What's the used Seat Arona hatchback like?
Used small SUVs have been growing in popularity lately, because they offer buyers the convenience of a higher driving position (meaning getting in and out is easier), a more practical boot and reasonable running costs similar to those of small cars. The Arona ticks all of these boxes and even manages to be nicer to drive than rivals such as the Kia Stonic and Suzuki Vitara.
Powering the Arona is a range of petrol and diesel engines that vary in power outputs depending upon which specification you go for. The 1.0 TSI petrol kicks off the range with 94bhp or a more powerful 114bhp version that comes with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a 1.5 TSI Evo petrol engine with a very healthy 148bhp, plus 1.6-litre diesels in 94bhp and 114bhp forms.
Air-con, 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, a DAB radio, a 5.0in infotainment system and automatic emergency braking all come as standard on the entry-level SE. A bigger 8.0in infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fitted to SE Technology Aronas, as well as rear parking sensors and wireless phone charging. FR gets you brighter LED headlights, sportier styling, climate control and automatic wipers. FR Sport models have bigger 18in alloys, while Xcellence has a host of additional safety tech such as blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert. However, you'll need the top-of-the-line Xcellence Lux to find a rear-view camera, which is a shame since even a mid-range Hyundai Kona or Kia Stonic has that.
If you want your small SUV to drive well, you’re in luck. Thanks to the Arona’s compact size and relatively light weight, it can tackle corners with enthusiasm. Its steering is nice and light at town speeds yet weights up progressively around bends. The ride on 17in wheels and standard suspension copes well with the worst road imperfections while still feeling a little bit sporty.
The slight mark against the Arona is road noise, which might have you reaching for the volume control on the motorway so you can still hear your tunes, but stick with the 1.0-litre petrol and you'll enjoy a pleasantly smooth engine that's free from most of the thrummy characteristics normally associated with three-cylinder engines.
As is typical in the small SUV class, hard plastics are the order of the day in the Arona's interior. FR models and above try to smarten things up with a touch of squidgy vinyl across the centre of the dashboard, but the rest of the range is fairly conservative. It is well made, though, and highly functional, with all the controls and switches being well laid out, but it'll never beat the smart surroundings that Audi Q2 drivers enjoy.
Those with young families will appreciate the Arona’s big boot, which is bigger than a number of its key rivals'. All models come with a height-adjustable boot floor to assist loading and unloading items. Carrying three in the back will be a squeeze, because the Arona isn’t that wide, but knee room and head room are generous. Up front, even six-footers will have plenty of room, and the steering wheel has plenty of adjustment for most.
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