The Seat Arona is a small SUV that will go on sale later this year, priced from around £15,000. We take a look at how it compares with the bigger Seat Ateca
*** Note : £1 =$1.30
Until last year, the closest Seat had come to building an SUV was the Altea Freetrack – a car that was little more than a jacked-up people carrier fitted with ugly unpainted bumpers.
However, when the Spanish brand did finally take the plunge, it gave us the class-leading Ateca. And now it’s following that up with a second SUV, called the Arona.
Named after a municipality on the island of Tenerife, this new car is smaller than the Ateca, using the platform of the latest Ibiza hatchback. So, while the Ateca is a rival to the Nissan Qashqai, the Arona will compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
Just how different are these two Seat SUVs, though? To find out, we’re comparing Arona and Ateca side by side.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – styling
The Arona and Ateca are clearly related, but there’s also a lot of Ibiza in the new model’s styling; in particular the triangular headlights and slashes running down the sides of the car.
On the other hand, the way the silver trim below the side windows continues through the rear pillars, dividing the body from the contrasting roof, is unique to the Arona. These pillars feature an ‘X’ motif to reflect the fact that the Arona is a ‘crossover’, blending 4×4 looks with hatchback running costs.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – engines and driving
The Arona will be available with three turbocharged petrol engines: 94bhp and 113bhp versions of a 1.0-litre motor and a new 148bhp 1.5-litre unit that can shut down two of its four cylinders during gentle driving to minimise fuel consumption and emissions.
There will also be 94bhp and 113bhp 1.6-litre diesels, but our experience of the Ibiza suggests the 113bhp petrol should be all most people need. By contrast, this engine feels a little underpowered in the bigger, heavier Ateca.
Unlike that car, the Arona won’t come with the option of four-wheel drive, but a host of driver aids will be offered, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and a park assistance system that helps with parallel and angled parking by taking care of the steering for you.
We’d be surprised if the Arona wasn’t one of the sportiest cars in its class, because most of the other models in the current Seat range – including the Ateca – offer involving, agile handling.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – interior
While the exterior of the Arona borrows elements from the Ibiza, the interior has been lifted from it wholesale. That means hard plastics, but everything should feel sturdily assembled and there willl be some brightly coloured trim options.
This is a different approach to the one taken with the Ateca, which sticks with sombre colours but features an appealing soft-touch upper dashboard befitting its higher starting price.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – infotainment and equipment
Both cars feature touchscreen infotainment systems with logical menus and quick responses. And in both, the screen grows from 5.0in to 8.0in on higher-spec models.
The Ateca does have the edge for usability, because it has proper shortcut buttons that can be operated by feel alone, whereas the Arona swaps these for touch-sensitive panels that look smarter but force you to take your eyes off the road.
However, like the Ateca, the Arona will be available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, even if Seat has yet to reveal which models will get it as standard.
Seat will also offer an optional Beats stereo upgrade that brings six premium speakers, a 300W, eight-channel amplifier and a subwoofer in the boot.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – space and practicality
We have yet to sit in the back of the Arona, but given that the Ibiza is one of the roomiest small cars you can buy, with enough space to keep six-footers happy, the signs are encouraging.
That said, the Ateca will obviously remain the better family car, thanks to its larger dimensions; indeed, few small SUVs are as practical.
Seat Arona vs Seat Ateca – costs
The Ateca undercuts most of its rivals, with a starting price of £18,340, and we expect the Arona to be similarly competitive.
Given that the Juke and Captur cost from £15,355 and £16,786 respectively, an entry-level price of around £15,000 seems likely. That would make the Arona around £1900 more than an equivalent Ibiza.
Upgrading to the more powerful 1.0-litre petrol engine and the mid-level SE Technology trim is likely to cost you about £17,000, while a 1.5-litre petrol model in top spec could have a price of more than £20,000.