Friday 3 October 2008

New Car: 2009 SEAT Exeo

SEAT’s first attempted into the upper medium segment comes courtesy of VW Group sister brand Audi. The new Exeo is, in fact, nothing more than a mildly made over version of the 7 year old Audi A4.

The re-styling of the Exeo’s nose is disappointing, lacking the drama of SEAT’s new Ibiza, and the rear end hardly departs from the look of the original Audi.

The Exeo is a smidge shorter than the 2009 Avensis at 4.6 metres/4600mm, making it one of the smallest cars in its class. A 460 litre boot should make up for this.

Inside, the Exeo gets the A4 cabrio dashboard – complete with distinctive round air vents – which Seat says is of even higher quality the standard saloon interior. SEAT sources also claim that the obvious use of an Audi to provide its first upper-medium car should ‘underpin the buyer’s confidence in SEAT in this market niche’.

Commenting on the Exeo, SEAT’s president Erich Schmitt said: “With the Exeo we are offering a car for dynamic and sporty drivers of the D segment. Furthermore, now we have a vehicle for our current customers who are ascending from the B segment. The Exeo is also an interesting alternative for quality aware company car drivers who are looking for driving fun but who are cost aware and pay attention to low fuel consumption and low emissions.”

The Exeo, which also be available as a wagon, will be launched with three 4 cylinder petrol-engines ranging from 102bhp, 1.6 litre unit to the 2.0 litre TFSI with 200bhp and three common rail diesel (CRD) engines with outputs ranging 120bhp to 170bhp. SEAT said that five of these six engines are turbocharged, meaning that the Exeo will also be offered either with a 1.4 litre TSI or a 1.8 litre TSI petrol engine as well. Its likely that the UK market will only get the 140bhp & 170bhp diesel engines which all meet strict Euro-5 emissions standards.

Concerning the vehicle features the Exeo will be offered with a latest generation navigation system, a new infotainment system with multiple functions and connections (MP3, MPEG4, IPOD, USB, Bluetooth), as well as for the first time a sun roof with solar cells powering a ventilation system.

SEAT's Vauxhall/Opel Insignia and Toyota Avensis rival will be manufactured in Martorell near Barcelona, Spain with sales set to start in Europe as of Spring 2009. There will be three trim-levels: Reference, Stylance and Sport, although UK buyers can expect S, SE and Sport grades.

European pricing should start at €22,000 and £17,000 for the UK. Those who love the options list will be dissappointed, the Exeo is likely to have an extensive list of standard equipment. ‘User-choosers who can not tick any option boxes on the order form’ are the UK target market, a Seat spokesman revealed.

SEAT has set a modest sales target of 5,000 units of both sedan and wagon when they go on sale in May 2009.

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