Apparently, the SUV market is four times larger today than it was in 2015. By any standards that is quite a market increase and, as always happen, this will explode and we will turn away from them but for the time being, we are awash with them and on we go.
SEAT’s new offering is the Arona. My review car came with a miserly 1.0-litre engine that always makes my heart sink as a week is a long time with an engine that is smaller than my lawnmower. But there comes the shock - this little 94bhp, direct injection three-cylinder engine is a little masterpiece. It flies around town with a rasping fart emanating from the tailpipe in the vein of the Fiat 500, that is really quite good fun. On the motorway, it is what it is - an underpowered little town car but just keep it in town. For those quaint little Italian and French towns, it would be ideal. My 94bhp test car recorded a 0-60mph time of 10.5sec, and demonstrated respectable flexibility with a 30-70mph time of 10.7sec. Weighting in at 1,200kg helps enormously of course.
The more potent, 113bhp 1.0-litre TSI Arona claims 10.0sec to 62mph and also gets a sixth ratio for its manual transmission and a seventh if you go for the dual-clutch DSG alternative. Either would be useful if you plan on undertaking longer journeys, although you’ll have to opt for the more expensive FR trim to even get the choice.
For a small car this is surprisingly capacious and the boot has a height adjustable floor to ease the loading of awkward loads and that really can help.
The entry-level Arona gets a 5.0in touchscreen, although upgrading to SE Technology trim introduces a rather elegant 8.0in alternative with factory navigation. The upgraded system is called Media System Plus and gives you voice control functionality, two USB inputs and both 3.5mm minijack aux-in and SD card inputs. It is all very easy to use and the wireless phone-charging pad is great once you work it out.
The drive is good with surprisingly little body roll and the occupants are well isolated from the world outside. The steering is a tad lifeless or one might say overly assisted and therefore one loses the feel through the wheel but it has to be said that the vast majority of buyers will care little as this is not the reason to buy such a car. They tend to be purchased for space, economy, reliability and residual value and therefore this hits that firmly on the head.
Ok, l am done with SUVs for a while and what’s that, McLaren want to deliver me a 720S on Monday - oh, go on then. Normal service will shortly be resumed.
Model tested: 1.0-litre TSl FR Sport
Performance: 0-60mph 10.5 seconds
Economy: 57.6 combined
Price from: £16,750