Last Word First
Things have just got really interesting in the compact crossover SUV, B-segment with the arrival of SEAT’s new Arona.
It joins SEAT’s SUV surge, with the very competent Ateca and the arrival this time next year of SEAT’s large, 7-seater SUV. The Arona enters this ever-growing segment with prices for the entry level S model starting at €17,995 across SEAT’s 23-strong dealer network.
A brief drive at the Irish press launch, while short on time and not long on miles, showed the Arona to be well up for more. Powered by their enthusiastic 1-litre, three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, it certainly felt well married to the chassis and showed real zest on the roads of south Kildare.
Albeit small, the Arona is big on character, with more space than it appears, is well put together, drives high and well, and is a must drive car for your test drive list of 2018. A beaut.
Style: Compact Crossover
Engine & Transmission: 3-cylinder, 95 PS 1.0 TSI, linked to a five-speed manual gearbox - 3-cylinder, 115PS 1.0 TSI with a six-speed manual gearbox or the dual-clutch seven-speed DSG transmission - Four-cylinder, 150PS TSI with active cylinder disconnection technology, exclusive to the FR trim, with a six-speed manual gearbox.
Diesel - 1.6 TDI with 95 and 115PS. The 95PS version can be paired with a five-speed manual transmission or the seven-speed DSG, and the 115PS with a six-speed gearbox.
CO2 Rating: 113g/km (1.0 litre, 115bhp)
Tax Band: A4
Annual Road Tax: €200
Cargo space: 400 litres, expanding to 824 litres with rear seats folded.
Introductory Price: €17,995
Some of the competition
KIA Stonic, Peugeot 2008, Citroen C3 Aircross, Jeep Renegade, Nissan Juke, Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X, Renault Captur, Mazda CX-3, Audi Q2
Gone are the days when only the elite premium cars carried the fitments and finish, those in the lower leagues left to look longingly at the unattainable. Initial visual impressions of the Arona are very positive, the SEAT headlight signature identifying it as a family member immediately. Build, fit and finish are excellent, the contrasting coloured roof and monikered quarterlight a nice touch.
The 2018 SEAT Arona comes in the now normal SEAT choice of trims, S, SE, FR and Xcellence, the SE trim expected to be the volume seller. Dual-coloured (red and white) ambient indoor LED light and dual-zone climate control with an aircare filter are also available on the Arona menu.
The Arona comes with driving assistance and infotainment systems that includes: Front Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Hill Hold control, Fatigue Detection, Rain and Headlight Sensors and Multi-Collision Brake, Keyless Entry and Start System, precise and high-quality rear camera, premium 8" black panel touchscreen, wireless charger with GSM signal amplifier. Rear Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection and Park Assistance System, which works for both parallel and angle parking, are all included.
Arona features Apple Car Play, Android Auto and Mirror Link. Those who like their sounds can opt for the BeatsAudio with 6 premium speakers, a 300W 8-channel amplifier and a subwoofer in the boot.
FR trim includes optional dual-mode suspension, with the SEAT Drive Profile coming with four modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. Optional equipment is grouped into packages on the Arona.
On the road
Surprisingly perky and agile, the Arona is no GTi, but it is great company out through the twisties. The 115bhp is terrier-like in its enthusiasm and is highly recommended. The petrol triple is a delight and a long association with it is looked forward to. Akin to many manufacturers, who all have a small three-cylinder petrol option, SEAT’s two offerings of 95bhp and 115bhp will be a revelation to you if you’ve never shared treble company before.
The Arona’s handling and ability to absorb Irish road idiosyncrasies is safe and secure. The steering is positive and while not sporty, it provides decent feedback for a car that will predominantly be ferrying to schools and sports grounds.
My short spin in the Arona consolidates Ireland’s healthy appetite for these high-rise compact crossovers. Anyone buying in this segment has a phenomenal menu to choose from. SEAT’s new Arona certainly deserves to be sampled before you buy.
The launch of the SEAT Arona in Ireland comes in the midst of SEAT’s 181 offers, which will be available across its dealer network until December 31st., with PCP finance is available at 2.9%.
The incentives on the Arona also include a scrappage offer of €1,000 while a three-year service plan is available for €199.
To find out more about the SEAT Arona, visit www.seat.ie/new-cars/arona
SEAT Arona Pricing
Arona 1.0TSI 95hp S €17,995.00
Arona 1.6TDI 95hp S €20,295.00
Arona 1.0TSI 115hp SE €20,715.00
Arona 1.0TSI 115hp DSG SE €22,115.00
Arona 1.6TDI 95hp SE €22,295.00
Arona 1.0TSI 115hp XCELLENCE €22,815.00
Arona 1.0TSI 115hp DSG XCELLENCE €24,215.00