Seat Arona driving

Seat Arona review

The Seat Arona is a compact SUV that mixes the commanding driving position of a traditional SUV with city-friendly dimensions. It’s well equipped and is a very cost-effective choice.

Pros

  • Fuel-efficient engines
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Spacious interior

Cons

  • No hybrid models
  • Interior less versatile than some rivals’
  • No four-wheel drive option

Summary

"The Seat Arona is a good-value small SUV that makes you feel like you’re driving a bigger, more costly car."

Designed to appeal to those who like the look and feel of a full-size SUV – but not the large  size or the running costs – the Seat Arona is a striking-looking small SUV that’s one of the best cars of its type. 

On the outside, the Arona is available in a wide variety of colour combinations, some of them quite bold. Inside, it has enough space for a family with young children as well as a dashboard that’s easy to use. 

The Seat Arona is comfortable to drive. There are no hybrid or electric options, but every engine is very efficient and overall it’s a very cost-effective choice.

What's the interior like?

"Roomy enough for kids and grownups and you get to set up your digital screen the way you like it."

The interior of the Seat Arona is solid and sensible on the whole, although it’s livened up by coloured dash inserts. The infotainment system works well, and the separate heating and ventilation controls are very user-friendly. 

Ahead of you there’s a customisable digital screen instead of the old-style speedo and rev counter that lets you scroll through different layouts, including a large sat nav map display. It’s a nice touch and easy to use.

There’s a good amount of space in the front and back seats and it’s easy to get adults, kids  and child seats in and out thanks to the large door openings and a higher ride height than a conventional hatchback’s.

The boot is well shaped and gives you an impressive 400 litres of space, more than you’ll find in hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. You’ll have room for three medium suitcases, or a pushchair and a few bags of shopping. It’s not the biggest boot in a small SUV, though – partly because there’s no option to adjust the position of the rear seats by sliding them back and forth. (Do this in the latest Renault Captur and you’ll find you get 536 litres of space.)

What's it like to drive?

"The Arona makes parking a breeze and it’s a fine long-distance cruiser."

The Seat Arona feels right at home in towns and cities, where its high driving position and compact size make it easy to park and maneuver. All models except the basic SE have reversing sensors. It’s equally adept on faster roads, feeling well settled on the motorway and offering enough pace to keep up with outside-lane traffic even in the least powerful versions. There’s not much noise in the interior at speed, either, so it makes a decent long-distance cruiser.

The diesel versions give you a bit more oomph than the smaller-engined petrol, but the 1.5 TSI petrol model is the one to go for if you want a bit of extra push.

FR and FR Sport versions have slightly stiffer suspensions than other Aronas. These, and versions with the larger 18-inch wheels, aren’t quite as cushy over bumps, but you’d never describe them as anything other than comfortable.

One thing the Arona doesn’t offer is the option of four-wheel drive – this is very much designed as an ‘on-road’ SUV.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

"A competitively priced choice for the budget-wise buyer."

The Seat Arona is cost-efficient no matter which engine you choose. Even the most powerful petrol engine, the 1.5 TSI, can give you almost 50mpg, according to official average figures.

Diesel versions give you closer to 60mpg, according to official figures, although your mpg won’t be quite as good if your car is the version with the DSG automatic gearbox.

The Arona is competitively priced against rivals such as the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. In all, it’s a bit of a bargain.

How reliable and safe is it?

"Should prove to be dependable; safety ranking is above average for a small car."

Seat scored above average in the 2019 J.D. Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study, an independent customer satisfaction survey, so you can feel pretty confident that your Arona won’t let you down. 

The Arona comes with a good standard of safety for a small car, and it scored a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety assessment programme. All Aronas are fitted with the latest safety kit such as autonomous emergency braking and a system that can recognise if the driver is tired and warn them to take a break.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.6 TDI

Best for family -  SE Technology

Best for fun -  1.5 TSI FR

If you’re after the sportiest-looking Arona, the bigger wheels and other styling enhancements of the FR and FR Sport versions are worth considering. If fuel economy is key for you, then you should take a look at the diesel models.

All Aronas are very well equipped but bear in mind that SE Technology models and above have the larger 8-inch infotainment system, and rear parking sensors.

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