In-depth reviews

SEAT Arona review - Interior, design and technology

Neat, sophisticated design with standard contrast roof and plenty of colour options

SEAT is hoping that the Arona will attract buyers from not only the supermini class, but also from those who fancy a slightly higher driving position and a style-focused approach over a run-of-the-mill family hatchback.

As such, the Arona gets plenty of equipment as standard and a few key design features that are often included only on the options list. Every car sold in the UK will get metallic paint included, as well as the option of a contrast colour on the roof. There are nine body colours and three hues for the roof, allowing for easy personalisation.

Oddly, every Arona also gets an ‘X’ motif on the bodywork at the point where the roof comes down behind the rear door. It makes sense on Xcellence editions, but is a bit more confusing on SE and FR versions.

Most Aronas come with 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, although there are different designs to help you distinguish between SE, FR and Xcellence. FR Sport and Xcellence Lux variants get 18-inchers.

Inside, the Arona loses some of its funky attitude and becomes quite conservative - but the overall feel is still that of a mature, well-rounded product.

That’s not to say that there are squishy, soft-touch plastics everywhere; as in its sister car, the Ibiza, the Arona’s dashboard is well screwed together but layered in hard, textured plastic. However, few owners will ever feel the need to prod the top of the dashboard with their index finger, anyway, and SEAT’s engineers have done a good job of putting quality materials in areas most at use.

So, even the cheapest version in the range, the SE, is equipped with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, handbrake lever and gear knob.

The range has its limits, though. You get rather plain cloth covering on the seating in SE and SE Technology editions, while FR and FR Sport have a more sculptured seat featuring red flashes for a sportier look. But even the luxury spec, Xcellence, doesn’t go to the lengths of full leather upholstery; there’s just a bit of contrast stitching and a slightly more complex fabric pattern. At least FR Sport and Xcellence Lux have a grippy Alcantara-style material on their seats.

The rest of the front cabin is pretty standard SEAT fare, with a conventional instrument panel (albeit with a digital display between the dials). There’s no head-up display option, unlike on the Citroen C3 Aircross and Hyundai Kona.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Even the most basic Arona, SE, gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB and Bluetooth connectivity – although it’s worth noting that this display doesn’t support navigation.

From SE Technology trim and above the Arona comes with SEAT’s Connectivity Pack Plus. This consists of an eight-inch glossy touchscreen that features built-in sat-nav, as well as the usual features for entertainment, including DAB and Bluetooth for phone calls and music streaming.

Full Link is also fitted as standard, which is a package that includes MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, offering great smartphone connectivity. The former feature is older, but the Apple and Android systems incorporate your phone’s functions nicely and arguably offer even better provision for satellite navigation than SEAT’s own system.

On the whole, the set-up is easy to use, but despite its good size the shiny screen does catch reflections. Also, with nowhere to anchor your hand, it can be a little difficult to use on the move over bumpy tarmac. It’s an accomplished system and worth noting that, in our 2019 Driver Power survey, the Arona is rated as having the best infotainment system of any small SUV.

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