The segment of the compact Crossover SUV’s is very popular in Europe, and it sales have over the last seven years not less than quadrupled. Of course Seat wants to have its piece of the cake in this niche of the B segment. Seat builds therefore the Arona since 2017 in its Martorell factory, and this Crossover rolls on the VW Group MQB-A0 platform. This means that the Arona is technically very close to the fifth generation of the Ibiza, the Polo Mk6, the Skoda Kamiq and last but not least the VW T-Cross.
We tested here the Arona in its latest facelift, which saw some major changes mostly at the front end, and even more so in the interior. Just read further!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The grille has now moved a bit higher, and the front skirt is now more expressive with even a special reflex silver paint finish. The top equipment line Xcellence is now replaced with Xperience. The Arona has now also LED headlights as standard equipment. It has received also quite an array of extra colours, and its roof, which now ends in a newly shaped spoiler, is also available three colours.
The cabin and dashboard underwent the same changes as the Ibiza, and has now a central touchsreen angled towards the driver. Standard the touchscreen measures some 8,25 inches, but can be had in 9,2 inch size, and in combination with the digital instrument panel it gives the Arona a distinctly modern look and aura. We liked very much the angular instrument display, very legible indeed.
The overall finish of the dashboard is also improved, with soft touch top panelling, and behind the screens sits now the latest wireless version of Volkswagen’s Infotainment building block, with Full-Link, Apple Car Play and Android Auto of course.
Add to this the Smartphone App and the voice command function, which can be triggered by “Hola! Hola!”
Extremely well balanced…
We mentioned in our title “allround”, and that is exactly what this Arona is. Just big enough to offer pleasant roominess, it is ideally compact for the city, and due to its higher stance as a Crossover, it feels “adult” and safe on the motorway and open road. The higher seating position makes it also very easy to get in and out of, and also improves visibility, which is ideal for its urban life.
We applauded already the layout of the dashboard, and the controls are placed just right. One feels immediately at home in this Arona. With a wide range of seat adjustments and the pleasantly high seating position itself, a commanding and comfortable position behind the wheel is soon found.
Driving is believing
But the Arona really reveals its qualities when you push the start button. The 3 cilinder 1 litre unit from the VW concern purrs into life. Smooth, vibrationless and emitting a subdued, pleasant growl when you push it, this TSI version develops a healthy 110 HP. Ideally mated to a super smooth and alert 7 speed DSG, it has also ample pulling power, with 200 Nm of maximum torque at a low 2000 rpm. This means that the DSG gearbox will hardly rev the engine higher than some 2500 rpm in normal driving situations. The engine then remains also barely audible, which adds to the pleasant experience of effortless, comfortable driving.
The Arona TSI has more than enough zest with a 0 to 100 sprint absolved in 10,1 seconds and a top speed of not less than 190 km/h. So the Arona is a little Autobahnmeister too, fit for comfortable high speed long distance driving. No small wonder, its technical brother is the Polo, and VW saw to it that it’s very important car scores on all points in any driving situation.
As said, the Arona rolls on the MQB-A0 platform, and its excellent qualities are felt from the first meter you drive it. Rock solid construction and showing admirable stiffness, which results in a very precise steering and handling, also thanks to the impeccably balanced suspension, all this adds to a wonderful dynamic experience, akin to… driving an early Porsche.
The Arona has a higher ground clearance, and this means you can tackle country roads of all sorts with success.
This German engineering excellence adds to the charm of this Arona. You will smile also at the pump: with restrained, anticipative urban driving, it was no trouble at all to stay below 7 litres in urban traffic, and on the open roads driving at the legal limits was rewarded with just over 6 litres/100 km.
Good practical qualities abound in this Arona, with also some 400 litres of available luggage space. We already mentioned the excellent infotainment, and let it be known that two USB ports and inductive smartphone charging are available on the centre console.
The Arona offers more than adequate head- and legroom for four, and its hatchback configuration makes it also your allround transport.
Well styled and engineered, this Arona Crossover SUV has many qualities indeed. It’s an outright pleasure to use daily, is practical, its drivetrain is very refined, offers plenty of performance and is frugal. In this day and age, it offers the simple efficiency of a state of the art modern engine and smooth automatic DSG gearbox, providing a care free action range of well over 500 km.
It carries VW top concern technology, and it does this in style. On top of that, it is well equipped, well finished and sports the latest generation infotainment. So have a long hard look at this one…
Hans Knol ten Bensel