The new Seat Arona sits just below the excellent value for money Seat Ateca. Named after a picturesque spot in Tenerife, the little five seater is built on the MQB AO small car platform. This platform is shared with the Seat Ibiza and new VW Polo. In fact if you haven’t time to read the full review the Arona is basically a taller crossover version of the Ibiza with more space.
Still reading? Good. The current trend for small crossovers is unstoppable and the Arona is going after the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke, Kia Stonic, Citroen C3 Aircross, Opal Crossland X and many more in the fastest growing new car sector. It has a cute and instantly likeable exterior that can be customised with contrasting roof colours for a few quid extra. The car’s face is pure new Seat and the side profile reveals some nice creases and an upward sweeping C pillar. This stylish feature has only one slight drawback and that’s the outward vision (when reversing or if a small rear seat passenger). The seats are comfortable and there is plenty of room up front. I like to sit low in a car but the pedal arrangement forced me to sit a little taller and more forward than usual. Not a big issue and it did free up even more legroom behind my seat. In the rear there is enough room, for me to sit behind myself and ample headroom too. The rear seats split 60/40 and the split-level boot floor is useful. Underneath there is a space saver spare wheel too. The boot is pretty big for the class at 400 litres with a nice low loading sill height.
Inside the cabin Seat’s clean lines and no frills finish design is apparent. In terms of electronic gadgetry the Arona, depending on the grade, has loads. Keyless entry and start features as does a rear view camera on the top grades, an 8 inch centre display is standard on all but he entry model (that gets a 5 inch). Wireless charging and driving aids such as park assistance, rear traffic alert, front assist, adaptive cruise control, hill hold control, fatigue detection, rain and headlight sensors and multi-collision brake also are available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also feature.
The all turbocharged, stop/start engine range is made up of a three cylinder 1 litre TSI with 95hp or 115hp outputs and a range topping new four cylinder 1.5 litre TSI with 150hp that also has active cylinder disconnection technology. Diesel power comes from a 1.6 TDI with two power outputs of 95hp or 115hp. DSG automatic is available with the 115hp TSI and 95hp diesel. Seat Ireland sees a slightly larger uptake of petrol versions at roughly 53% to 47% diesel.
On the road our Xcellence test cars performed well. The 115hp TSI engine really suits the compact car’s personality. The three cylinder engine is lively and eager to please. The ride on the roads around rural Killenard was a little fidgety on back roads but sporty on busier A roads. The car felt compact, nimble and precise to steer.
Seat Arona prices start from €17,995 for the 95hp 1 litre S. Diesel pricing starts at €20,295 for the 1.6 TDI 95hp S. The grade structure features four levels and starts with S and rises to SE (from €20,715) then on to the sporty FR grade (due in January from €22,815) and then the joint range topping Xcellence grade (from €22,815). FR has the option of specifying dual-mode suspension and the four mode Seat drive profile of: normal, sport, eco and individual. Seat says the SE is going to be the biggest seller.
The new 1 tonne Seat Arona has scored highly at Euro NCAP with a five star rating. Additional optional value packs are available through any of Seat’s 23 strong Ireland dealer network. The price walk from manual to DSG is €1,400 and the walk from petrol to diesel is €2,300. S to SE costs €2,000 and SE to Xcellence/FR is €2,100.
Seat Ireland is experiencing very high growth up 17% in 2017 on 2016, and is clearly outperforming the new car market that is down 10% in the same period. In Europe the Spanish arm of the VW group is outperforming every other brand in 2017 too.