The SUV market is a saturated one with a new crossover from manufacturers coming to market almost every month, or even week at this stage. So to keep this up, I attended the SEAT Arona launch into Ireland this week in Laois. From launch, the new B-Segment SUV will be available with both petrol and diesel engines.
The Arona starts from €17,995 for the 95hp 1.0TSI in S trim and extends to €24,215 for the 1.0TSI 115hp in XCELLENCE trim with a 7-speed DSG. I drove the 1.0TSI 115hp with a 6-speed manual at launch. The 1.6TDI 95hp sits in the middle ground starting at €20,295 in S trim.
As this is a first drive, there is only so much we can say from our first impressions. However, based on this, they are good. The Arona is built on the Ibiza platform so is comparable to the Ibiza in terms of driving style. It feels small and nimble around the country roads of Laois. The front-wheel drive drivetrain coped well with the muddy, lanes which I found myself venturing down. The 115hp pulled well and didn’t feel too sluggish. There will also be an added 1.5TSI arriving in the Arona early next year bringing the power up to 150hp.
The Arona is comparable in terms of space to the Ibiza, too. The boot space is equated to 400l and from a first look, it’s quite compact. It has two levels, so the floor can be dropped to increase the depth. As for the rear, with the seat in my driving position, my 6-foot-self struggled for leg room but headroom was plentiful.
On the S, the entry level trim, front assist, black roof rails, double floor in boot, multifunctional steering wheel and a 5" Infotainment system comes as standard. Jumping up two levels, to the car we drove, 16" DESIGN alloys, bi-coloured roof, cruise control, tiredness recognition, park assist, rear view camera and alcantara interior comes as standard on XCELLENCE.
SEAT reckons that the SE trim will account for 70% and hope that the 1.0TSI 115hp will be the bulk of sellers for the Arona range. This is an overcrowded segment with customers between both petrol and diesel. SEAT Ireland predict that 47% of buyers will opt for diesel and 53% for petrol. The introduction of the 1.5TSI, exclusive to the FR trim, might entice some buyers looking for something a little more sporty.
Until we get a full, weeklong test drive with the car, we are not going to jump to conclusions. Although, from first impressions I can see the Arona being accepted into the segment with open arms.