SEAT Arona sets

compact standard

SEAT Arona FR, 2018, side, action
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, side
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, front
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, interior
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, rear
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, rear trim
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, badge
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, rear seats
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, display screen
SEAT Arona, 2017, boot

COMPACT SUVs are sprouting everywhere and the latest to emerge is a very good offering from SEAT.

Sharply styled and priced from £16,555, the SEAT Arona has absolutely no weak points and huge appeal.

In a market where choice is becoming overwhelming the Arona cuts a dash and has all the necessary attributes to satisfy motorists young and old.

Good looks, fine engines and enough space to make it family-friendly give SEAT's second SUV an upper hand on the booming crossover scene.

It's not that alternatives are lacking - and there are plenty to go at - but SEAT has pitched the Arona perfectly with a 24 model line up that tops out at £24,235.

The Spanish car maker has also taken a new tack by eliminating options and giving each of the six Arona trim levels their own specification.

The only choices are colour, engine and transmission - all the rest comes with the grade and all include air conditioning, alloy wheels, two-tone finishes for the body and roof and an eight-inch touchscreen.

All but the base SE versions have sat nav, wireless phone charging and full smartphone compatibility while the top range Xcellence Lux models can park themselves, have a rear view camera, adaptive cruise control and Alcantara upholstery.

In between is the sporty-styled Arona FR which can be had with the Volkswagen Group's new 1.5-litre Evo turbo engine - and it suits the Arona to a tee.

Costing £21,270 - or £22,040 for the FR Sport grade which adds 18-inch alloys, the Alcantara seat coverings and uprated chassis control - the Arona FR is a splendid blend of comfort, practicality and driving fun.

Sitting on 17-inch alloys and without the handling tweaks on the Sport model the ride is less harsh but no less compliant and with 150ps on tap it's the quickest of the lot.

Top speed is 127mph and 0 to 60 takes 8.3 seconds - more than a second quicker than any of the other Aronas which come with either 1.0-litre petrol or 1.6-litre diesel engines.

The Evo Arona is a six-speed manual only (the others can be had with DSG auto boxes as an alternative adding up to £1,400 to the price) and it lacks for nothing in a car of this ilk.

Officially the fuel figure is 55.4mpg with emissions of 115g/km and that's similar to the other petrol engines in the range.

On a good run across the fens of East Anglia the 1.5-litre Arona proved to be an excellent driver's car as well as nicely comfortable for passengers. More to the point it returned an average of close to 47mpg without any effort.

Inside and out the car is well finished and well appointed. Trim quality is top class and looks durable while outside the Arona has the necessary SUV accoutrements such as sill and wheel arch protectors and skid plates front and rear.

Among the current crossover crop it is very good looking with sculpted body lines set off by the bi-tone finish and highlighted by a panel in the rear pillar which creates the illusion of a floating roof.

The FR trim accentuates the effect with tinted windows and chrome finishes for the roof rails.

The cabin is accommodating with the FR having sports seats set off with coloured inserts. Four adults are fine, five is a bit of a squeeze but that's the case with all compact crossovers.

Boot space comes in at 400 litres and there's an adjustable floor panel for added practicality. Fold the rear seats and that increases to 823 litres or 1,280 litres loaded to the roof.

With some snazzy paint jobs - colours include orange, red, blue and a lustrous magenta and metallic finishes are included in the price - the Arona is right on trend, looks embellished with roof finishes in black, grey or orange.

At the moment, the Arona is the best looking little SUV around and with its underpinnings to be shared by the soon-to-come new Audi A1 as well as the Ibiza supermini, the ride and handling are out of the top drawer.

It's a very classy car that pound for pound is right on the money on every front and that makes it the best little crossover around.

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