Road Test: Seat Arona 1.6 TDI

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Seat’s Arona could just be what the market wants and needs, finds Jonathan Musk.

SECTOR Small SUV

PRICE €19,160-€24,320

FUEL 4.3-4.4l/100km

CO2 114-118g/km

Having the right cars available at the right price and time, of course, is key to Seat’s success and the Arona sits pretty as the affordable, capable and cost-effective small SUV ticking price, versatility and fashion boxes in one fell swoop. It’s everything the market is asking for and, thanks to its popular small capacity petrol turbo engine or a relatively old but proven diesel, it’s what the market needs too.

Our test car was equipped with the 95hp 1.6-litre diesel four pot that, under NEDC correlated figures, emits between 114-118g/km CO2 depending on trim – comparable to the petrol 1.0-litre turbo. Literally kilometres ahead of the petrol, however, is its official average combined fuel economy of 4.3l/100km. Consequently, Seat has rightly recognised fleets will be attracted to this winning combination, and all the Arona trims are all available with diesel power.

Inside, you’ll find more space than the Ibiza, while spec, trim and fit/finish remain the same high standard. Essentially, it’s a raised Ibiza but more than just a styling exercise, the car gains improved cabin access with larger doors and a larger boot aperture too. And it’s well-equipped as standard, coming with a more intuitive and attractive touchscreen interface than its Volkswagen siblings, while incorporating sat nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The Arona is lively and surprisingly energetic on the road. Expectedly it has firmer suspension than its Ibiza base to

compensate for the taller ride height, but not at the expense of long range comfort. There’s a hint of under-power while revs are low, but it’s a surprisingly versatile, relaxing and easy to drive machine thanks to well-chosen gear ratios in the five-speed manual transmission.

The Arona is therefore a compelling option, even when considered amongst strong competition from the Renault Captur, Citroën C3 Aircross and Kia Stonic.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.