The Exeo – Seat’s first offering in a sector dominated by the Insignia, Mondeo and Passat – is a valiant attempt to attract fleet managers and company drivers to the marque.
Until the Volkswagen-owned Spanish carmaker produced a car in this segment, which is dominated by corporate sales, Seat was never going to attain its ambition of becoming “fleet manufacturer of choice” by 2012.
Following its launch last year, the Exeo has won praise from fleets, including from German fleet managers who named the ST (Sports Tourer) – the model that Fleet News has been testing for the past six months - Company Car of the Year in their Fleet News’ equivalent, Firmenauto.
Some 150 German fleet car managers praised its “excellent performance” as well its “hallmark refinement and subtle sportiness”.
I align to these comments.
The Exeo is based on the previous generation Audi A4 platform and shares most of its internal dash and switchgear with the A4 Cabriolet, which means that benchmark Audi refinement is always evident.
Although it doesn’t mean it is of sound design – for example the air-con controls are all buttons, which makes for annoyingly lengthy temperature adjustments.
The German fleet managers’ comments about excellent performance were also tempered somewhat with their “moderate fuel consumption” caveat.
But as the months have progressed, so fuel consumption in the test 2.0-litre 140bhp diesel ST has improved.
The car is now achieving 52mpg+ on runs dominated by motorways and regularly achieves 40+ around town.
But ask the engine to perform – and it will – and fuel consumption rockets meaning an enthusiastic driver is unlikely to get more than 35mpg.
As mentioned in previous reviews, the real issue with the ST estate is that it is not a true load lugger.
When compared to the Ford Mondeo Estate or the new Skoda Superb Estate, the Exeo just cannot offer anywhere near the volume that these two true estates can.
The Mondeo has a massive load area of 1,733 litres.
In comparison, the Exeo ST offers just 1,354 litres, while the Superb Estate has the largest boot in its class with a massive 1,865 litres on offer.
The Exeo is a sound all-round fleet car – it is comfortable, reliable, is powered by relatively economical engines and is attractive in the company car park – but it is not accomplished in any one area.
To book a test drive with the latest SEAT Exeo model, reserve your place at the Greener Company Car In Action today, for more information visit