SEAT Arona

   It was not so long ago that SEAT, Volkswagen’s Spanish and sporty brand, didn’t have an SUV in their line-up. Now they’ve got two. First there was the Ateca.  That’s their bigger one, based on the MQB platform that underpins a whole host of VW group regulars. And now there’s this: The Arona.

   Well, I suppose, it’s a crossover really, rather than an SUV.

   I say that because the Arona is smaller. It’s based on VW’s MQB A0 platform, the same one as you’ll find under the SEAT Ibiza and the mechanically identical Polo and Audi Q2. It’s also somewhat more suburban.

   Whereas you could genuinely envisage taking an Ateca off-road, or least on an adventure-type holiday with a couple of mountain bikes, a tent, and a canoe strapped to its roof, with the Arona  you’re more likely to think again should the need arise to mount the kerb.

    So, is the Arona just another faux-by-four, yet another supermini-sized SUV set to join the ever growing crowd? Or, is there more to it than that?

   Ah yes, the ever-growing crossover crowd, by which I mean the Arona’s competition. There’s Nissan’s Juke of course, Citroen’s C3 Aircross, the Renault Captur, Kia’s Stonic, Hyundai’s Kona, the MG ZS, Vauxhall’s Crossland X, the Mazda CX-3… the list goes on, and on. All are currently very fashionable, and thus big sellers. It’s no wonder SEAT want piece of the action.

    Size-wise, at 4,138mm from front bumper to rear, the Arona is 79mm longer than the Ibiza.  However, the real difference lies in its height: The Arona is 99mm taller. As a result it offers not only higher ground clearance, but also more front and rear headroom, and, above all, a larger boot - the actual capacity is 400-litres. Incidentally, that’s more than offered by a VW Golf.  Another advantage of its raised stance is that the seat cushion is a whole 52mm higher. Firstly, that gives the all-important higher driving position. And, secondly, prospective (and possibly older buyers) take note, it makes the Arona much easier to get in and out of.

   SEAT have also given prospective purchasers a host of personalization options. The roof is available in a choice of three colours, plus there’s a total of 68 different body colours to choose from. So, there should be no need for your Arona to look just the same as the neighbour’s.

    Despite the Arona’s go-anywhere looks and chunky bumpers, won’t get though, is four-wheel drive. Crossover buyers it seems are more concerned with, ease of use, economy and practicality than they are with departure angles, lockable diffs, and low ratios. Anyway, a set of winter tyres would probably take your Arona as far off the beaten track as you’d realistically want to go.

  We tried the Arona with its smallest engine option; all 3 cylinders and 999cc of it. It might only muster 94bhp but the little turbo-charged triple did a fine job of pulling the Arona along both in and out of town. It can get a bit buzzy when working hard but, all-in-all it provides enough performance just for the Arona to feel spritely, if not exactly entertaining.

  Nevertheless the handling is neat and predictable, and it rides well too, that extra height gives it a cushiness. It’s actually a very pleasant, and refined little thing to drive.

    It’s also nicely equipped. Those already with familiar with the Volkwagen parts-bin will recognize the majority of fixtures and fittings; air-con knobs, sat-nav, indicator stalks and associated switchgear, and the layout too is as sensible and straightforward as you’d expect from something with Germanic parentage.

   The SE Technology spec Arona SEAT kindly lent us benefitted from such goodies as

DAB radio with Full Link capability (MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto), and an 8” touch screen with voice control, plus a wireless phone-charging pad – very handy. Should your budget stretch to such things a rear-view camera, parking sensors, Alcantara upholstery, are available still further up the range.

    The Arona, like many-a-crossover for that matter, is not the most exciting thing you can buy; the truth is the Ibiza upon which it’s based offers the better drive. But, it is practical, it is nicely equipped, it is economical (VW’s 3-pot motor is firm favourite here) and above all, it is incredibly easy to live with day-to-day.

   Overall, the Arona makes for a very welcome addition to the SEAT range, and indeed, the crossover collective as a whole.  



                                     SEAT Arona SE Technology 1.0 TSi


Engine:  999cc, 3 Cylinder, 12 valve, turbo-charged petrol

Transmission: 5 speed manual front wheel drive

Power:  95 bhp @ 5,000 rpm

Torque: 129 lbft @2,000 rpm

0-62MPH: 11.2 Sec

Max Speed: 107mph

CO2: 111 g/km

MPG: 57.6 combined

Price: £17,545


Many thanks to Katie at Seat’s UK press office for the loan of the Arona



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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