Seat’s flagship estate, the Exeo ST (short for sport tourer), is unashamedly pitched at the fleet market.
The manufacturer’s marketing department has gone into overdrive with references to Exeo drivers enjoying jobs that “excite and accelerate” them, of buyers who have “set up their own company” and who have found the “perfect balance between work and refined recreation”.
After driving this new estate for just over a month, what is apparent is that its 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine – used throughout the Volkswagen Group – is refined and returns respectable performance – both in economy (43.2mpg so far) and acceleration – for an estate that starts at a shade over £19,000 (our test SE model costs £20,755).
Better still for the fleet driver and his company is the 143g/km of CO2 the car emits which places it well below the critical 160g/km limit for capital allowances.
This means the writing down allowance for corporation tax – the rate at which the cost of the vehicle can be relieved against profits and corporation tax – is 20% for the Exeo.
Also, this estate has a benefit-in-kind tax rating of 19%.
This means a 20% taxpayer will pay £755 in company car tax this year, rising to £835 in the 2011/12 tax year.
CAP also puts the Exeo ST’s residual values at four years/80,000 miles at a healthy 23%, or £4,700, which compares favourably with the competition.
For example, the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer 2.0 CDTi SE is predicted to retain 21% of its value, while the Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Zetec is 19%.
Indeed, the Exeo’s RV prediction matches what is considered by many to be the benchmark car in this sector, the Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI SE which is also predicted to retain 23% of its new value after four years.
So the figures add up for the Exeo.
Over the next few months, we will judge the driving experience, the car’s load-lugging abilities and its fuel economy among other attributes to see whether the car will get the nod of approval from the drivers as well as fleet managers and finance directors.