Time to ‘Own A SEAT Arona’?
SEAT, the Spanish car manufacturer (part of the VW Group) has been steadily transforming itself since 2012, when they launched the successful third generation of its Leon hatchback. The latest SEAT Ibiza was another huge leap forward – but the vehicle that has really reignited the company’s fortunes has been the Ateca family SUV.
Now SEAT have launched a smaller sibling to the Ateca in the form of the new Arona compact SUV. This newcomer from SEAT shares the same chassis and engine line-up as the teriffic Ibiza super-mini, but sits taller and offers more practicality as a result.
Four trim levels are available in the new Arona – S, SE, Xcellence and a sporty FR model. Engine options include a 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine with 95 or 115bhp, a 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 150bhp (FR model only) and a 1.6TDI diesel with 95bhp. The VW Group’s wonderful DSG (Automatic) gearbox is available in all but the entry level S model. Annual road tax is just €190 in diesel guise and €200 for the petrol models. Fuel consumption as low as 3.7l/100km on an extra-urban driving cycle is possible from the diesel engine, while the petrol engines consume between 4.3l/100km and 4.5l/100km depending on the power output.
Rivals to the new Arona include the KIA Stonic, Hyundai KONA, Citroen C3 Aircross, Skoda Karoq, Ford EcoSport, Maxda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur. The Arona is designed to be easy to personalise, with a choice of 10 body colours and the option to go grey, black, orange or same colour as the body on the roof. Overall, there are 68 possible combinations available to express yourself, your way.
My test car was a SEAT Arona Xcellence 1.0TSI 115bhp finished in Desire Red with a contrasting Grey Roof for maximum impact. Standard specification across the entire Arona range is impressive, while my test car came with such standard features as 16” Design alloy wheels, chrome roof rails, LED taillights & numberplate light, chrome window frames, Park Assist (self parking), rear view camera, front & rear parking sensors, fromnt cornering fog lights, LED daytime running lights, keyless entry & start (KESSY), electric door mirrors, double floor in boot, electric windows, split folding rear seats, spare wheel, towing prep, storage under front seats, alcantara interior, leatherette dash, interior chrome pack, leather pack, interior ambient lighting, front assist, tiredness recognition,, multiple airbags, cruise control, TPMS, auto lights, air-conditioning, Media System Plus with 6 speakers, Bluetooth, CD player, Voice Control and a multi-function steering wheel. The retail price for this specification is exceptional value at just €22,815 (ex-works). Optional extras fitted on my test car included a Spring Pack, DAB radio, Beats Audio, Easy Pack, 17” Dynamic alloy wheels, full LED headlights, Connectivity Plus Pack, Sentinel Pack and a Winter Pack – bringing the price to €27,590.
The new SEAT Arona offers a composed and refined drive combined with safe and predictable steering. The car handles superbly over even the most rutted of road surfaces and feels like a car from a class, or two, above. All Arona’s are front wheel drive only, but buyers in this class generally don’t require an all-wheel-drive system. The 115bhp version of the 1.0 three-cylinder engine has a nice spread of power and torque – enough for you to maintain brisk progress when you need to. The standard six-speed manual gearbox is slick and easy to shift quickly and really enhances the overall driving experience.
The interior of the Arona is clearly and logically laid out and feels very well constructed. SEAT’s engineers have done a good job of putting quality materials where the occupants are likely to touch the vehicle. Seat comfort is top class too, while leg and headroom is excellent, thanks to the tall stance of the car. There is up to 823-litres of boot space available in the Arona with the rear seats folded flat and boot access is excellent. The Arona has been awarded a full five-star Euro NCAP rating, and all cars get six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts and tiredness recognition.
SEAT is hoping that the Arona will attract buyers from not only the super-mini class but also from among those who fancy a slightly higher driving position and a style-focused approach over a run-of-the-mill family hatchback.
Prices start at just €17,995 (ex-works) for the Arona S 1.0TSI 95bhp and rise to €24,215 (ex-works) for the Xcellence or FR models with a DSG transmission. After taking a closer look at SEAT’s latest offering, you may just want to ‘own an Arona’.