Seat are on something of an SUV offensive at the moment. Hot on the heels of their overwhelmingly successful mid-size crossover, the Ateca and ahead of a properly grown-up entry later this year, this is their B-SUV; the Arona.
It may be the first vehicle in the VAG group to use the A0 MQB platform, but the Arona’s family lineage is quite clear as it wears a very similar face to other recent Seat models. Not only this, but the Arona also continues Seat’s love affair with sharp creases and angular shapes; a look that Seat have cleverly adopted as their own.
Arona; Little Ateca?
To give the Arona its own identity and prevent it from being a scaled down facsimile of the Ateca, it’s been given a very distinct feature line. It starts along the bottom of the glass-housing and then flicks up sharply towards the top of the rear windscreen, leaving a gap between itself and the roof just big enough to place an ‘X’, confirming the Arona’s crossover status, whilst leaving the roof fashionably floating. A rugged, ribbed roof further cements the Arona’s place in the SUV market.
Seat are very much VAG’s ‘youth’ brand, and their market-leading approach to smart connectivity over recent years backs this up. The way your buy your Arona has been simplified; according to Seat you simply ‘choose your engine, choose your spec and then choose your colour. Options such as metallic paint etc come as standard. This is what the Arona’s younger target market apparently want when purchasing a car, not only this but it speeds the whole process up; patience is not the millennials’ strong suit.
How much room inside the Arona?
It may have been designed with the kids in mind, but sit inside the Arona and it’s actually a very civilised place to be. Yes, the eye-level plastics are a tad scratchier than we’ve come to expect from Seat, but the rest of the cabin is all about the quality and understated cool. A major part of the Arona’s appeal to me personally is how much room you get in what’s essentially a B-segment car. There’s plenty of knee and elbow room for the driver and the head and leg room in the back is very impressive. The 400l boot is average capacity but a flat-loading boot floor will appeal to many.
The Arona comes in 6 specifications; SE, SE Tech, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux with prices ranging from £16,555 to £22,095 OTR. Engines are a 3-cylinder petrol in 94 & 114 bhp guise, a 148bhp 4-cylinder petrol or a 1.6l TDi, again giving either 94 or 114bhp.
Which Arona should I buy?
Seat predict the most popular Arona will be the 114bhp, 1.0l petrol FR spec model, priced firmly half way at £19,895 OTR. In the interest of balance, we drove this and the most basic spec SE model. There’s nothing wrong with the SE, as such, it’s quiet and drives well, and all the important elements are there. Drive the FR, though, and the target market probably won’t then want to give up the climate control, more luxurious cabin and that all-important 8” infotainment system that’s the likely deal-clincher.
The compact crossover market has grown by 30% in the two years leading up to 2018, so it’s little wonder manufacturers want a slice of it. With its combination of youthful appeal and VAG lead quality, Seat seem to have got the formula just right and the Arona will undoubtedly sell well.
By Ben Harrington
SEAT Arona 1.0l FR Specifications
Engine – 1.0l 3-cyl petrol, Layout –Front engine, FWD, Transmission – 6-speed manual, Power – 114bhp, Acceleration –0-62mph – 9.8s, Maximum Speed –113mph, Maximum Torque – 200Nm @ 2000 – 3500 rpm, Economy – 57.6 mpg combined, Emissions –113g/km CO2, Price – £19,895 OTR
The SEAT Arona is available now. For full details go to: www.seat.co.uk