Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Seat Arona
With sharp looks, keen handling and impressive practicality, the Arona could be the all-rounder you're searching for

First impressions often endure, so you might already have formed your own view of the Seat Arona before it became more widely available (and even better value) as a used car. But allow us to influence you with our own first impressions, made at its Autocar road test debut in 2017: the Arona “goes straight to the top of an ever-growing class. No rival balances practicality and panache quite like it,” we concluded. 

Part of the reason for its success is that it shares much of its mechanical make-up with the fun and frugal Seat Ibiza supermini, including its engines. A 1.0 TSI petrol kicks off the range with 94bhp, but there is also a 114bhp version that comes with either a sixspeed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. Alternatively, you can opt for a 1.5 TSI Evo petrol engine with a very healthy 148bhp, or 1.6-litre diesels in 94bhp and 114bhp forms. 

The 1.0 TSI and 1.5 TSI turbo petrol engines return remarkably similar fuel economy, mainly because the 1.5 has cylinder deactivation technology. It works exceptionally well, with the 1.5 officially averaging 55.4mpg. The 1.0 is better but only slightly: the 94bhp version returns 57.6mpg. In 2021, the diesels were dropped from the range, which then consisted of just the 1.0 TSI 95, the 1.0 TSI 110 and the 1.5 TSI 150. A 2021 facelift also ushered in updated styling and a new, larger infotainment system among other changes.

Seat arona front 

Even so, a pre-facelift entry-level Arona SE can still hold its own, with 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, a DAB radio, a 5.0in infotainment system and automatic emergency braking. An 8.0in infotainment set-up 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. 

This might lead you to think the Arona is an expensive superminisized SUV, but used ones are far from that. Prices start at just under £10,000, which will get you a 2018 SE car with the 1.0 TSI 95 unit. The entry-level 1.6 TDI comes in at around the same money. Even updated 2021 models go for around £17,000 – less than an equivalent Volkswagen T-Cross and Nissan Juke – with pre-facelift cars from that year dipping to around £14,000.


Read our review

Car review

Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?

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Seat arona rear tracking

Like the Ibiza, the Arona’s driving experience is excellent. Aided by its compact footprint and relatively light weight, it can tackle corners with enthusiasm. Its steering is helpfully light at town speeds yet weights up progressively in bends. The ride on 17in wheels and standard suspension is composed and copes well with the worst road imperfections while still feeling relatively sporty. 

Those with families will appreciate the Arona’s boot, which is bigger than a number of its key rivals’. All models have a height-adjustable boot floor as well. As with so much else, the Arona has even the details covered.

Need to know 

The 1.6 TDI diesel is the most efficient Arona, with the 94bhp version officially averaging 70.6mpg and the 114bhp car dropping slightly to 68.9mpg. 

Xcellence trim has a whole host of safety tech such as blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. However, you’ll need the top-of-the-line Xcellence Lux to find a rear-view camera. On facelifted models, these are known as Xperience and Xperience Lux. 

Seat arona interior wheel

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Euro NCAP awarded the Arona a maximum five-star safety rating – the same as its Ibiza sibling. 

Buyer beware 

Wheels: FR Sport models and above come with bigger alloy wheels that are more susceptible to kerb damage, so make sure that no large chunks of metal have been taken out of any of them. 

Servicing: Seat offers fixed prices for servicing and certain maintenance procedures, which may help you to save money on upkeep. At the time of writing, an interim service (every 12 months/10,000 miles) is £209 and a major service (24 months/20,000 miles) is £369.

Seat arona rear seats

Our top spec

SE Technology: SE trim carries plenty of standard kit, but we’d suggest going for SE Technology. Its superior infotainment and rear parking sensors are certainly worth the minimal rise in price

Our pick

1.0 TSI 95 This engine is more than capable of dealing with stop-start city traffic and the odd motorway run. Sure, the 1.5 TSI Evo is fun but you’ll have to spend quite a bit more over a similarly specced 1.0 car to get one.

Wild card

1.0 TSI 110 XPERIENCE Lux: Choosing this Arona means that you’ll be getting a nearly new example with lots of kit, but it will come at a premium: used prices start at more than £20,000.

Oliver Young

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