Seat is aiming to steal Ford and Opel/Vauxhall customers with the launch of a new ‘Multitronic’ CVT transmission installed in its Exeo two-litre diesel model.

The new version of the Exeo, developed cheaply by recycling a previous Volkswagen group Audi A4 generation with a new nose and tail, will reach showrooms in April and, in the UK in particular, has the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia in its sights according to local MD Peter Wyhinny.

The new Multitronic CVT gearbox, developed within the VW group, is available for the first time on the D-segment size car.

In auto mode, the transmission is ideal for driving around town while on the country roads it can be switched to sport manual, adopting seven stepped ratios to allow more driver control through the use of steering wheel mounted paddles.

Claimed fuel consumption is 48.7 mpg.

Wyhinny said: “Target market is Mondeo and Insignia, the majority of people buying other brands in this segment have already stepped outside the norm so we don’t expect to conquest many sales from them.

“Diesel automatics account for about 15% of the premium B segment and this model we expect to account for around 15% of Exeo sales.

Prices are unconfirmed but Wyhinny said CVT is expected to be around GBP1,500 more than the manual version. Optional SE Tech and Sport Tech packages will add around GBP3,000 worth of equipment for just GBP900 extra.

The only other change to the Exeo – applicable to all models – is an additional 44mm of legroom in the rear thanks to some re-engineering of the seats.