Olé for the Audi with a Spanish twist
SEAT’S Exeo deserves to be a more common sight. It is a Spanish remake of the last generation of Audi A4 and looks very much like it. The two companies are brothers in the Volkswagen Group.
Exeo is built and was developed at Seat’s Martorell complex near Barcelona with, compared to the previous A4, about 30 per cent of the content being new to Exeo. This includes new engines, reworked suspension, different dash, re-designed seats and, obviously, different front and rear design. The engines used throughout the range are the most up-to-date Volkswagen Group engines to include the latest 208bhp TSI engine and the common rail TDI engines, which are all Euro 5 certified.
The Exeo saloon is smart enough, with prices from £19,285 for the 118bhp 2-litre diesel. and the ST estate, an extra £1,140 and the more striking design. The main external marker from the old A4 is the Seat family grille. I suppose you could give it some more social clout by applying the four Audi rings.
On test here is the SE Tech with a 2-litre diesel, giving 141bhp and 236 lbft – fitted with the variable ratio automatic gearbox. It all worked nicely and a typical mileage read-out on the computer was 42 miles a gallon. Its long distance log showed 38 miles a gallon over the previous 3,000 miles from a variety of drivers. Performance is lively at low speeds but there were times at higher speeds when it ran out of puff for overtaking.
The Exeo is only slightly smaller than the present Audi A4. The instrument display is old Audi – smart and functional. One ergonomic criticism from owners is the intrusion of the central armrest over the handbrake, but you can swivel the arm rest up and out of the way. Things like coins or keys in its storage pocket will clatter as you do so.
The rear seats have a 2:1 split and fold almost flat over the seat base. To get a fully flat extension to the floor you must prise out the seat base. However, as this is not split you can’t keep part of the rear seat in use as a chair.
The driving dynamics are fine. It handles nicely enough at speed and never gets noisy. Price: £24,270. The model is very well equipped, including leather seats, Bose audio, navigation (old-school DVD based), automatic lamps and wipers, and the only extra was a £745 pack which brought bi-xenon adaptive lamps, LED rear lights and daylight running lights.
Official economy is 48.7mpg combined tests, with 153g/km CO2. The 0-62mph time is 9.6 seconds.
I am all in favour of recycling Audis as Seats. It utilises the skills that went in to the original product and brings the price down for what is, in effect, Audi motoring with a Spanish Olé.
The cheapest A4 saloon is the 118bhp 2-litre diesel at £22,200. The cheapest Avant estate is the 118bhp 1.8 petrol at £23,500. True, it is a better looking car with lots of Audi flash on the face.
The Exeo is well equipped and records an official figure of 48.7mpg.