First Drive

2018 Seat Arona 1.5 TSI Evo 150 review - price, specs and release date

A new 1.5-litre petrol engine delivers warm-hatch performance to the Seat Arona, but is it the pick of the range?

Words By Doug Revolta

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Seat Arona

Priced from Β£21,270 Release date On sale now

On paper, this looks like a good match up.

Take one class-leading small SUV, the Seat Arona, add the new Volkswagen Group 1.5-litre petrol engine that’s already impressed us in other models, and you should get a thoroughly recommendable car in a segment generally lacking in quality options.

This 1.5 (codenamed the Evo) is a replacement for Seat's old 1.4-litre unit that proved very popular in the Seat Leon and Seat Ateca. In a smaller car like the Arona, is it the pick of the range?

2018 Seat Arona 1.5 TSI Evo 150 on the road

The 1.5 has proved itself to be a great choice in other Volkswagen Group cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Ibiza, so it’s no surprise that it’s also great in the Arona.

It picks up keenly from low revs and offers impressive urgency throughout its rev band, delivering a pleasant exhaust note as you approach the redline. Flat out, it’ll whisk you from 0-62mph in a sprightly 8.3sec.

On open country roads, that's a boon. The engine's sweet performance is matched with the Arona's positive handling, and because the 1.5 is only available in sporty FR trim and above, you get different driving modes to choose from. These alter the weight of the steering and sharpen accelerator response.

Also standard on FR and FR Sport trim is stiffer sports suspension, which helps reduce body roll in corners even further and improves stability without greatly reducing general ride comfort. The ride isn’t quite compliant as Aronas on standard suspension, but it still does a good job of soaking up imperfections across broken roads.

And if you just want to take things easy, this 1.5 is a very quiet engine below 3000rpm and a fairly well-mannered car on a motorway cruise, particularly for a small SUV.

The engine will also shut down two of its four cylinders when they’re not needed, which helps with fuel economy. This means the claimed figure isn’t far off those of Seat's smaller, less powerful 1.0-litre engines, with CO2 emissions to match.

2018 Seat Arona 1.5 TSI Evo 150 interior

The Arona is available in six different trim levels, but there are no optional extras. This is part of a new tactic Seat is introducing called Easy Offer, which means buyers simply choose trim, engine and colour but no options. On the one hand, this keeps the choice simple for buyers, but on the other, it takes away a level of personalisation and flexibility that you get with rival cars.

We tested the car in FR trim. This gets various sporty design touches inside and out, on top of all the kit that comes with lesser trims, including an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone mirroring and sat-nav; air conditioning and rear parking sensors.

SE Technology represents the best value in the Arona range, but this isn't available with the 1.5 engine.

The Arona is also practical by small SUV standards. There’s plenty of room in the front seats and a couple of adults will be comfortable in the back, while the boot is bigger than those of many of rivals, including the Nissan Juke and Hyundai Kona.

Full a full breakdown of the Arona's interior, read our full Seat Arona review.

Next: 2018 Seat Arona 1.5 TSI Evo verdict >

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