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02 Apr 2018

What We Dislike
Choice of cabin materials can be improved
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The Seat Arona may be late to the party but its stylish looks, lively drive and sporty interior make it a strong contender.

The Volkswagen Group has been a little slow in joining the increasingly congested class of compact crossovers where the likes of Ford, Mazda, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and others are already well-represented.

Apart from the much more expensive Porsche Macan, and until the Audi Q2 and the Volkswagen T-Roc surfaced, the Group's only offensive on this front was the Skoda Yeti. But now, it has included the Seat Arona into its mix, which sits under its Spanish brand's first effort, the Ateca.

Amid today's new wave of compact crossovers, the Arona has an uphill task of fending off more brand-established rivals, which include the Citroen C3 Aircross, the Hyundai Kona and the Toyota C-HR.

The little Seat Arona shares its DNA with the Ibiza and the Volkswagen Polo

Size doesn't matter

The Arona is built on the Group's new small car platform, known as MQB A0, which also underpins the Seat Ibiza and the Volkswagen Polo compact hatchbacks.

That means it's quite small, measuring just 4,138mm x 1,780mm x 1,552mm (L x W x H). At $98,900 (as of 2nd April 2018), it faces the risk of buyers looking instead at bigger cars of similar price points.

But what it lacks in size is definitely made up for elsewhere, like its turbocharged 1.0-litre engine, for example. Similar to other 1.0-litres in the Group, this 114bhp unit is gutsier than you might imagine thanks to 200Nm of torque. Thus, it's never uncomfortably slow on the move.

Not the first name in refinement but the Arona's turbocharged 1.0-litre packs enough punch for daily commutes

It's smooth once you get up to speed but admittedly a little hesitant when pulling away, and whirry if you push it too hard.

Thankfully, it's paired to a smooth-shifting dual-clutch transmission that allows for manual override via paddle shifters, and drive mode selection - sport, normal or eco. More importantly, the pairing easily allows for fuel consumption of 12.8km/L even with the occasional heavy right foot.

New drivers will also appreciate that the Arona is very easy to drive thanks to its small footprint, decent visibility all around and its comfortable ride.
Sensible Spaniard

On the inside, the Arona's cabin design is less sombre than those of Volkswagen's with contrasting red on black stitching adding a welcoming splash of colour, which reflects the brands positioning in the Group.

Layout of the dashboard, too, deserves praise for high functionality (well laid out, logical and clear) as well as an 8.0-inch touchscreen monitor that's crisp, bright and responds quickly.

Not the best of cabin materials used but design is straightforward and funky pops of colour are welcoming

The cabin is, however, finished in less plush materials. The leather of choice for the steering wheel and door plastics, for example, are unexceptional.

But if you're not picky about these things, the Arona is a proper family car. It can very comfortably transport a family of four (five can be a bit of squeeze) with considerably more rear legroom than the Hyundai Kona.

And most importantly, Seat has triumphed where so many others don't by building a compact crossover with a big boot. Its 400-litre boot offers more luggage space than a Volkswagen Golf, as well as a square opening and a dual-height boot floor to divide the load space.

Its 400-litre boot outsizes some of the most practical family cars like the Volkswagen Golf

For its price, there really is little to complain about the Arona. It's something different and offers just the right amount of space, pace and grace. Seat's biggest challenge with this car, then, is hoping people recognise and accept it, for it really is a diamond in the rough.
Also read our comparison article on:
Seat Arona 1.0 vs Kia Stonic 1.0T
Car Information
There's a promotion for SEAT Arona


: $134,888

Engine Type


3-cylinder 12-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





85kW (114 bhp) / 5500 rpm



200 Nm / 3500 rpm



7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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