Stylish and affordable SEAT Arona makes a strong case for itself in a crowded compact crossover market

“Stylish and affordable SEAT Arona makes a strong case for itself in a crowded compact crossover market”

  • Fun and funky styling

  • Generous equipment levels

  • Good selection of engines

89%

Overall Rating

  • Interior styling a little bland

  • Not quite as practical as some rivals

  • SatNav system can be fiddly

Overall Rating

Overview

After the huge success of their first adventure into the SUV market with the Ateca, SEAT have followed up with another very relevant addition to their crossover range.

The SEAT Arona is the Ibiza-based ‘baby SUV’ built to compete with the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. By combining the rugged looks and extra practicality of a crossover with the compact capability and low running costs of a super mini, this end of the market has exploded in recent years. The Arona’s sporty styling and good value for money helps it stand out from the crowd.

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Space & Practicality

The extra height means it has more cabin space than its super mini sibling, so it’s not all just about that trendy SUV look.

The boot measures in at a very respectable 400 litres, which is larger than both the Ibiza (355l) and the Leon (380l). It’s also bigger than many of its compact crossover rivals including the Kia Stonic (352l) and Nissan Juke (354l). It comes with a handy false floor which means that when you fold the seats down, they lie completely flat.

When you put them back up, space in the back is pretty decent. Legroom is similar to that of a super mini, so not outstanding, but the generous head room makes up for that somewhat.

As for squeezing three adults back there, it’s probably going to be a bit of a struggle width wise. For kids though, it will be fine, and it does come with Isofix fittings so that you can mount car seats securely to the chassis.

Equipment & Safety

The front of the cabin is your fairly typical Volkswagen Group set up. It’s ergonomic, it’s simple, it’s fuss free, but unfortunately not very exciting. While it could have been made more fun to look at, the impressive amount of technology on board means there is still plenty to play with.

Standard equipment on the entry level S is okay, but lacking in some vital features like alloy wheels. We can’t imagine that going down too well in this very trendy end of the market and so would recommend you upgrade to SE at least which will also add cruise control and an upgraded 8 inch colour touchscreen. It also comes with SEAT’s full link system which enables all the latest smartphone integration including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s easy to use and quite nicely done in terms of graphics too.

The trim levels then go into a Y formation, with a choice to upgrade to the elegant Xcellence model, or the sporty FR. The Xcellence gets upgraded chrome styling, hotstamping on the grille, keyless go, park assist and an Alcantara and leather interior. The FR gets more or less the same features but with a meaner set of 17 inch alloys and tinted windows.

The Arona scored the full five star rating on the Euro NCAP safety test.

Performance & Running Costs

The Arona is available with a good selection of both petrol and diesel engines. The diesel option is a 1.6l TDI available in either 95 or 115hp guise, and offers suitably impressive running costs and fuel economy for high mileage drivers.

The petrol line-up consists of a 1.5l 150hp TSI and a punchy little 1.0l turbo, again available in either a 95 or 115hp version. We had the latter and it was nothing short of excellent. It is the ideal engine for this car which we suspect will have a mainly urban fan base. It’s cheap to tax at €200 a year, should be reasonable to insure for a younger driver, and the fuel economy of 5.0l/100km is not bad at all.

Despite the looks, it’s no off-roader, with no four wheel drive option available. However, the extra ground clearance does give you a nice bit of reassurance if you find yourself out of the city and up against some mucky byroads.

The steering is sharp and responsive and the chassis feels incredibly well planted at all times, even around the sharpest of bends. In fact, we don’t think anyone trading up from an Ibiza will have much adjusting to do bar enjoying the higher ride height.

Reliability & Residuals

Its solid VW underpinnings should make Arona ownership a relatively hassle-free experience. The stylish good looks, generous equipment levels, and a pricetag that undercuts most of the competition complete a very impressive package. Our pick of this segment.

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