FR 1.0 TSi 115PS
do the compact crossover
car sector and the galaxy have in
common? Both keep on expanding
with no sign of stopping. For car
buyers, in particular, this is wonderful
news because it means an ever-
increasing menu from which to
SITTING FAIRLY HIGH OFF THE GROUND and comfortably high up on the compact-sized
SUV list is SEAT's Arona. Facing it down are the likes of the Kia Stonic, Nissan
Juke, Citroen C3 AirCross and Peugeot's 2008. In this sector, where 'cleverly
compact' is the name of the game, the Arona delivers in spades its trump
card an unexpectedly capacious 400-litre boot.
For today's car buyers design rules and for most of them the Arona
will be eye-candy, especially the more nuanced body styling that marks out the
sportier FR and FR Sport trims. That said, thanks to their sharp looks and 'kicked-up'
rear body styling, even 'ordinary' Aronas turn heads go for one
finished in Eclipse Orange metallic paintwork (astonishingly at no extra charge!)
and you'll pull in even more likes.
aboard and settle behind the flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel (sporty
with good-to-grip perforated leather 'work' areas) and you'll be faced by a
streamlined dash it looks great and the instrument panel is equally
uncluttered: a multi-function driver's display (with the essential digital speed
readout) flanked on either side by white-on-black dials ringed with chrome bezels
all instantly informative and easy on the eyes.
driving position is,
be expecting for
commanding all of the
controls are easily within
reach plus the central
touchscreen display is
only a quick glance away.
Visibility out to all
points of the compass is
excellent making the
Arona a very easy car to
place and manoeuvre
The supportive sports-style seats, upholstered in a silky textured black cloth
that's as welcome on hot summer days as it is on chilly winter ones, are nicely
bolstered and supportive in all the right places. Both are height adjustable
and enough headroom for you to drive wearing a top hat, plus enough space between
the front seats to avoid any elbow clashes with whoever is riding shotgun. There's
red detail stitching, of course (this FR is a 'hotter' version), but it's not
overdone and fit and finish is consistently to a high standard.
The driving position is, as you'll be expecting for a crossover/SUV, commanding
all of the controls are easily within reach plus the central touchscreen
display is only a quick glance away. Visibility out to all points of the compass
is excellent making the Arona a very easy car to place and manoeuvre in traffic.
Adequate in-cabin storage seems to be becoming harder to find in many so-called
family-friendly cars but thankfully the Arona is not one of them: up front you'll
find twin cupholders alongside the trad-style pull-up handbrake, long and deep
bottle-holding door bins, a large glovebox, and a good supply of secondary cubby-holes.
don't go short on comms either everything you'll need is channelled
through a superb eight-inch touchscreen with crystal-clear graphics; all your
infotainment and navigation needs are easily accessed via fast-acting menus.
Drivers will welcome the integrated SatNav with its foolproof directions and
3D mapping and be glad of the safe hands-free voice recognition feature for
navigation, telephone, radio and media functions.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand for smartphone mirroring, plus there's
also a DAB radio, CD autochanger, ample connectivity ports (as well as SD card
slots) and even a dedicated 'bed' for your smartphone where it can be charged
wirelessly while you drive!
strikes a good
balance between a
comfortable ride with
well controlled body
movements and the right
degree of firmness
necessary for decent
handling. For proof,
pitch it into a corner or
weave it through a series of bends and youll be
unlikely to hear any complaints. Driven with
more composure it
will whisk you out for a
takeaway with as much
élan as it will take you
from Lands End to
FR versions tick all the boxes: two-zone climate control, cruise and speed limiter,
four one-shot-op electric windows, powerfolding door mirrors (on demand and
automatically on locking and leaving), plenty of comms stuff (already detailed
above), tinted glass (darker from the B-pillars back), auto-dimming rearview
mirror, rear parking sensors, cosmetic FR body enhancements, sports suspension,
adaptive dampers, auto lights, rain-sensing wipers, LED DRLs, twin-blade silver
17-inch alloy wheels and, unusually, standard finish metallic paint.
wanted of the safety assists available today has to be autonomous emergency
braking and the Arona gives it to you. Free. And then backs it
up with a maximum five-star EuroNCAP score.
Also helping to keep you safe are expected items like stability control and
multi-collision braking as well as a driver tiredness recognition and warning
system. Items such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert (scans
the road behind you when you reverse exit a parking bay), and a rearview camera
are available on higher-spec trims.
