SEAT Arona SUV - Interior & comfort
The SEAT Arona is well designed and generously equipped inside, but lacks a luxury feel
The pre-facelift Arona felt very much in keeping with SEAT's latest way of doing things; it was well built, modern and functional, rather than hugely stylish or innovative. This has changed somewhat for the updated car, thanks to a new interior with more upmarket materials and a major tech upgrade.
Ride quality is generally comfortable, but the FR and FR Sport are noticeably firmer than other models. Even on 17-inch wheels, its sporty suspension causes shudders inside the car when driving on rough road surfaces, and pothole shocks can be quite violent. Its wider tyres contribute more road noise at speed, though, and the smaller wheels are more comfortable to travel on at motorway speeds.
SEAT Arona dashboard
The Arona's interior design closely follows that of the Ibiza, which is cleanly laid out and high-quality, with more attractive finishes than before and fewer hard surfaces.
It's easy to live with too because the new infotainment screens are mounted higher. The heating controls remain entirely separate, so you can adjust the air-conditioning without leaving the map page. The 9.2-inch display is a big upgrade for the facelifted Arona, with clear graphics and intuitive menus. Some may find it odd its hot keys aren't illuminated at night but they are repeated along the bottom of the screen.
The interior is finished with a number of different textured surfaces that look expensive and gain the soft-touch materials also found in certain rivals. There are some contrasting trim pieces that brighten the mood a little, along with LED ambient lighting for the air vents. The FR Sport introduces a more appealing 'Microsuede' upholstery, which looks and feels more expensive than the standard cloth fabric.
In a first for a small crossover, SEAT’s optional Digital Cockpit swaps the standard gauges for a digital instrument 10.25-inch display with Classic, Digital and Dynamic views. These prioritise graphical gauges, the sat nav and vehicle settings respectively. Get a call over Bluetooth and it appears in a ‘pop-up’.
Nobody will buy an Arona and complain of a shortage of standard equipment. Although technically the entry-level model, the SE is far from basic – its exterior is enlivened by standard metallic paint, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights, while air-conditioning, all-round electric windows and leather touches grace the interior.
Infotainment is taken care of by an 8.25-inch colour touchscreen, which controls the DAB radio, aux-in and USB inputs, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. This screen is replaced by a 9.2-inch version on the SE Technology, supporting sat nav with 3D mapping, voice control and online updates. This upgrade also gets you rear parking sensors.
Additional style is one incentive for Arona FR buyers – its 'Dynamic' alloy wheels, tinted rear windows and twin exhaust pipes are reflected by a sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel, sculpted front seats and ambient interior lighting in a range of user-selectable colours. You can also play with SEAT's 'Drive Profile', which enables you to adjust the car's response through four modes (Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual), while the suspension is more firmly set up for greater cornering agility.
There's also a more powerful braking system including rear disc brakes, which paves the way for the more powerful 1.5-litre engine the FR offers as an option. FR Sport tops all this with 18-inch wheels, black Alcantara suede upholstery, SEAT’s digital instrument display and heated front seats.
The Xperience trim has a less sporty emphasis, but otherwise matches the FR specification and adds clever interior storage solutions, keyless entry and go, as well as safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. An upgrade to Xperience Lux adds 18-inch alloy wheels, Microsuede upholstery, front parking sensors, a rear-view camera and parking assistance.