The 2018 SEAT Arona
The 2018 SEAT Arona

Caroline reviews the SEAT Arona.

The SEAT Arona is SEAT’s new compact crossover based on the excellent SEAT Ibiza supermini. Sporting a raised ride height and gruffer off-road looks, the SEAT Arona range starts from €17,995 in Ireland and is sure to attract a lot of fans.

For buyers looking for a larger SUV, SEAT already offers the Ateca. But the new SEAT Arona slots neatly into the burgeoning B-SUV segment. The Arona uses the Volkswagen Group’s new small car platform and has been honed and tweaked to make it a formidable competitor in its segment where the Renault Captur currently reigns supreme.

Though compact in size, SEAT has really made great use of the space available. The Arona is one of the roomiest of its ilk and the footwells in the rear are generously sized so it feels anything but cramped back there. The Arona can house a good 400 litres in its boot and the flat loading sill makes it practical for every day use. The rear doors also open wide.

Inside the dashboard design is similar to the SEAT Ibiza supermini so there is a clear, logical layout and a nice mix of materials to add interest to the harder plastics. Infotainment is provided via a 5” or 8” touchscreen depending on model, with Apple Car Play and Android Auto available on all but the base model.

The interior of the SEAT Arona
The interior of the SEAT Arona

In Ireland the Arona is offered in four trims: S, SE, Xcellence and FR. Standard equipment includes electric windows, air con, Bluetooth and Front Assist. SE (from €20,715) adds more including 16” alloys, LED taillights, front fog lights, leather steering wheel and cruise control.

Buyers looking for more equipment and individuality can select an Xcellence or FR model. Both are similarly priced from €22,815, with the Xcellence being pitched as the more upmarket one and the FR pitched as the sporty one with the SEAT Drive Profile Selection to spice things up behind the wheel and sportier styling.

What’s the SEAT Arona like on the road?

My Xcellence test car was very well equipped with keyless entry, some updates to styling including special alloys, chrome trim and chrome roof rails, parking sensors and camera, park assist and a special interior finish. Equipped with SEAT’s excellent 1.0TSI petrol 115hp, this model has a competitive list price of €22,815. This model is cheap to run with motor tax costing €200 per year. My fuel economy was 6.5l/100km over a week of driving.

Other engine options include the 1.0TSI petrol with 95hp, 1.5TSI petrol with 150hp and a 1.6TDI diesel with 95hp. But the 1.0TSI really is a star performer in the Arona: it’s nippy and refined with a perfect spread of power whether driving on motorway, town or country roads. Add on top of this the Arona’s agility, quick steering and supple suspension and you have one of the best compact crossovers to drive.

The 2018 SEAT Arona
The SEAT Arona is a delight to drive, roomy and well-priced

It’s fair to say the compact crossover market in Ireland is loaded with competitors but if you go to check out the SEAT Arona you will find a fantastic all-rounder. The Arona offers great space and practicality on board for this class of vehicle. It’s compact, agile and fun to drive making it a great small family car. The Arona is competitively priced with lots of equipment and technology available so deserves to do very well in its segment.

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: SEAT Arona Xcellence 1.0TSI 115hp
€22,815 (Range from €17,995)
Engine: 1.0-litre turbo petrol
Torque: 200Nm
10 seconds
Top speed: 182km/h
CO2 emissions:  
Motor tax: 
€200 per year