The SEAT Arona’s a doddle to drive and there’s a decent range of engines to choose from but, unlike other small SUVs, you can’t get it with four-wheel drive
You can get the SEAT Arona with two petrol and two diesel engines and with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
The 115hp 1.0-litre petrol engine is the one to go for if you do a mix of city and motorway journeys. It’s nippy enough to keep up with fast-moving traffic and doesn’t drone too loudly when you’re cruising along. SEAT claims it’ll return 57mpg, but you can expect to see a figure closer to 47mpg in real-world conditions.
There’s also a 95hp 1.0-litre model, but it’s only worth considering if you rarely venture out of town, but it feels more sluggish than the 115hp version and only comes with a five-speed gearbox instead of the more powerful model’s six-speed unit. As a result, it’s a bit noisier at speed and doesn’t feel quite as nippy.
You’ll feel a good few bumps through your seat around town – especially in sporty FR models with their firmer suspension – but, thankfully, the Arona’s fairly comfy at speed
If you do spend lots of time on the motorway, the 1.6-litre diesel engine is your best bet. It’ll happily cruise along at 70mph and SEAT claims the 95hp model will return as much as 71mpg. Although, a figure closer to 60mpg is much more achievable in the real world.
You can get a dual-clutch automatic gearbox instead of the standard manual, but only in 115hp petrol and 95hp diesel models where it’ll set you back from £1,080. It helps take the sting out of stop-start traffic but it’s slightly jerky at slow speed, such as when you’re parking.
Unlike some small SUVs, you can’t get the SEAT Arona with four-wheel drive. Don’t let this put you off, however – it makes no difference to how the SEAT feels to drive and its raised ride height means you can confidently tackling rough tracks without scraping the underside of the car.
You sit higher in the SEAT Arona than in similar-sized family hatchbacks so you get a better view out over traffic ahead. As a result, it’s pretty easy to thread through tight city streets and the SEAT’s light controls mean your arms won’t get tired of twirling the wheel when you have to squeeze into a tight parking space.
While we’re on the subject, you get rear parking sensors in all but entry-level SE models and cruise control comes fitted as standard across the range. This helps make long journeys a bit more relaxing, but you still have to contend with quite a bit of wind noise coming from the SEAT Arona’s door mirrors at 70mph.
Besides this, however, the Arona’s pretty relaxing to drive. The more powerful petrol and diesel engines aren’t particularly noisy when you’re cruising along and the suspension does a reasonable job of ironing out bumps at speed – so long as you avoid the stiffer setup fitted to sporty FR models.
Around town, however, the SEAT Arona isn’t quite as comfortable as some other small SUVs, but at least you can rest easy knowing that all models come with plenty of high-tech safety kit designed to prevent avoidable accidents.
Automatic emergency braking – that’ll apply the brakes if it senses an obstacle ahead – comes as standard across the range alongside driver tiredness detection that’ll warn you if it thinks you’ve fallen asleep. These features helped the Arona score an impressive five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP when it was tested in 2017.