SEAT Arona SE

Technology Lux 1.6

TDI

SEAT Arona, front
SEAT Arona, front, action
SEAT Arona, side
SEAT Arona, side, static
SEAT Arona, side, action
SEAT Arona, rear
SEAT Arona, interior
SEAT Arona, display screen
SEAT Arona, rear

WITH all the controversy over accurate fuel consumption figures for cars it's nice to find one that puts its money where its mouth is, so to speak.

In other words a car which not only delivers the official average consumption claimed but actually betters it on occasions.

In this case the car in the spotlight is the SEAT Arona, the smallest of three SUV models from the Barcelona-based Spanish car maker.

SEAT says the Arona can average 65.7 miles per gallon when driven sensibly - and it can.

During my time with this stylish five-seater the fuel consumption was regularly in the mid 60s and when trying very hard I even managed to hit the low 70s.

The 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine powering the Arona boasts 115bhp and is both sharp and torquey with a delightful six-speed manual gearbox, although it‘s far from the quietest diesel around.

The gearing is such that you rarely get into top around town - it complains if you do - but out on the open road it's a gear which is a real fuel saver.

With its two-tone paintwork (the roof is a different colour to the body), roof rails and wheel arch trims the Arona is one of the smartest SUV models around and a real eye catcher.

With its tall stance and generous ground clearance it looks as if it would be at home off-road but in affect is a front-wheel-drive vehicle designed purely for the highway.

Equipment levels are high with satellite navigation, DAB radio, an eight inch touch screen, alloy wheels, blind spot recognition and hill holder clutch etc as standard so you don't need to encounter the expense of optional extras.

Keyless entry is included too as well as keyless ignition. In fact when you take your seat the starter button - in a nice touch of theatre - starts pulsating red like a heartbeat, waiting for you press it.

Space inside the Arona is more than adequate for both front and rear seat passengers and the smart cloth seats - the front ones of which are heated - are really comfortable even on long journeys. Surprisingly, however, there are no cup holders in the rear.

I liked the dashboard layout which is clear and uncluttered, with dials which you can read at a glance.

This Spanish sparkler is not lacking when it comes to boot space either, being capable of swallowing up 400 litres of luggage or shopping rising to 823 litres with the rear seatbacks folded down.

On the road it's highly manoeuvrable thanks to the light but positive power steering and a combination of rear sensors and SEAT's on screen Park Pilot system make reversing simple.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Arona SE Technology Lux 1.6 TDI

Price: £20,455

Mechanical: 115bhp, 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: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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