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Seat Arona review 2019

Find out more about the SEAT Arona in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

£15,793
Average Price
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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Modern looks
  • Good to drive
  • Efficient engines

Cons

  • Some cheap interior plastics
  • Top-spec models are expensive
  • Doesn’t offer class-leading practicality
  • MPG

    56 - 57

  • CO2

    110 - 113 g/km

Model Review

Seat’s first crossover, the Ateca, took the brand by surprise at just how well it sold — quickly becoming one of the firm’s best-selling products. A smaller crossover was the next natural progression, and thus the Arona was introduced.

Following on from the successful unveiling of the Spanish manufacturer’s Ibiza supermini, the Arona was shown to the world in June 2017. It was the second vehicle to be built on the MQB A0 platform, which underpins all new small Volkswagen Group cars.

The Arona comes with excellent standard safety kit, while as Seat continues its model offensive to be the car company for ‘millennials’, the Arona was marketed as a car for young people from the start.

Seat is now labelled as the fastest growing volume car manufacturer, so it’s clearly doing something right to improve its sales in a new market that has been underperforming.

Latest model

The Arona has only been on sale since the end of 2017, so it’s still one of the freshest crossovers around.

Since its reveal it’s been awarded a five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, while Seat has also announced that the Arona is available with a 10.25-inch digital cockpit — it’s available as standard on Xcellence Lux and FR Sport trim levels.

Value for money

Prices for the Seat Arona start from £17,145, so while it’s by no means the cheapest crossover on sale, it’s still good value for money.

Standard equipment on the Arona SE includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, automatic lights and emergency braking — that’s a fair bit of kit for the money. While most models are attractively priced, the Xcellence and Xcellence Lux are comparatively expensive — overlapping with low-end variants of the larger Seat Ateca.

Seat has also taken the bold move to offer few optional extras on its cars, which means that buyers are left with the choice of trim levels. These are said to give buyers all the kit they’ll need. This at least means that you won’t have to consider any extra expenditure on optional extras, which you might have to on rival models.

As the Arona is still a new car, you’ll find that prices remain high. There’s a waiting list for brand new examples, which has also kept forecourt prices up. That said, you can find an ex-demo model with around 5,000 miles on the clock for £14,000, which is still a good saving to be had.

 

Looks and image

 

The Arona is one of the best-looking crossovers around, with its smart, youthful looks. As with all Seats, it has a very angular design, and certainly favours the look of top-spec versions. Saying that, even entry-level Aronas are visually appealing, with their contrasting coloured roof, LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels. The interior also looks the part, and even though it has quite a dark cabin, the standard touchscreen and well-laid-out dash still look the part.

It certainly favours functionality over design, which is no bad thing in this case. The excellent equipment levels also add to the Arona, but it lacks luxury and would benefit from plusher interior materials. It is very comfortable, though, with the only real complaint being the firmness of the sportier suspension set-up on FR versions. Smaller wheels on the SE and SE Technology versions make the most sense if ride comfort is a priority.

Behind the wheel, the Arona also impresses. The steering is sharp and well-weighted, and it’s one of the more dynamic small crossovers on sale, thanks to minimal body roll and good handling. Some engines feel rather lacking in power, although they are perfectly adequate around town. It also doesn’t feel much different to the way the Seat Ibiza behaves on the road, which is good praise indeed. For those wanting a slightly sportier drive, the FR version is the one to go for. Just be aware that this sportier feel will be at the expense of ride comfort.

Space and practicality

Rear seat passengers will be appreciative of the extra headroom over the Ibiza hatch, while rear seat space as a whole is impressive, with ample room for four adults to sit in comfort. Those over six-foot will be rather short of space, though.

The Arona’s boot offers 400 litres of room, which is a good size for its class, although it doesn’t quite offer the flexibility of rivals. It comes with the bonus of an adjustable boot floor, which comes as standard on all versions.

You’ll also find plenty of storage areas, while Isofix points and easily accessible rear seats mean that the Arona would make a great small family car.

Euro NCAP awarded the Arona a five-star safety rating, with a particularly high score recorded for its adult occupancy protection. Automatic emergency braking is also fitted as standard, alongside sensors that can detect if a driver is drowsy behind the wheel.

Engines

Three petrol engines and two diesels are offered on the Arona.

The petrol engines are likely to be the most popular, with buyers having the option of a 1.0-litre unit available in two tunes and a more powerful 1.5-litre engine.

The 1.0-litre unit can be had with either 94bhp or 113bhp, with the latter being available with a DSG automatic transmission, as well as the standard six-speed manual gearbox. The 148bhp 1.5-litre ‘Evo’ petrol engine is the most powerful engine in the range and is capable of a 0-60mph time of 8.1 seconds.

Moving over to diesel engines, there’s the option of a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit, which is offered with either 94bhp or 113bhp. The lower-powered version is also available with a DSG automatic gearbox, too.

Running costs

Regardless of which engine you choose, you can expect low running costs from the Arona. Even the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol returns a claimed 48.7mpg, with low CO2 emissions of 112g/km. The diesel engines return a claimed 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 113g/km. On paper there’s very little difference in figures between the petrol and diesel Arona, although in real-world driving, the diesels will likely be noticeably better on fuel.

Insurance premiums should also be quite low, with groupings ranging from 8 to 17 for the powerful petrol engine.

Seat’s warranty lags behind that of the Kia Stonic and Hyundai Kona, which come with a seven-year and five-year warranty respectively, although its three-years/60,000-mile cover is still comparable with many rivals.

Things to look out for

Seat has a reasonably solid reputation when it comes to reliability, with many of the Arona’s components being shared with cars from across the Volkswagen Group. As it’s still a new car, there are not any known problems with it yet. The only thing to note was that in May 2018, Seat confirmed that there was a technical issue with all Aronas built to that point, which meant that in extreme cases one of the rear seat belts could become unfastened. Affected cars have been recalled and the issue should now be fixed on all cars — but it’s worth checking this work has been done on any used examples.

 

Rivals

The Arona is a part of the small crossover market, which has grown hugely in size in recent years and continues to do so. Key rivals include the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur, Volkswagen T-Roc, Ford EcoSport, Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3 and Vauxhall Crossland X.

Depreciation

As we’ve mentioned already, there is a waiting list for the Arona, which has kept values high. That said, there are plenty of ex-demonstrator models available on forecourts for a few thousand pounds off the original list price.

Which Arona to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.0 TSI SE [EZ] 5dr

Most MPG

1.5 TSI EVO FR [EZ] 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.5 TSI EVO FR [EZ] 5dr

Summary

  1. Excellent equipment levels
  2. Good to drive
  3. Great ride quality
  4. Spacious boot
  5. Lots of trim levels to choose from…
  6. Although top-spec models are expensive
  7. Interior quality could be better in places
  8. Plenty of safety kit as standard
  9. Smart-looking crossover
  10. An ideal crossover for small families

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