What is it?
The SEAT Arona is a car designed to offer a little bit of everything. It might be on the compact side, but it’s a model that plays a big role in the SEAT line-up. As the firm’s smallest SUV it’s a direct alternative to ‘traditional’ cars like the Ibiza and, in fact, the two share a platform.
But why should the Arona be chosen above the Ibiza and what else does it have to offer? We’ve been finding out.
The Arona was updated a little while ago, bringing a sharper exterior design to what was already quite a smart-looking model. Like others in the market, SEAT isn’t adverse to a little nip-tuck when it comes to its range of vehicles, which is why the Arona has been tightened up here and there to ensure it stays current.
But despite this, it’s not like the Arona’s popularity needed improving. Since its launch in 2017 more than 45,000 examples have found homes in the UK - so it’s already a big-hitter among buyers.
What’s under the bonnet?
The range of engines available with the Arona is centred around petrol - you won’t find any diesel or hybrid options. That’s just fine for the Arona, mind you, as they suit the peppy, no-frills nature of this compact SUV.
Slated to be the best-seller is the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine which brings 108bhp to the table. A smooth-shifting DSG automatic gearbox is a great choice for long-distance drivers, but there’s also a six-speed manual there for those who want it.
What’s it like to drive?
Nimble, light and easy to get along with, the Arona’s driving experience is as laid-back as they get. The 1.0-litre petrol engine has more than enough power to keep things interesting, while its turbocharged nature means that it’s actually far happier to cruise at motorway speeds than you might think. There’s a small chunk of wind and road noise generated at these times, mind you.
If you’re after the best-possible ride then we’d opt for smaller alloy wheels, but good visibility and a relatively small turning circle make the Arona a breeze to drive.
How does it look?
Seat has done well with the Arona’s styling because it’s immediately recognisable as one of the brand’s cars. The large Seat badge in the grille is, of course, a bit of a giveaway but the whole aesthetic of the Arona ties in with other cars from the Spanish firm’s stable such as the Ibiza and larger Ateca.
That recent update saw the fog lights moved to a new position on either side of the grille, too, while the lights have been slightly redesigned to incorporate a sharper look.
What’s it like inside?
The bulk of the changes that came as part of the update take place inside the cabin. There’s a new dashboard which is trimmed in higher-quality materials, so that each press and feel is met with a nicely premium feeling finish. It lifts the whole feeling of the Arona.
There’s also a new standard-fit 8.25-inch infotainment screen - a larger 9.2-inch version is available as an option - while the graphics that it relays are sharper than before. It’s an easy system to navigate, too.
What’s the spec like?
You’ll not be left wanting for equipment in the Arona, which comes with loads of kit as standard. Highlights include LED headlights, cruise control and that previously mentioned touchscreen. Upgrade to higher trim levels and you’ll find luxuries added such as parking assistance, digital dials and a microsuede finish for the seats.
Though it’s tempting to go for a version with all the bells and whistles, the Arona’s strength definitely lies in its more value-orientated specifications which won’t cost the earth.
The Arona is still one of the very best in its class. It’s comfortable, kitted out with loads of equipment and has strong engines, too. Recent tweaks make it sharper to look at than before, while the interior has been much-improved thanks to the inclusion of higher-end materials.
You do need to go easy with the options list to keep the Arona value-orientated, but do that and you’ll be rewarded with a car which feels refined and well-finished throughout.