2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
It may not be the most urgent construction site for the VW subsidiary. But the reincarnation of the old Audi A4 Avant as the new Seat Exeo ST can still be regarded as a respectable success.
By Martin Woldt
Shortly after the sedan, the station wagon version will follow in August. It bears the ST for sports tourers in its name and is, at least in this country, the real object of curiosity because hatchbacks dominate this league by three-quarters.
The beautiful station wagons
To get straight to the point: As with the limousine, there isn't much to complain about with this operation either. Where you once got into the 102 hp Audi A4 Avant at 26,150 euros, you can get the keys for the equally powerful Seat clone from 23,290 euros. Whether the former Audi slogan of the beautiful station wagon, which would always be called Avant, can be transferred one to one to the Spanish successor is another question, despite great similarities, for example in profile. Of course, the Exeo ST did not notice the triumphant radiator grille. The appearance is more like that of the master of calm, the VW Passat.
Low loading sill
One of the few points of criticism of the Audi A4 Avant was its comparatively small load volume. In the Exeo ST it is again exactly 442 liters. To put it into perspective: In the Insignia Sport Tourer from Opel you have almost 100 liters more available. But similar to this one, loading is made considerably easier by a low loading sill and a tailgate that is deeper in the roof. When folded down, around 1,354 liters of storage volume come out, just like in the A4 Avant. (Slight deviations from the Audi value could result from the newly developed tailgate.) But even with that, it is a good 400 liters less than for example the Passat Variant from VW.
But how could it be otherwise? The Audi was not necessarily recommended as a family carriage or hardware store liner and owed its high registration figures primarily to the fleet business and other commercial customers. The loading compartment plays a minor role here. Even though Seat also has a reversible loading floor with a rubber and a textile side in order to avoid permanent soiling in the worst-case scenario. But even with the optional luggage net, this does not make the ST a loadmaster. Just like the space on the back seat has its limits. Although it is far from the small car level, the Exeo ST is far from being a wellness oasis for knees and feet. However, the Spaniard is a little more comfortable and can handle short bumps more inconspicuously than its role model.
If you disregard the differently worked steering wheel spokes and the round, instead of the once angular, fan openings, the cockpit differences to the A4 are marginal. Under certain circumstances you can guess the actual age of the construction from the all in all rather straight structures. Younger cockpits are more inclined towards the driver. But the cockpit is still an invitation that keeps its promises. The steering is fine-tuned and has an impeccable response from the street. The manual six-speed gearshift has short, precise shift gates and, as a concession to the modern age, has a shift point display that signals the optimum gear change. Unfortunately not yet as clearly as in the latest generation of Audi, which makes it easier for the driver to save fuel through appropriate driving.
The real difference
But Audi A4 or not, the bottom line is that the most obvious difference is the modern generation of engines. There is a choice of three petrol engines and two common rail diesels. Apart from the fact that all of them are Euro5 units, the diesel engines in particular stand out due to their significantly improved running smoothness. And of course consumption has decreased. An A4 Avant with 140 hp diesel was still 6.1 liters per 100 kilometers. The corresponding Exeo ST with 143 hp is content with 5.7 liters; less to look for a comparison with Opels Sports Tourer, which requires 6.0 liters with 130 hp.
The progress in gasoline engines is less clear. The entry-level version with 102 PS at the Audi still used 7.9 liters. 7.7 it is now with the equally strong Seat. As much as an Insignia with 115 hp offers. In the end, you don't have to be afraid that the Exeo ST will in some way slip past technology. Especially since the prices have also moderated somewhat. Entry into the Exeo-ST world is with a 102 hp petrol engine for 23,290 euros. 27,290 euros are due for the smaller diesel with 143 hp.