Review: SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013)


2.0 TDI surprisingly good to drive. Very economical. Exceptionally solid build. Multitronic auto option from 2011. Good value.

Undistinguished looks both inside and out. Possible problems to come with piezo injectors.

SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013): At A Glance

Over the model life of the Audi A4 B6 and B7, what started out as an attractive, solidly built, yet sometimes unwieldy and hard riding car turned into quite a good one.

It was almost as if criticisms had been listened to and faults rectified as a result.

I particularly remember, having written off ‘S Line' models as internal organ re-arrangers, the last one I tried rode acceptably well. So I didn't necessarily think it a bad thing that VAG has shipped the production line down to Barcelona and given the car a second lease of life as the SEAT Exeo.

SEAT Exeo 2009 Road Test and Video

SEAT Exeo 2.0 TDI Multitronic 2011 Road Test

What does a SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013) cost?

SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4661 mm
Width 1772 mm
Height 1430 mm
Wheelbase 2642 mm

Full specifications

The 460 litre boot is huge. They've indented the sides to take golf clubs. And under the floor with its nice chromed luggage tie downs you'll find a full size spare tyre. Not a 225/45 R17 on an allot, but a 205/55 R16 on a steel with the same rolling circumference as a 17 and no need to crawl along at 50 until you can get the puncture fixed.

The rear seatbacks also fold down 60/40, by the way, but, as with the A4 B7, they don't offer a lot of legroom. And you'll soon lose any friends you persuade to travel in the centre of the rear seat.

Child seats that fit a SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013) like to drive?

As well as a nose and tail job, and the insertion of the dashboard from the A4 cabrio, the Exeo gets VWG's current generation 2.0 litre 143PS TDI. Out went the expensive low-pressure pump and Pumpe Duse injectors. In have come the cheaper, much better high pressure common rail system with piezo controlled injectors.

The result is not only a quieter engine and a punchier engine from 1,750rpm, but also a much more useful engine at low revs. Those piezo injectors allow it to trickle down to 1,000rpm in 6th gear, yet still pull away on the flat in 6th from as little as 1,100rpm. And that, of course, makes it much more economical. I managed to average 49.9mpg over 620 miles at an average speed of 50mph. And, since VAG's miles are a little bit longer than most manufacturers, that translates so something like 51 - 52mpg in a Ford or a Citroen.

More impressive was the way the car covered those miles. Pleasingly relaxed on the motorway, yet with 70mph corresponding to peak torque of a serious 320Nm, there was always bags of grunt under the right foot should it be needed.

Cruising through the 16miles of roadworks on the M1, it was perfectly happy to drop down to between 40 and 50 in 6th, whereas in a PSA/Ford 2.0 litre diesel you'd normally need 4th.

Cross-country it showed it had a few more feathers in its bow. The engine may overhang the front wheels by a considerable amount, but whoever re-engineered the front suspension is a genius. Somehow the wheels contrive to grip and pull the car into apexes almost like a hard-driven quattro. And that on 225/45 R17 tyres that don't jiggle and jump on every cat's eye. I'm not talking limo-like ride here, of course. But ride that is absorbent and comfortable enough to be more than acceptable.

So it's a really good car. Quick with excellent ride and handling. Comfortable. Very economical. Extremely solidly built. The downside is that it's no looker.

But you can't see that from the driver's seat. So if you want a really good car that won't attract any attention to you, put the SEAT Exeo on your list. And try to take it on a really long test drive before finally deciding.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TDI 54–63 mpg 9.2 s 117–136 g/km
2.0 TDI 120 59–63 mpg 10.5 s 117–129 g/km
2.0 TDI 170 50–52 mpg 8.4 s 142–148 g/km
2.0 TDI Ecomotive 63 mpg 9.2 s 117 g/km
2.0 TDI Multitronic 51 mpg 9.3 s 146 g/km
2.0 TSI 41 mpg 7.1 s 159 g/km

Real MPG average for a SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

38–62 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the SEAT Exeo (2009 – 2013)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What do I do if the emissions fix messed up my 2009 SEAT Exeo?

3 weeks after the emissions fix to my 2009 SEAT Exeo 170 estate, the glow plug warning light flashed continuously and limp mode activated. I visited the the SEAT main dealer twice which resulted in the replacement of solenoid, an alleged bill of clean health and a real bill of £200. I only use BP or Shell Premium diesel and use the car for short trips and now longer unnecessary ones to keep DPF soot burned off. What next?
Whoever did this to your car has messed it up and is liable to fix it. So take your car back to the SEAT dealer, demand that he fixes it, and demand an equivalent replacement while he is doing it. The dealer will just have to get the money back from VAG that put him in this situation.
Answered by Honest John
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