The great alternative

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For year’s now, Seat has unashamedly delved into other marques’ parts bin and borrowed bits from them in its attempt to boost their prowess.

The Seat Exeo here is in fact a previous generation Audi A4, clothed in a Seat skin and made up from mostly German parts.

In year’s gone by, Seat has used VW chassis, but this is a whole new adventure for them – and will it work? Time to find out…


A front grille and bumper assembly is all new as are the headlight and fog lights at the front end, with their own mirrors and a bit of change at the back with the number plate moving to be integrated into the bumper. That’s about your lot; in fact, look down the side profile and it simply screams Audi A4 at you which in my book is no bad thing. Even the wheels have an Audi-thing going on but the fundamental point here is that it has a ‘S’ on the front and not four concentric circles. That also means it’ll be a bit cheaper – more later.

On the road

The Exeo is powered by the VW group’s hoard of engines, meaning diesel power with frugality. Mine here is the punchy 170 brake horsepower 2.0-litre TDI unit which cracks 140 miles per hour, and fitted alongside the DSG gearbox ( why ever you would have a manual I will never understand) it blasts to 60 miles per hour in just over 8 seconds. Should all that diesel power be too much for you, then perhaps the 120 or even the 140 brake horse power units could tempt you.

Mine here, and despite all that power sips fuel and can achieve 51.4 miles to the gallon, with a low emission figure of just 148g/km.

Unfortunately for Seat, they come in front wheel drive only – as I suspect the Quattro system is best left alone for all Audi’s, which is a shame. But none-the-less, it grips well and the suspension and damper settings allow it to have a compliant, somewhat comfy ride, but can be changed into a Sports setting that allows the driver to exploit the car a bit more.


Inside you have only one visual clue as to what car you’re driving – otherwise you’d be forgiven it was the Audi you were sat in. That is the steering wheel folks, with the trademark red ‘S’ firmly in your vision. Its stock Audi A4 in here, so that means comfy seats, brilliant ergonomics, with fit and finish exemplary and a fair amount of space. Audi has always prided itself on its interior design and simple-ness, so to have that in a Spanish car is a win/win situation should you want the flair of the body on the outside, with the somewhat indestructible salvo internally. It seats five comfortably, and open the boot to reveal a cavernous trunk.

Trim levels extend through S, then SE and Sport and SE Tech and finally Sport Tech so dependent upon budget and how many gizmo’s you want on your Exeo, will determine what you get for your money. Talking of which, mine here is the 2.0-litre 140 brake diesel SE at £21,180; you can pay upwards of £25,600 for the range-topper, but as little as £19,580 for the TDI ‘S’ version. Make sure – at whatever the cost – you have the DSG gearbox, it’s simply stunning.

Most of the successful Seat cars of the past resemble the ones from the VW stable which is no bad thing; suddenly drop into the literature that it’s now more Audi than VW and all of a sudden folk will wake up and realise that this Audi, sorry Seat is a fraction of the cost for virtually the same car from the four rings stable. How cute is that.