SEAT Exeo ST 2.0 TDI

SE Tech

SEAT Exeo ST, boot
SEAT Exeo ST
SEAT Exeo ST, boot
SEAT Exeo ST, profile
SEAT Exeo ST 2.0 TDI SE Tech

THE balance is a fine one for the driver with an eye on every angle.

Family, work and leisure pursuits tend to be paramount, closely followed by factors like safety, value for money, quality, style, fuel economy and performance.

Seeking out the car that ticks every box can no doubt be revealed by computer - pump in the data, press a button and out comes a mind-boggling collection of possibilities.

But it all needs to work on an emotional level too. Never mind if it's kitted up to the hilt or can tug a farm truck, if you don't like the look of the thing you ain't going to buy it.

Crossovers, ‘soft' roaders and MPVs may be all the rage, but there's something much more enticing about a slender, low-slung, elegantly-designed estate car - and few looks as stylish as the SEAT Exeo ST.

The ST bit actually stands for Sports Tourer, which suggests a bit of spirit in itself, and if the car happens to be in black with satin silver roof rails then the style is all but complete.

With Exeo ST models the choices are kept simple - a 2.0 TDI diesel engine in three states of tune plus a potent 211ps 2.0-litre petrol unit and five trim grades.

The tested model takes the centre ground, its SE Tech spec being the middle one of five and its engine the 143ps diesel, a strong and sweet unit used in other Volkswagen group models like the Audi A4 Avant.

This car's CO2 emissions of 132g/km also make it a tax-efficient option for business drivers with a benefit -in-kind rating of 19 per cent, and for those travelling fully laden - in my case with weekend clobber - there are few better cars to drive.

Transmission is six-speed manual, the steering is precise, handling composed and the ST also has SEAT's bespoke Agile Chassis spring and damper settings for a more dynamic ride.

For practicality, there's a wide opening rear hatch into a bay, with roll-away load cover, offering a maximum of 1,345 litres when the rear backrests are folded. In simple terms there's not much you can't stow in there.

There are some neat stowage touches inside too - like a lined box below the trio of air vents in the centre of the dash and a spring-loaded cup holder below.

Comfortable, leather seats are standard with SE Tech trim in a model that also includes sat-nav with DVD-based route guidance, 3D map display, iPod connection and a top notch Bose sound system.

In fact the only criticism, and a common one at that, concerns the centre rear seating position in which its near impossible to get comfortable.

Otherwise the ST has everything you would want in a family, or business, car.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Exeo ST 2.0 TDI SE Tech

Price: £23,256

Mechanical: 143ps, 1,998cc 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 132g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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