SEAT Exeo 2.0 TDI CR

ATTENTIVE observers may experience a touch of the old déjà vu when watching a new SEAT Exeo sweep by for there is a certain familiarity about the Spanish car maker's latest saloon car.

The Exeo is SEAT's first move into the family saloon market and this newcomer does bear more than a passing resemblance both inside and out to the last generation of the Audi A4.

While a sharpish new nose and a reworked rear end have been introduced to help create a more individually identifiable exterior, last generation Audi A4 heritage is still very much a part of its make up.

That's all to do with SEAT being part of the Volkswagen group - just like Audi.

Some of the inside will include reminders for some of the A4 cabin's history within an extremely well put together interior while the provision of brand new seating stands out among plastics and fabrics fashioned from some of the very best materials.

In fact, the seats on the new Exeo very much set the scene for the future of this latest SEAT venture. They have obviously been created from lengthy studies of the subject and, with cushions and back rests benefiting from different levels of firm and plush material, I found the front seats ranked among some of the most supportive, yet comfortable I have experienced to date.

For rear seat comfort, Exeo caters for three in the rear of the cabin with head restraints and three point seat belts while the asymmetrically split bench can be folded flat one or two thirds to increase carrying space when required.

While not quite as roomy as some of its competitors, the boot does realise a family size 460 litres of stowage room with all seats taken. In addition to several useful storage compartments the stowage package also features curry hooks to help keep shopping bags from having minds of their own while there is also a handy 12-volt socket which can, for example, power a cool box which could come into its own if the forecasting of hot summer days ahead proves correct.

The Exeo comes in four trim levels, S, SE, Sport and Lux. Each features a generous serving  of kit, with the S entry level model including the likes of  dual zone climate control, electric windows all round, four speaker MP3 compatible sound system with CD and steering wheel mounted controls, trip computer with multi function display, 16-inch alloys with locking wheel nuts, integrated fogs and twin exhaust pipes.

There are many sports orientated additions to the Sport model driven here,  including the likes of eight-speaker audio, electrically folding door mirrors, "coming home" headlight function and individual tyre monitoring.

Helping to provide good all round vision, a fine driving position is easily arrived at and steering wheel adjustment, or the luxury of the electrically controlled and heated front seats, are a cost option.

Boasting the comforting look and feel of advanced moulding technology, the thoughtfully laid out and very impressive dashboard is easily navigable featuring restyled instrument faces. And while the dash also includes several handy storage drawers, the spacious glove box can also include a drinks cooler.

On the move,the  Exeo's head turning propensity speaks for itself, in fact, one elderly gentleman and his wife were so taken with its shape they actually walked into the car park I was headed for and engaged me in a ball-by-ball commentary about the SEAT Exeo.

Powered by VW sourced 2.0-litre TDI paired with a slick switching six-speed manual gearbox, the Exeo Sport delivers a fine drive with the turbo diesel doing full justice to its 141bhp. It is  quick off the mark while delivering a smoothly refined and punchy performance in economically sound fashion.

 

While the Sport model came with lowered and stiffened suspension set up for sharper response to fit its title I didn't find the firmish ride too inhibiting.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Exeo 2.0 TDI CR

Price: £21,255

Mechanical: 141bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 133mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 51.4

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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