SEAT Arona gets it

absolutely right

SEAT Arona FR, 2018, front
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, side, action
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, side
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, rear
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, interior
SEAT Arona FR, 2018, rear seats

MOST cars that are fitted with sports suspension lose out in ride quality - and in some, it's so bad as to make them quite uncomfortable.

But one that doesn't seem to be affected at all is the absolutely fantastic SEAT Arona.

This is as good as a small SUV gets. I could not believe how marvelous the quality of the ride was.

It took the worst of rolling country roads in its stride and also managed to soak up terrible town surfaces at under 30 miles an hour.

Others have said the ride is ‘acceptable' on back roads. That's complete baloney - it is superb.

Yet the brilliant handling and road holding also stand out as being very special, with tremendous grip on any surface - even pushed hard.

The VW Group power steering is one of the best systems in the world, giving precise and direct response together with marvellous road feel.

So the handling is also top of the tree and well up to cars that consider themselves two or three rungs higher up the ladder than this humble SEAT.

I drove the cracking 1.0-litre TSi three cylinder turbo petrol and it lacks nothing whatsoever. It has more power than the old SEAT 1.6 petrol, together with much lower emissions and 45mpg economy in real driving.

The benchmark 0 to 60 miles an hour sprint comes up in under ten seconds with ease, and always responds to a prod of the loud pedal with tremendous verve.

It will also pull from low revs like a much larger engine, so that driving economically becomes much easier.

The power unit is smooth and quiet unless revved, when it has a delicious thrum that's quite addictive and rather like the sound of a six cylinder.

The FR I drove had SEAT's Drive Profile adjustment system with eco, normal, sport and individual settings.

This modifies the engine management computer to suit the driver's whim, but in real driving, makes little or no difference to the performance.

The gearchange is quick and slick, the clutch is light and easy and the brakes hold all the horses in check with consummate ease.

There's room for five adults inside, with good front and rear legroom and a decent sized boot.

And FR trim brings a huge array of goodies including wireless phone charging and a full link to your mobile so that you can play your favourite music.

It also has a two colour paint scheme, Bluetooth, DAB stereo, automatic emergency braking, cruise control, rear parking sensors, stability control, sat nav and an eight inch touch screen.

The stereo has USB ports and SD card slots and is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Mirrorlink and Android Auto.

Front sports seats are really comfortable and supportive, there's climate control, automatic wipers and an alarm system.

The SEAT Arona is so good that I think it will take sales from most of the other smaller SUVs on the market.

FAST FACTS

Price: £20,165

Mechanical: 115bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 113mph

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds

Combined MPG:57

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 113g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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