SEAT Arona 1.0 FR


SEAT Arona, 2022, side
SEAT Arona, 2022, front
SEAT Arona, 2022, rear
SEAT Arona, 2022, interior
SEAT Arona, 2022, rear seats
SEAT Arona, 2022, boot

LESS is more, they say. But can you really expect a humble one litre engine to haul an SUV, albeit a small one, at a reasonable pace?

Well, the short answer is YES, if it's a three-cylinder SEAT Arona. The baby brother of the popular mid-size Ateca, it's sprightly enough to deal with city traffic and keep ahead of the pack on cross country runs or long motorway journeys.

Good packaging is at the heart of the Arona's design. Despite being little more than four metres long, there's ample head and leg room for four, or even five on occasions. Of course, the extra height of an SUV allows the passengers to sit more upright than in a hatch, meaning less forward leg space is required.

Another advantage of its raised height is that getting in and out is much easier than a low slung hatchback - a fact that won't have passed by older buyers.

The version reviewed here, is the 1.0 TSI FR which pushes out 108bhp, that's almost as much as the original Golf GTI, which kind of explains why the baby Arona feels lively. For those who require more oomph, there's a 1.5litre petrol version with 148bhp.

Translated into figures it reaches 62mph in 10.6sec and tops out at a creditable 118mph, while pumping out emissions of only 118g/km. In normal running, most owners will easily squeeze 45 to 50 miles from a gallon of E10.

No doubt quite a few potential buyers might feel a bit cheated when they hear the diminutive size of the engine. But it takes just a few miles to dispel any fears. Eager throttle response and plenty of torque mean the Arona actually feels quicker than the stats suggest.

The three-pot unit is a bit vocal when revved, but quietens down nicely in the higher ratios, and motorway cruising is relaxed and comfortable, partly thanks to a high sixth gear. The gearbox, itself, has a short throw pleasant action.

It also handles well, despite being relatively tall. The steering is a tad numb, but it's light and responsive and turns into the apex of bends tightly, giving a rewarding driving experience.

No shortage of grip when hurrying around bends and the ride remains smooth an compliant over mixed surfaces.

Returning to the cabin's roominess, there are plenty of stowage areas and bottle holders and the boot can swallow up 400litres of cargo, which puts it in the premier league for small high-riders. The facia and switchgear are durable and smart, but lack some of the style and flair offered by more modern rivals.

FR trim adds full LED headlights, twin exhaust pipes, sports front seats and dual zone climate control. As part of the sporty package you also get a slightly stiffer suspension set-up.


SEAT Arona 1.0 FR TSI

Price: £25,110

Mechanical: 1.0-litre, 3 cylinder, 108bhp petrol engine driving front wheels via manual gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 10.6sec

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 121g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60k miles


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