Seat Arona long-term test review

The Seat Arona is our reigning Small SUV of the Year. We’ve added one to our long-term test fleet to see if it’s as impressive when you live with it every day...

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Kris Culmer
12 Jul 2018 16:29 | Last updated: 17 Sep 2018 15:53

  • The car Seat Arona 1.0 TSI 95 SE Technology
  • Run by Kris Culmer, sub-editor
  • Why it’s here To validate its position as head of the burgeoning small SUV class
  • Needs to Prove practical enough for a family, display the pleasant driving characteristics of its relatives and be economical to run

Price £17,545 Price as tested £17,545 Miles 11,143 Official economy 57.6mpg Test economy 46.2mpg Options fitted None


12 July 2018 – of siblings and windscreens

A recent news article on Whatcar.com sparked great interest for me. The piece in question concerns the Volkswagen T-Cross, a forthcoming new small SUV.

While it’s ubiquitous in the car industry for brands to utlise the same engines, gearboxes and platforms, perhaps the best known of such relationships is between VW and its two mid-range sister brands, Seat and Skoda. The new T-Cross will be VW's take on the Arona, while the production version of the Vision X concept revealed earlier this year will be Skoda's equivalent.

Will the arrival of these two in 2019 bring an end to the Arona’s reign as class leader? Well, when it comes to family SUVs, I prefer the Seat Ateca over the VW Tiguan, because it has more of a sporting bent, while the Skoda Karoq focuses more on comfort. If those characteristics hold true in the small SUV market, the Arona should stay ahead – at least for me. But the T-Cross and Vision X should be priced relatively similarly on PCP finance deals, so which is better will be a nuanced decision and depends on how much you value badge appeal.

Back in the now, I accidentally found a rather unorthodox use for one of the Arona’s handy features when I drove to the pub to watch England beat Colombia in the World Cup. Trying to negotiate my car through a car park full of high-spirited drunks, with nerves well and truly shredded by the match, the Arona’s rear parking sensors saved me from running over somebody who stumbled and almost ended up under my rear bumper as I was reversing out of my spot.

At least nobody decided to jump up and down on my bonnet. But if they had done so, they’d probably have only exacerbated damage rather than caused it. You see, it turns out I’d got a tiny chip, likely from a kicked-up stone on the motorway, in the Arona’s windscreen. I didn’t notice, because it was in the black hatched area behind the rear-view mirror. And, before long, like the adverts always say, it turned into a great big crack. It’s going to be a replacement job, sadly.

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