You may or may not be the sort of driver who is suggestible to the idea of trading in a hatchback for a compact crossover – but even if you’re not, you can hardly blame a car maker for selling one at the moment.

By Seat’s estimation, the global market for supermini-based pseudo-SUVs is four times as large today as it was even as recently as 2015 – and it’s expected to continue to grow just as quickly for years to come.

For those reasons alone, any car manufacturer whose business depends even vaguely on volume and market share would need a very good reason not to introduce a car such as the subject of this road test: the Seat Arona.

And that’s why so many have. In a segment where the likes of Renault, Nissan, Peugeot, Mazda, Ford and others are already represented, we’ve seen the likes of the Citroën C3 Aircross, MG ZS, Vauxhall Crossland X, Kia Stonic and Hyundai Kona all join the party in the past few months alone. Blink and you’ll have missed at least one of them.

At times like these, one full Autocar road test per issue doesn’t seem like nearly enough to stand the pace.

But although we could easily devote a segment to another new jacked-up supermini every week for the rest of 2017 and still have a few left over for the new year, you can rest assured that we’re not going to.

The Arona impressed us more than most of its new and established rivals when we first drove it and, between the Ibiza, Ateca and Leon, its maker is also on a bit of a roll at present.

And so, while one or two of its newbie competitors may still get a road-test workout before they’re a very common sight on UK roads, we’re paying the Martorell-based marque the compliment its run of form merits and turning to the Seat first.

So has this blossoming Spanish industry player got another class-leading crossover on its hands? This road test will answer that question and more besides.

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