Measuring just a shade over 4.1-metres the Arona is big enough to accommodate
adult passengers comfortably in its rear cabin there's enough
room for tall grown-ups to travel behind equally tall folks up front and still
enjoy liveable knee-room and more than a fist of headroom without feeling like
an afterthought. Which, for a supermini-sized SUV, is pretty damn good.
passengers also sit about six inches higher than those up front so watching
the world go by through the deep side windows is an enjoyable option for those
not glued to their mobiles. A set of third side windows add extra light to what
is a spacious-feeling rear cabin while decent-sized door pockets hold bottles
and above them comfy outer armrests help your backseat passengers stay relaxed.
on its standard-fit 17-inch alloys shod with bump-pacifying 205/55 Pirellis,
the Arona strikes a good balance between a comfortable ride with well controlled
body movements and the right degree of firmness necessary for decent handling.
engines can be rather too
vocal but the 999cc unit
powering the Arona is
pedal to the metal youll
hear its likeable three-pot
thrum, but even then
it remains smooth.
It always feels keen to
race forwards and the
clean clutch action and
easily slotted gear lever
make for pretty lively
youre fighting your way
out of town or enjoying
less cluttered back
proof, pitch it into a corner or weave it through a series of bends and you'll
be unlikely to hear any complaints from your passengers. Driven with more composure
it will whisk you out for a takeaway with as much élan as it will take you from
Land's End to John O'Groats.
to what goes under the bonnet you have options: three petrol and one diesel
petrol engines choices are between a 1.0 TSI petrol with 95 or
115PS (the more powerful rating has the option of a seven-speed DSG auto transmission)
plus a 1.5 TSI EVO with efficiency-boosting active cylinder deactivation (it
can run on just two of its four cylinders to save fuel when it's safe to do).
The diesel is a 1.6 TDI with 95Ps and with it you get the choice of stirring
a six-speed gearbox manually or letting a DSG auto transmission do the gear-changing
been driving the turbocharged 113bhp (115PS) petrol-drinking 1.0-litre engine
and while it's only got three cylinders it more than makes up for that by being
enjoyably game its 147lb ft of torque helps a lot too. Some three-cylinder
engines can be rather too vocal but the 999cc unit powering the Arona, while
not absolutely as quiet as a mouse, is impressively muted; pedal to the metal
you'll hear its likeable three-pot 'thrum', but even then it remains smooth.
Being an eager-beaver when it comes to revving, it always feels keen to race
forwards and the clean clutch action and easily slotted gear lever make for
pretty lively performance whether you're fighting your way out of town or enjoying
the less cluttered country roads.
with a perfectly accomplished top speed of 113mph and a sub-ten-seconds 0-62mph
figure, the Arona FR also does its bit to save the world courtesy of 114g/km
CO2 emissions. Adding to its 'greenness' is its reasonable thirst for unleaded
which, officially, is 43.5-47.1 mpg on the combined cycle but which, we're pleased
to report, is borne out in real-life a week's hard driving saw
a recorded 43.7mpg. Most ordinary Joes should be seeing 45-50mpg.
spec Arona models gain a sportier suspension set-up along with adaptive dampers
and multiple drive settings: Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual. There's a stop/start
system (than can be switched on and off) doing its bit for maximising economy
whichever mode you're driving in.
when it comes to boots
the Arona has a
big un and in this
class its 400-litre luggage
bay is positively XXL.
Better still its easily
accessed via a generous
And a dual-height boot
floor boosts versatility by
adding extra inches of
height to what is notably
more family car than
Keen drivers will be no doubt be quick to select the firmed-up Sport setting
which really does give your driving an edge and makes the easy-to-place Arona
feel decidedly sharper. Naturally the raised driving position and compact SUV
dimensions, well-managed body lean, and direct steering all also contribute
to the sense of agility that makes the Arona fun to drive with some verve. Strong
brakes add a persuasive, and essential, counterpoint!
As mentioned earlier, when it comes to boots the Arona has a big 'un
and in this class its 400-litre luggage bay is positively XXL. Better still
it's easily accessed via a generous tailgate opening with a lift-up rear parcel
shelf to keep the contents private. A dual-height boot floor boosts versatility
by adding an extra four inches of height to what is more 'family car' than 'supermini'
you want more cargo room you have two options: you can either fold down the
40:60-split rear backrests to open up an extended loadbay or hitch up
a trailer the FR will happily haul a braked maximum of 1,200kg.
So, the ultimate test: would we spend our own money on a SEAT Arona? In a word,
Yes! Why? Because it does so many things so well. In turboed three-pot petrol
guise it's also fun to drive and even if you don't spare the horses it still
manages to keep your fuel bills down. In the compact crossover galaxy, it shines
very brightly! ~ MotorBar
SEAT Arona FR 1.0 TSI 115PS
Maximum speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds | Test Average: 43.7mpg
Power: 113bhp | Torque: 147lb ft | CO2: 114g/km