SEAT Arona Review 2024

SEAT Arona At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Stylish looks, generous equipment levels and punchy petrol engines mean the SEAT Arona is one of the best small crossovers you can buy. A pretty hefty update in 2021 means it remains competitive against the new Ford Puma and Nissan Juke.

+Smooth and comfortable motorway cruiser. Excellent in town with the 1.0 TSI petrol engine. All models are well-equipped as standard. Improved interior on later models.

-Limited engine line-up from 2021. Seating position isn't much higher than a SEAT Ibiza.

Insurance Groups are between 12–18
On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure

The SEAT Arona is proof that bigger isn't automatically better when it comes to crossovers. More comfortable, practical and desirable than the majority of its rivals, the Arona is one of the best all-rounders in the small SUV market, while its excellent range of petrol engines make it a great choice for those who want to avoid diesel. Discover all in our SEAT Arona review.

Despite the visual similarities with the Ateca, the SEAT Arona doesn't actually share any of its major components with SEAT's medium size SUV; it's actually based on the same platform as the fourth-gen Ibiza. And that's good news for those who value comfort and value over performance and handling.

The Arona is smooth and predictable to drive, while the ride quality is also excellent. Even sportier models on firm suspension and 18-inch wheels feel comfortable on rough roads. The only area of annoyance is the abundance of wind noise; fit the optional roof rails and the problem becomes quite noticeable at motorway speeds. 

That said, the SEAT Arona gets all the fundamentals right. In terms of size, it's similar to the Juke and Captur, (measuring 4138mm long and 1780mm wide) but the lack of a fancy sliding rear bench means boot space is limited to 400 litres. That's more than you get in a Volkswagen Golf, though, while there's plenty of head and legroom to transport two adults in the rear seats over a long journey in comfort.  

The SEAT Arona works best with petrol-power, with the star of the show being the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI. Not only is it smooth and hushed on the motorway, but it also promises an official 57.6mpg which means you no longer need to default for diesel when it comes to low fuel costs. Most engines are offered with a manual or DSG automatic transmissions. 

While it might seem quite expensive against its rivals, the Arona comes with a lot of equipment as standard. Even basic SE models get 17-inch alloy wheels, two-tone metallic paint, LED daytime running lights and a basic colour touchscreen. SE Technology trim adds parking sensors and a larger infotainment display, along with navigation and full link connectivity for a mobile phone. Only those who want sporty styling or plush interiors will need to spend more on FR or Xcellence spec. 

List price aside, we think the Arona is one of the best all-rounder compact crossovers. More comfortable than the Captur and more practical than the Juke, SEAT's second crossover is another success story for the Volkswagen-backed carmaker. In fact, to find a genuine rival, you have to look towards the T-Roc. However, badge snobbery aside, we think the SEAT wins on value every time. 

We lived with an Arona for six months - find out how we got on with it in our SEAT Arona long term test. Looking for a second opinion? Why not read heycar's SEAT Arona review.  

Ask Honest John

Are SEAT Arona models with with DSG reliable?

"I am considering buying an Arona automatic, but concerned that is has a DSG gearbox. Should I be worried?"
You can read more about the DSG gearbox and potential problems in our guide here: but in brief, the dry-clutch DQ200 gearbox tends to be the most problematic which is fitted to VW Group cars with engines under 2.0-litres. However, the reliability of these units has improved over the years, so more recent models such as the Arona are less likely to be experience issues. In terms of the driving experience the DSG is as good as any other dual-clutch transmission, with fast and smooth gearchanges. No vehicle comes with a guarantee of a trouble-free ownership experience, so ultimately it comes down to a matter of personal choice. If you remain unsure about DSG reliability you may wish to consider an alternative for peace of mind.
Answered by David Ross

Should I change the cambelt on my SEAT when I change the water pump?

"My 2019 SEAT Arona (18000 miles) water pump is leaking. When I get it replaced should I do the the timing belt at the same time? I have been quoted £899 is this reasonable?"
The cambelt should be changed at five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first, so yes we would have the belt changed at the same time. That quote does seem high, we would expect it to be around £600.
Answered by Alan Ross

I need a small, automatic SUV - what would you suggest?

"We have an old BMW 330i and a newer Suzuki Ignis and are looking to replace both with one car that my wife can park easily in town but also can undertake infrequent longer journeys up the motorway with our dog. We like Suzuki both for reliability and have an excellent local dealer so have considered the Vitara but have heard the automatic box is awful. Can you comment on the Vitara automatic and suggest alternatives? Budget is up to around £25K."
Given that you need something compact for easy parking as well as room for your dog and motorway comfort, we would suggest a small SUV like the SEAT Arona or the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, both of which meet these requirements and are available with an automatic gearbox. The Suzuki Vitara was the Honest John Awards Small Crossover of the year in 2019, but the auto option uses an automated manual gearbox rather than a full automatic. You may want to try it for yourself first, but if an auto is a must-have we would look to an alternative.
Answered by David Ross

I need a replacement for my Citroen C3 Picasso - what should I buy?

"I have to replace my much-loved Citroen C3 Picasso with something maybe three to five years old. I love the Picasso's high driving position, its spaciousness, its big windows and its comfort. What do you suggest?"
Given you were such a fan of your Citroen C3 Picasso, we'd suggest going for its successor - the C3 Aircross. It has a similar upright body to the Picasso but with the higher-riding stance of a crossover, so it retains the high driving position you want. It's also spacious inside for a relatively compact car and has a comfortable cabin. The driving experience is also biased towards comfort rather than sporty handling. As an alternative, take a look at the SEAT Arona, which has a similar high driving position with a small footprint but offers the best level of comfort in the class.
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a SEAT Arona cost?