The supermini SUV is the latest vehicle sector manufacturers are busy trying to conquer. Buyers love them, so we will be running a new SEAT Arona for the next six months to see what all the fuss is about.
At a glance, the Arona looks remarkably like our previous SEAT Ibiza. This is because it sits on the same platform – but don’t think of it as merely an Ibiza with a raised ride height; the Arona is slightly longer and taller than its supermini stablemate, and comes with more luggage space.
We’ve gone for sporty FR spec, which brings stiffer suspension and pumped-up styling. Inside, there’s a standard-fit eight-inch touchscreen that includes smartphone integration. In fact, the SEAT’s tech is something I’m keen to investigate later on, because many supermini SUVs are targeted at young buyers who prioritise such features.
Another priority for young drivers like me is economy. That’s why Auto Express has opted for the frugal 113bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol that SEAT claims will return 57.6mpg. Over the next few months, I’m keen to see how close to this I can get; so far, I’m on 47.7mpg.
The taller ride height suits me well; it means I don’t have to worry about the potholes and stretches of broken tarmac troubling the roads of south-west London where I live. The small dimensions make the SEAT easy to park, too. The only downside I’ve noticed is the brakes. They feel quite grabby around town, but I’m hoping this will soon calm down.
Over time I’m keen to find out how practical the SEAT is, and I aim to take it on a few long trips to Wales. The more focused suspension set-up should lend itself well to the twisty roads there, while I’m hoping the 400-litre boot will be big enough for all my gear. I’m also curious to see how the Arona tackles motorways, as I’ll be using it a lot covering magazine features. The 1.0-litre engine feels nippy enough in the city, but I’m keen to find out how refined the car is at higher speeds.
One plus I’ve already noticed is the six-speed gearbox. It’s something that should make the car more refined than some of its rivals that come equipped with a five-ratio box as standard.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three penalty points.