Releasing a popular family saloon car is the mark of an established car manufacturer, among the most celebrated have been the Ford Mondeo, Audi have the A4
and Volkswagen have the Passat
. The rise of less established companies on the car market over the last ten years has seen them attempting to develop their own versions of the family saloon often with mixed results. However, one such company SEAT, chose a different approach which would seem to have paid off. As Audi made preparations to release a new version of its best-selling A4 car, SEAT bought the rights to manufacture the old shape and with slight tweaks and branding flourishes presented the world with the Exeo.
Many people will be cautious about buying into what is essentially a more established manufacturer's old technology. However, as Audi had created a design classic with the A4, SEAT cleverly saw that the outgoing Audi model was still a much better vehicle than any in its class. The Exeo offers all of the original A4 reliability and style, but owing to minor tweaks and improvements now offers extra power and improved fuel economy.
Bang for your buck
Launched in 2008, the Exeo saloon was equipped with several engine options including a 2 litre diesel model with 120bhp, 143bhp and 170bhp variants and a 200bph petrol model. The Exeo is also available in an estate variation, the 'ST' model. The range is still being modified to this day. Further developments were rolled out in 2010 as SEAT presented motorists with an upgraded CVT gear system fitted to a 143bhp diesel engine and the Sport Tech model which introduced a significantly higher quality of trim to the range. A Bi-xenon and LED technology head lamp array further elevated the styling and trim in 2011 and 2012 saw SEAT modify the emissions system reducing CO2 emissions and designing new Stop/Start eco technology.
What You'll Pay
A SEAT Exeo presents real value for money and is a car that is designed to serve its owner for a number of years. They hold value relatively well and make a sound investment. Prices start from £9,000 for a diesel saloon model with the estate model adding up to £3,000 to that price. Petrol models are hard to come by but should be available for less than £11,000 with average mileage on the clock.
What to check
Being an ex-Audi in all but name, the approved used Seat Exeo offers exceptional reliability. Corrosion was never an issue on the A4 and it is not an issue with this car. Check the usual; you want a full service history and no obvious signs of a thrashing such as uneven tyre wear and a notchy gear change.
The Seat Exeo has been available since 2008 so as the design of the Exeo has been in production for a number of years replacement parts are easy to come by and relatively cheap. Consumables like brake pads can be found for between £50 and £75 a pair. Larger repairs are equally reasonable, with a clutch assembly available for around £200 and an exhaust system coming in at less than £300.
How it drives
The used Seat Exeo offers a very good ride. However, the diesel engines in particular can be a little unrefined at lower speeds and tend to get a little noisy when idling. For those looking for speed, the Exeo actually improves on the Audi A4 offering with standing to sixty times faster than the equivalent Audi engine. The best of these being the TDI 143PS version that offers a quick zero to sixty in 9.2 seconds; not bad for a chunky saloon! Petrol engine models are even quicker with the 2 litre model offering an 8 second 60mph burst and a top speed of over 140mph.
Drivers are treated to a choice of suspension settings with the tweaked version of the standard multi-link system. Drivers can select between 'Comfort' or 'Sport' suspension settings from the comfort of the cabin. Sports versions of the Seat Exeo feature a lower ride height and tauter suspension. Care should be taken as improvements made to the sport model's suspension for high speed manoeuvring and control can cause the ride to deteriorate at low speed. This is particularly noticeable over rough surfaces.