Volkswagen’s direct-injection 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine doesn’t lend the Arona what you might typically describe as ‘performance’, but it spins smoothly and its three cylinders provide enough muscle for it to be considered fit for purpose.
In fact, it’s a pleasant-sounding and nicely buoyant powerplant – a hallmark of tri-cylinder engines – so long as you never ask too much of it.
Thankfully, peak torque of 129lb ft arrives satisfactorily low, at 2000rpm, allowing you to short-shift up through the gears without needing to stray too far towards the 6000rpm redline, where the engine’s timbre becomes noticeably coarse.
The action of the five-speed manual transmission, meanwhile, is neat enough, its lightweight throw feeling neither overly long nor short but never really encouraging the driver to engage with it beyond keeping the engine on the boil.
The big question, of course, is whether you’d be better off with a more powerful variant than the base 1.0-litre Arona.
Our 94bhp test car recorded a 0-60mph time of 10.5sec, which aligns with an official 0-62mph of 11.2sec, and demonstrated respectable flexibility with a 30-70mph time of 10.7sec.