Last year the Volkswagen Audi Group, of which SEAT is a part, launched a new chassis, upon which many models will be based – the latest of which is SEAT’s compact crossover, the Arona.
On a day when Storm Fionn was hammering the coastlines of our Isle and bringing some severe snow blizzards, I managed to get into the sky after a short delay due to the requirement to de-ice the Airbus A319 on which I am scribbling the start of this article.
The final destination – Cambridgeshire – for the official UK launch and first drives of the SEAT Arona, a car that sits in a very busy segment, a segment that demands more and more from new models for them to be in with a chance of making a name.
With its big brother, the Ateca being on the market for less than a year now, SEAT have already put their stamp on the crossover map and later this year will launch its larger seven-seat sibling that is yet to be named – confidence in what the Spanish brand can offer, is high.
Having tested the first of the SEAT range to use the new A0 MQB platform last year [read our review of the Ibiza here] – Volkswagen have since launched its Polo model on the same chassis, to great acclaim in recent press.
Ride quality and comfort are paramount on this chassis and signature edgy design features are in place on the Arona that tie it in with the latest Ibiza, Leon and Ateca – SEAT have created the perfect Barcelonan family.
With looks that will appeal to all generations, the elevated driving position of such cars gives a feel of safety and security when on the road and will suit city users just perfectly, whilst easily accommodating a weekend escape.
Coming with five-doors and front-wheel-drive only – the Arona faces some stiff competition from the likes of Hyundai’s Kona, Peugeot’s 2008 and the Renault Captur – of which I feel only the Kona can out-style SEAT’s Arona, due to its alternative design.
Inside – both the front and rear offers great comfort with the front seats being surprisingly supportive even on the lower models but there isn’t much soft-touch material around the dash meaning the cabin does like a quality feel, however there isn’t many in this segment and price bracket that ooze cabin quality.
Class-leading load space is offered thanks to a large boot which opens into an Ikea absorbing space with the rear seats folded – for a crossover that doesn’t look overly big on the road, it is surprisingly capable of family life.
To keep things simple and avoid endless options on the Arona – SEAT have decided to give buyers a good amount of trim levels to choose from – most of which will fit-the-bill out of the factory which avoids the confusion and decision making when it comes to adding spec to a new car.
On top of this, the cars can be made and delivered much faster than other brands and the Arona starts from £16,555 with the ‘SE’ – featuring 17″ alloy wheels, Bi-colour roof, front fog lights with cornering function along with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED taillights. Electrically adjustable door mirrors are feature alongside FM/AM radio with DAB and Bluetooth audio streaming and hands free system.
Infotainment is controlled via a 5.0″ colour touchscreen while air conditioning keeps cabin temperatures under control and convenience is aided thanks to electric front and rear windows, cruise control and auto-headlights with safety becoming paramount thanks to Emergency Brake Assist, hill hold control, tiredness recognition system and front assist with Multi-Collision Braking System.
‘SE Tech’ from £17,545 is next in the massive line-up adding rear parking sensors and Connectivity Pack Plus – incorporating Media System Plus with 8″ colour touchscreen and proximity sensor, navigation system with 3D map display and voice recognition, Full Link (MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto), wireless charger, 2x USB ports, AUX-in and 2x SD card slots.
‘FR’ receives full LED headlights, electrically adjustable and heated roof coloured door mirrors, rear privacy glass, twin exhaust pipes, multicoloured ambient lighting inside, exclusive flat-bottomed FR steering wheel and interior details as well as FR sports seats.
Dual-zone climate control features alongside SEAT Drive Profile offering four different modes (Normal-Sport-Eco-Individual) with steering response, throttle response and gear shifts mode (only DSG models) along with sports suspension, rain-sensing wipers as well as coming & leaving home headlights – the FR starts from £19,895.
For those wanting something a little more sporty the ‘FR Sport’ is an attractive trim level from £20,665 and includes 18″ alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery and Dynamic Chassis Control.
If you fancy more tech and practicality an ‘Xcellence’ can be picked up from £21,095 which adds in addition to the SE Technology full LED headlights, electrically adjustable and heated roof coloured door mirrors, multicoloured ambient lighting inside, front seatback storage pockets and Storage Pack which includes front centre armrest a draw under driver’s seat and mounting fixture in luggage compartment.
The Xcellence also avails of dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and go, rain-sensing wipers, coming & leaving home headlight function along with safety features such as Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control.
‘Xcellence Lux’ then adds 18″ alloy wheels, Alcantara upholstery, SEAT Drive Profile offering four different modes (Normal-Sport-Eco-Individual) / Steering response / Throttle response / Gear shifts mode (only DSG models) along with front parking sensor, rear view camera and Park Assist – its available from £22,095.
Two launch editions are available starting from £18,945 with the ‘SE Tech First Edition’ getting most of the Xcellence trim as well as a Winter Pack incorporating heated front seats with heated washer nozzles whilst £22,235 will get you an ‘Xcellence First Edition’ which see’s the addition of a Beats Sound System as well as the Winter Pack, front parking sensor and a rear view camera.
Three engines can be had – starting with a pair of petrol units – the 1.0L TSi produces either 95PS or 115PS and the new 1.5L TSi EVO engine comes with 150PS whilst a single diesel comes in the form of the 1.6TDi and receives either 95PS or 115PS with a mixture of 5/6 speed manual gearboxes or the 7 speed DSG auto ‘box depending on model chosen.
Economy of all petrol models comes in around a claimed mid 50’s mpg whilst the diesel could see around 70mpg with emissions falling between 105g/km for the diesel with the largest petrol coming in at 115g/km so across the board, all rather frugal.
SEAT’s all-new Arona comes with a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty with attractive monthly payment options, for more on these its best to speak to your local dealer – keep an eye in coming weeks for a more detailed review on the Arona FR Sport 1.5TSi.