SEAT Arona review: Well-rounded small SUV for a reasonable price
The SEAT Arona is a fine small SUV choice, with refined engines and generous standard equipment
The SEAT Arona is one of the more compelling offerings among a vast array of small SUVs currently on the market. It offers a composed and refined drive – albeit one short on pure thrills or involvement. It’s pitched above the Ibiza, which means all versions receive a generous amount of standard equipment.
It’s not the most practical car in the class, but overall, the improvements in styling and tech mean the Arona just about fits the brief as a small family car. It gives drivers the elevated driving position that makes small SUVs like this so appealing, while the engine range delivers a good mix of performance and economy.
About the SEAT Arona
The SEAT Arona went on sale in 2017, and is the smallest SUV in the Spanish car maker's range. It slots below the Ateca compact model and Tarraco seven-seater, and features the same sharp styling cues used across the SEAT range.
Under the skin, the Arona is based on the same running gear as the Ibiza supermini, and offers a bit more space thanks to its more upright body. Its diminutive dimensions make it a rival for cars such as the Citroen C3 Aircross, Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Vauxhall Crossland, Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Nissan Juke.
Power for the Arona comes from a 1.0 TSI petrol engine in either 94bhp or 108bhp form, or a 1.5 TSI petrol unit producing 148bhp. The lower-powered 1.0 TSI version has a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 108bhp variant has either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG twin-clutch gearbox. The 1.5 TSI is only available with the seven-speed DSG transmission. All cars are front-wheel drive – there's no option of the 4Drive 4x4 system found on the larger Ateca, and no special traction control as used on the C3 Aircross or 2008.
SEAT offers a range of trims, kicking off with SE, then SE Technology, FR, FR Sport, Xperience and Xperience Lux.
All cars are well equipped, with roof rails, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, air con, Bluetooth and alloy wheels included even on the entry-level SE model. We'd recommend upgrading to SE Technology because this includes rear parking sensors and the Connectivity Pack that adds sat-nav and wireless phone charging.
There's plenty of personalisation on offer across the range, while FR Sport and Xperiece Lux cars get a sharper look and bigger wheels. Like most small SUV rivals, the Arona isn't the sportiest car to drive, but it's better than most, while the energetic engines mean all cars feel responsive.
Overall, the Arona delivers more space than an Ibiza, while the looks are funky enough to stand out without compromising the car's practicality. Prices for the range start at around £22,500, climbing to just over £29,000 for the top-spec Xperience Lux.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe SEAT Arona is a fine small SUV choice, with refined engines and generous standard equipment
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe SEAT Arona is stable and reassuring to drive; the engines are refined and offer good performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe SEAT Arona's petrol engine range promises decent economy, while insurance costs are low; depreciation is a little steep
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe facelifted SEAT Arona offers sharper styling, an improved interior and the latest on-board tech
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe SEAT Arona offers a fair amount of interior space, but lacks the versatility of more talented rivals
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe SEAT Arona is a safe family car, but its Driver Power score is disappointing