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
9 Aug 2018 8:40 | Last updated: 17 Sep 2018 15:53

Seat Arona long-term test review
  • 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 the head of a 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 13,150 Official economy 57.6mpg Test economy 46.0mpg Options fitted None


9 August 2017 – the space race

Soon after having the redesigned rear seat belt arrangement retrofitted to my Arona as part of a safety recall, my little SUV was for the first time pressed into service with five aboard.

After the usual arguments over which of my friends would get to sit up front and who would get to decide what music we listened to (do I really have to put up with heavy metal again?), we set off.

One of the argument-losing friends in the back stands 6ft 3in tall, and so can better verify than I how comfortable it is to be in the rear of an Arona.

He’s used to me turning up in something different each week; his favourite to be in thus far has been the Hyundai Ioniq hybrid – which, in my neck of the woods at least, seems to be a popular choice for minicab drivers.

Seat Arona long-term test review

Anyhow, What Car?’s tape measure-loving road testers have informed me that the Arona provides 950mm of head room and up to 655mm of leg room for those in the back (illustrated below by my fellow sub-editors).

That’s not bad, especially given that it’s more than is provided by other small SUVs: for comparison, the Kia Stonic gives you 935mm and 640mm, while the Citroën C3 Aircross is even more restrictive at 890mm and 630mm.

However, despite their rugged appearances, we must remember that cars in this class are essentially small hatchbacks on stilts. As such, none are particularly wide, so you really don’t want to seat three adults abreast, unless they happen to be extremely comfortable with one another. Still, most people buying an Arona will be unlikely to need space for five adults regularly, and will find it more than accommodating for two in the rear.

There’s even more room in the front; I would predict that anyone my side of German footballer Per Mertesacker will be comfortable. I know I am; and although I much prefer the driving position of Seat’s similarly sized Ibiza hatchback, I think the same assurance cannot quite be given for that car.

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