The brand new SEAT Arona is small, stylish, and closely related to the Audi Q2 and upcoming Volkswagen T-Roc, as well as the Ibiza supermini. So, is the compact SUV good enough to warrant your hard-earned cash? Our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, has been driving the Arona at its launch in Barcelona this week.
It has the same ‘family face’ as other SEATs, so it fits in well with the overall SEAT scheme. It’s got a few more creases and looks smart. It’s probably the most attractive car in this segment actually. Inside, you won’t find anything different to the Ibiza supermini. The cockpit is exactly the same and is a total copy/paste job by SEAT, but that’s no bad thing, because the Ibiza has a cracking interior and it’s highly unlikely anybody is going to dislike it. Good design, nice materials, comfy seating. That’ll do, cheers.
On The Road
Though the little Arona has a lot in common with the Ibiza, don’t expect it to be as much fun to drive. It’s taller, so the centre of gravity is higher and that causes corners to be less enjoyable. Furthermore, it doesn’t ride quite as well as the Ibiza does, which is odd, considering it’s higher up and should, in theory, be a bit more comfortable. Because it’s so small, the little petrol engines work really well in the Arona. I like the tiny 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine in 115PS guise; it’s chirpy and makes a lovely little noise, as well as returning good figures for fuel economy. If you fancy a diesel, there’s a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder one on offer, but unless you’re covering a lot of miles, we think you’ll be happier with going for the green pump. It’s worth reminding you that a decent DSG automatic gearbox is available as an option on the Arona, too. Just because the Arona has a higher ride height, doesn’t mean it’s up to much off-road. It’s front-wheel drive only and is designed to stay on the black stuff, so better not be tempted to take it into that muddy field.
This is where the petite Spaniard really outshines one of its core rivals – the Nissan Juke. You may already know, but boot space and rear passenger space in the Juke is, how can we say it, limited. Not so in the new Arona, where there’s 400-litres of boot room available for you to load all kinds of stuff. Better than that, though, there’s enough interior space to transport four adults in relative comfort – something the Juke can’t manage.
Being a more value-orientated member of the Volkswagen Group, the new SEAT Arona comes with an impressive level of kit. Automated parking, heated seats, cruise control, climate control, and smartphone integration (so you can link your Apple and Android devices to the car) are all present, and in the more upmarket trim levels you also get more helpful tech, like keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, and rear-view cameras. There are a lot of features and trim levels to consider, but on the plus side, this means that it’s unlikely you’ll feel lacking in equipment when your new Arona arrives. It’s just a case of picking the one that’s right for you.
It may not be all that great to drive, but the new SEAT Arona isn’t really all about that any way. It’s stylish and practical, but it’s more about cashing in on the fashion for the SUV body style than it is about delivering a car that’s great to drive. Who knows, though? In time it might be able to do both.
Check out the all-new Arona at Perrys Aylesbury SEAT when it hits our showroom in November.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Stylish √
- Practical √
- Kit √
- Efficient √
- Driving Fun X
Fast Facts (SEAT Arona 1.0 TSI 115 FR – as tested)
- Max speed: 113 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.8 secs
- Combined mpg: 57.6
- Engine layout: 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 115
- CO2: 113 g/km
- Price: £19,895