeo.

The motorway is where the ST really excels, though. The strong, flexible diesel engine ensures few gearchanges are needed, while road- and wind noise is well suppressed.

Whats it like inside? The Exeos cabin is based on that of the previous-generation Audi A4, which was launched in 2001. It shows its age in some dated switchgear, but its impressively classy and well built.

Headroom is good in the front and rear seats, but rear legroom is disappointing, while the 442-litres (with the rear seats in place) of the boot space isnt exactly huge.

A wide opening and square-sided shape make it useful enough, however, and with the seats folded flat theres enough load-lugging capacity to satisfy most needs.

Entry-level S trim gets climate and cruise controls, Bluetooth and USB connection, while SE trim adds auto wipers and lights, and rear parking sensors.

The Tech package adds a 10-speaker BOSE sound system, leather seats and sat-nav for 900.

Should I buy one? Our pick of the range is the TDI 140 S. It's 745 cheaper than an equivalent Ford Mondeo Zetec model, but thats before you get a big discount on the Ford, which is roomier and better to drive.

Ford Mondeo Estate
Volkswagen Passat Estate

What Car? says

Rory White