mReview: SEAT Arona - Substance Without Fuss

Published by on . Updated on 4 Jan 2022
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In recent years, SEAT has cemented itself as a maker of well-equipped, well-sorted vehicles, positioned in a more wallet-friendly area of the market.

The Arona adds itself as another arrow in SEAT's quiver, further bolstering the Spanish marque’s lineup. 

To get the obvious out of the way first, the SEAT Arona is a product of the Volkswagen-Audi Group (VAG) parts bin. But as you’ll see in a bit, that’s hardly a bad thing.

This is because SEAT is now in the custody of the Volkswagen-Audi Group (VAG), and being able to take parts that are already tested and proven means SEAT doesn’t need to spend extra money developing new parts; ergo they can sell their cars for less.

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While many of the internals may be carried over from elsewhere, SEAT has put its own body shape on the Arona and for a compact SUV, it’s a great looking body. 

Especially on the FR trim level (which stands for Formula Racing), where you get larger 18” rims, FR badges on the outside, and chrome roof rails. The lights are LED front and rear as well.

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The first major internal building block of the Arona is its powertrain. The engine is a one-litre, three-cylinder EcoTSI out of the Polo that makes 114hp and a healthy 200Nm of torque. 

Couple that with the DSG dual-clutch box and you get a car with fairly decent poke that belies its meagre engine size.

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Of course, it’s not rapid, with the century sprint taken care of in 10 seconds, but in everyday scenarios, such as travelling through traffic or on the highway, the beefy powerband and quick shifts are more than sufficient for the average joe.

The Arona handles just as you would expect a compact SUV to handle, that is with some body roll in the corners but a comfortable, uneventful ride everywhere else. 

You don’t even have to drive it yourself if you don’t want to, the Arona comes with adaptive cruise control so you can just activate that and let the SEAT Arona drive itself quietly and economically to your destination.

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Having such a small engine means that fuel economy is one of the big highlights of the Arona. We achieved 14km/l through our testing but that was with copious amounts of both idling and wide-open throttle. 

If you were to drive like a normal person, you should definitely be able to get way more fuel mileage than we did, with SEAT claiming 20km/l instead.

Occupants in the Arona are greeted with a very generous serving of all kinds of plastic across the dashboard, door trim, steering wheel, and just about everywhere else.

 As far as we can see, the only leather in the car is the shift boot and we aren't sure if that’s even real leather. 

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The seats are also fabric but on the FR trim that our test car came in, they did get a little design on them reminiscent of the Ralliart logo. 

There’s plenty of legroom and space upfront. The room in the back, while not excellent, isn’t half bad either. Interestingly enough, the Arona comes with the darkest window tint we have ever seen on a test car. In fact, we were surprised they were actually legal. Yes, they were that dark

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Now back to the VAG parts bin, that’s where the Arona has really set itself apart from other competitors that don’t have the VAG looking after them. 

The Arona has the switchgear, all the buttons, an 8” centre touchscreen infotainment display, and the best one of them all, the fully digital gauge cluster.

The infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the USB Type C ports in the centre console which is a great additional modern touch in the Arona. 

That digital gauge cluster is exactly what you get in Audis and VWs these days and it’s fantastic. 

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It’s configurable to display whatever you want in three different styles and is in our opinion, one of if not the best gauge clusters out there right now.

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The tech fest doesn’t end there. If the adaptive cruise control wasn’t enough for you or if you’re afraid of parallel parking, don’t worry because the Arona can do it for you. 

SEAT has also given the Arona the Parking Assist feature as well!

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Overall, while the Arona is far from the last word in luxury, it more than makes up for it with solid features, a great drivetrain, and its affordable entry price. 

Unless you absolutely need a leather interior or heated seats, you’ll be hard-pressed to see that the Arona is anything but a very safe bet.

Find out more about the SEAT Arona here. If you think the Arona is worthy of our Car Of The Year, vote for it here!


S$115,999 (inclusive of COE)

VES Banding: A2

Engine: 1.0 litre Inline 3-cylinder engine

Power: 114 bhp

Torque: 200 Nm

Fuel Consumption: 20 km/l

0-100km/h: 10 Seconds

Drivetrain: 7 Speed DSG; Front-Wheel Drive

Brakes: Disc Brakes

Wheelbase: 2,566 mm

Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,138 mm x 1,780 mm x 1,552 mm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 40 litres

Boot Capacity: 400 litres

Keyless Entry

Electric front seats

Digital cluster

Photo Credit: ACube Creative (@weareacube)

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