From February 2010 issue

List price when tested: £22,455
Kerbweight: 1590kg*
85% match: 1352kg
Max towing weight: 1600kg
Towball limit: 75kg
30-60mph: 11.7seconds
30-0mph: 10.4m
 *Includes 75kg for the driver, so differs from the weight published in Seat’s brochure

THE BADGE may say Seat, but under the skin the Exeo ST is closely related to the old Audi A4 Avant.

That’s both a good and bad thing. It’s good, because towing stability is very impressive indeed. Our lane-change test is designed to replicate an emergency manoeuvre, and however violently we turned the wheel the Exeo was unshakeable, dragging the caravan obediently behind it.

Driven less aggressively on the public road the Seat is just as impressive, proving relaxed and stable at motorway speeds with plenty of punch for overtaking.

Bumps felt with a thump

Leave the caravan behind, and the Exeo is a composed and capable car, but the sport suspension fitted to the vehicle we tested does ride comfort no favours. Around town in particular potholes and sharp bumps are felt with a thump. What’s more, a notchy gearshift and steering which is short of feel mean the Exeo isn’t as fun as it might be.

The cabin is a pleasant place to spend time, though, thanks to attractive design and an upmarket finish (the Audi origins of the car are clear).

However, there’s not much space for the driver’s left foot. A more significant problem is a shortage of space in the back, where the Audi A4 DNA does the Exeo no favours. Rear legroom is poor compared with the likes of a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb.

Luggage space is also meagre compared with rival estate cars. There’s a modest 442 litres with the seats upright, and 1354 litres with the back seats folded.

The Exeo makes a very fine towcar but it’s compromised in other areas.

We say
Towing: 4/5
Solo: 3/5
Practicality: 3/5
Buying & owning: 3/5

Verdict: 3/5 – A stable towcar, but not as practical or roomy as many rivals.

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