Until recently, Seat had as much experience of building SUVs as Ferrari did mobility scooters. However, the Spanish brand’s first effort was so good that it won a major gong at our 2017 Car of the Year awards. And, not content to rest on its laurels, that was closely followed by the tiddly Seat Arona that we’re looking at here.
Named after a small municipality in Tenerife (Seat has a long-standing tradition of naming its cars after places in Spain), the Arona is based on Seat's Ibiza small hatchback, so is roughly the same size as its closest rivals, the Volkswagen T-Cross, Kia Stonic and Suzuki Vitara.
It's a bit pricier than some of its peers, but it's still cheaper than the Audi Q2, Mini Countryman and Volkswagen T-Roc, with many variants of the Arona available for well under £20,000. Even the cheapest version comes with a gutsy 94bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, so you shouldn’t need to venture far up the range to find the one you want. Should you want more oomph, there’s a higher powered 1.0-litre and a punchy 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol. Alternatively, there’s a 1.6-litre diesel for high-mileage drivers.
But how does the Arona stack up against its key rivals? And which engine and trim make the most sense? Read on over the next few pages and we'll tell you all you need to know. And when it’s time to buy your new SUV, or any other car for that matter, What Car? has your back with our New Car Buying service. You could save thousands all without any awkward bartering.