Technology Lux 1.6


SEAT Arona, dynamic
SEAT Arona, front
SEAT Arona, profile
SEAT Arona, rear
SEAT Arona, boot
SEAT Arona, interior

BARCELONA flair is proving a big hit with British fans at the moment - but it has nothing to do with Lionel Messi and his mates at the Nou Camp Stadium.

The Catalan craze that's currently sweeping the nation is our rapidly-developing love affair with the city's other big name, SEAT.

Six consecutive months of record growth saw the brand's UK sales rise by a huge 22 per cent in the first half of the year, to more than 35,897.

Playing a key role in that success was the new Arona, SEAT's response to the rapidly-rising demand for compact crossovers, which found a home on more than 5,700 driveways during the same period.

Taking strong design cues from the larger Ateca, the Spanish car-maker's equally well-received first foray into the SUV market, the Arona offers city-friendly dimensions while its cleverly-packaged interior still provides plenty of family space and practicality.

In keeping with the current trend in the small car market, SEAT also gives buyers the opportunity to put a personal stamp on their motor, with two-tone paint jobs available at no extra cost.

All versions can be specified with a contrasting black or grey roof with the addition of an eye-catching orange option on flagship models.

Power comes from a range of five efficient engines, all featuring direct injection, turbocharging and an automatic stop-start function.

The petrol options are a 1.0-litre, three cylinder unit kicking out either 95 or 115ps and a 150ps 1.5-litre that uses automatic cylinder deactivation technology to boost economy. The latter is exclusive to more driver-focused FR and FR Sport models.

Those who prefer diesel can opt for a choice of 1.6-litre units tuned, like the three-pot petrols, to deliver either 95 or 115ps. All are efficient and should be relatively cheap to run.

The higher-powered diesel in the car I drove, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, delivered a claimed 65.7 miles per gallon on average and, although lacking a little immediacy, proved very durable and pulled well across a wide rev band.

It would make a sensible choice for anyone doing high-mileage and a lot of motorway driving but the more responsive and peppy petrols are probably a better bet if most of your time is spent zipping around in town.

Generous ground clearance and a commanding, high driving position offer the reassurance and confidence typical of modern crossovers.

Despite the elevated ride height, though, the chassis is firm enough to offer some nimble and sharp handling while retaining decent grip and stability.

The ride quality rarely strays on to the wrong side of comfortable and overall the Arona is an uncomplicated and pleasant enough car to drive, although to call it fun would be a bit or a stretch.

That's not really the point in an SUV, though, and, just like the Ibiza supermini on which it is based, the Arona squeezes a commendable amount of space into its compact dimensions, making it an ideal choice for small families.

Good head and legroom all around means that four adults can get comfortable with ease, and three kids should have few complaints in the back, while at 400 litres, rising to a maximum 1,280-litres with the 60/40 split rear seats folded down, the boot is one of the best in class.

Entry level SE cars get decent equipment, including alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, emergency brake assist, a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and air conditioning.


SEAT Arona SE Technology Lux 1.6 TDI

Price: £20,455

Mechanical:115ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:115mph

0-62mph: 10.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group:12

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles


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