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Juan Happy Runabout

We could not get enough of this! SEAT’s new Arona might just be the crossover with just the right mix of city-chic styling, ease of drive and fuel sipping ability to attract the younger buyer.
OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
19 Mar 2018
While claiming a lab-tested 20Km/l, we personally feel it could deliver a more practical 15-17Km/l; which is still pretty good
What we like:
Good build quality
Chic styling
Ride comfort
What we dislike:
Engine under normal driving can feel a little lazy
Resonating exhaust drone at low rpms
Start-stop function a little rough

We expected the SEAT to deliver with a good drive, and it did. The Arona gets only one engine choice in Singapore, the high-on-torque 1.0 three-cylinder engine, the same one found in the Volkswagen Golf 1.0 TSi and Audi Q2 1.0.

While it does seem fantastic on paper, the car is tuned for an economical drive, and the gears like to change up earlier. The down side though, is a seemingly lazy drive and there is the drone from the exhaust, which resonates within the cabin at low revs, which can get very annoying. Dip the shifter into “Sport” mode, and the engine does come alive. Gears change up a little later, and response is actually sweet. The 7-speed DSG transmission changes up quickly, and features well-thought through gear ratios, with low and close lower ratios, and upper gears spaced apart, and intended to bring the car quickly to cruising speed. With a maximum of 200Nm on tap, delivery is within a short burst from between 2,000rpm to 3,500rpm, and the transmission does have to make the best out of this. One cannot escape certain downsides to "rightsizing".

While claiming a lab-tested 20Km/l, we personally feel it could deliver a more practical 15-17Km/l; which is still pretty good. Just turn off that automatic start-stop function, the judder from the starting of that 3-cylinder is rather rough.

At 4,138mm in length, and 1,780mm in width, the Arona is easy to live with, making it easy to manoeuvre within tight spaces, while the 5.3m turn radius is tight too.

While it is a crossover, the Arona displays very little roll around the bends, and there is a very positive feel from the steering. Even with a non-independent rear axle, there is a good sense of where the rear is going around the bends, and the car even responds well to weight transfers when cornering.

Our Thoughts

This market segment is indeed becoming extremely crowded with the likes of the 1.0 Hyundai Kona, Toyota C-HR, Nissan’s Qashqai which recently received a middle-of-life facelift, and many more. The Arona is actually a very attractive drive, with all the spoils of Volkswagen’s engineering, while standing out with its unique styling.

Not everything is perfect, and we would have preferred if the drone from the exhaust in normal driving conditions were to be addressed.


Cars in this article
SEAT Arona FR with Keyless and Navi (A) 2018

SEAT Arona FR with Keyless and Navi (A) 2018

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