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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my Arona for six months and overall a good car. I went for an SE Lux with the 1.6 115 diesel engine. The engine has loosened up nicely as the miles have gone on and average fuel consumption is around 55-60mpg taking in urban and motorway driving. It certainly has enough pull and in gear acceleration is excellent as is low down torque with max torque from 1500-3200 which interestingly is not far off the 1.5 Evo at 1500-3500. Front end is heavier due to the diesel engine but also makes the car feel slightly more planted on the road than the petrol cars at the same time the derv does not want to change direction as quickly as the petrol equipped cars either.

Compared to my previous FL Leon 1.2TSi SE Dynamic the engine is louder and usual derv rattle. The 1.2 TSI was almost silent in operation compared to the diesel. However, the Arona is fun to drive and the torque makes it quite fun on a b road blast and gives excellent overtaking characteristics. Suspension soaks up the bumps well and even on standard suspension there is very little roll in corners making it such a fun drive. Spec wise SE Lux is great KESSY I am not fussed about other than could we have the stop start button position changed for RHD? Our previous Tiguan had it change from left to right for RHD cars. Beats audio is worthwhile, ACC makes motorway journeys a breeze and heated seats are now being used and work well. Would have liked the option of climate control but then SE Lux would be stepping into Xcellence territory..

My main issue overall with the Arona is build quality. It feels very much like a car built to a price and the interior is a step down from my Leon which was a cheaper car. I will start with the hard-scratchy door cards which only get a cloth insert on higher trim levels. Internal door handles also feel cheap and should have been upgraded for the Arona given its price point. It took me nearly an hour to wrap front and rear door handles. SEAT should have either changed them to gloss black or added a rubberised coating. FR and above have the faux leather added to dash inserts which again give a more premium feel. SE should be gloss black or faux leather not the silver from the Ibiza S and SE trim.

Rear door cards actually have a cheaper/thinner plastic than the front door cards after removing them to add sound dampening material. Door cards front and rear are higher quality on the Leon and the Arona should have taken some of those elements to give a more premium feel compared with a bottom of the range Ibiza. I would have liked to have seen a foam insert which would have greatly aided in reducing interior noise and improved the sound quality of the audio system.

I have Beat's audio which is really good - after adding in some sound dampening it has shown how good it truly is. Hard plastics which vibrate just muddy the sound IMO.

I still love the Arona looks and the two-tone paint; alloy wheels are just the right size for our pot holed roads and easy to clean. The star is the 8" infotainment screen with a vibrant and clear display which is of a higher quality than in the Leon and works well and reacts quickly. I would have liked a colour MFD instead of the monochrome MFD in between the dials. The digital cockpit option (across the range in Europe) does solve that issue however.

Would I buy another Arona? The answer has to be a no, Ateca and Leon yes as they feel better made and my wife having just taken delivery of a Grandland X, even Vauxhall has stepped up its interior quality in fact a previous Corsa E, I owned had a higher quality dash than the Arona. With VW on the T-Roc and SEAT on the Ibiza and Arona they have made an assumption about interior look and feel. Both look great inside and out but feel poor in places interior wise due to too much hard plastic. Harsh, but having gone around loads of cars until my wife plummeted for the Grandland X, due to availability, looks, interior and engine.

I found both VW and SEAT had slipped back with some cars in their range and the likes of Vauxhall moved forward. Too much cost cutting to hit profit and price points possibly??? The Arona should match Leon interior quality and T-Roc the Golf, not paying for a small SUV but having interior quality from a supermini paying small hatchback prices. Both only require small touches that would not cost £££ but make a real difference to quality and refinement.

My top tips are to wrap interior handles and add sound dampening to front doors as a minimum. As both simple mods really do transform the car to feel of a higher quality, better sound and refinement. If you feel the need to. Door cards don't sound so hollow to the touch, no echo from central locking unlock/lock even doors close with a more solid sounding 'thunk.'

Long post, but hopefully it may help weigh up options.
 

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Very good post and echo's my views entirely and also a lot of others
Not just VW and Seats small SUV read the reports on the Audi Q2 same complaints about trim downgraded from Q3
 

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Good informative update Bob, hang in with SEAT, you never know- that may have picked up on your improvements and build them into v2
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cap boiler said:
Good informative update Bob, hang in with SEAT, you never know- that may have picked up on your improvements and build them into v2
I have had various SEAT's over the years from a MK1 Leon Cupra which was ace through two FR MK2s and a MK3. Agree totally that they have had ups and downs (MK3 Toledo, Coroboa and Altea) fingers crossed - the Leon MK4 may even get my money next time :mrgreen:
 

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Thanks Cyberbob, very informative message. We're taking delivery this month of the same model, so looking forward to seeing if our experiences will match yours.
 

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Cyberbob did a great review at 6 months, so thought I would add one after 12 months

Overall the Arona is great, the 1.0tsi engine matched to the DSG gearbox is wonderful The car size suits us perfectly (2 adults + teenager + dog), loads of space, good driving position, but not so big that parking is a pain. And at the time I bought it got over £3k off (but had to wait nearly 5 months for it).

Seats are very comfortable (my Xcelence Lux has the Alcantara / Leather) and we specifically chose this because my wife has a hip problem. I like the leather look dash. Blind spot monitor is great idea, having discovered how to use ACC (set it to 76mph, let car slow itself down if catch something up, until you overtake, works brilliantly) It is well equipped, has never gone wrong.

So you might be thinking its perfect, but it is not 100%. There is definitely some penny pinching, lack of rear interior light is stupid, the sound insulation could be better, doesn't have heated seats (now on MY20 cars), or heated windscreen (not available). Also a bit dark inside as someone decided the headlining should be dark to make it classy, a lighter colour would have been better.

Had we been able to get the comfort / easy access seats on a lower spec would have had that instead, don't really like Kessy (our other car has standard remote key and as I use that at least 4 times a week to walk dog, find it easier, as often get key out for Arona out of habit), have to get key out of pocket to open my front door, or use the fob on door at work so not as if not having it handy helps. The 18 inch wheels are vanity over comfort and stupid idea as Surrey roads are potholed and rutted, and comfort would be even better on 55 or 60 sidewall tyres on smaller rims. The (summer) tyres that factory fitted, (Pirelli P7) leave a lot to be desired in cold UK rain (but are great in summer in dry), and as virtually no-one in UK switches to winter tyres were a bad choice for UK, should have been all-seasons. The 215 / 45 R18 size are rare and expensive, hope I never need a replacement in a hurry, another negative for the silly 18 inch wheels.

Decided to have a service done at just over 10k miles and one year even though indicator would allow another 8k miles or 24 months. Only time will tell if that was sensible, but I work on assumption that a 115bhp engine that is only 1 litre is fairly highly stressed and stretching the service intervals (or at least not changing the oil) might result in premature wear. I would like it still to be running trouble free in 10 years time. However this did reveal that there are a number of geographical gaps in the Seat service network, 40+ minutes (each way) to nearest dealer isn't great. Seat used to have 3 dealers nearer to me, all closed without a replacement.

Would I buy another one ? There is a lot to like and it is good value, some of the gadgets are pointless (does anyone regularly use 4 drive modes?). If Seat tweak the spec and fix some of the above then yes, if they don't then probably not.
 

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Thanks Snowdaddy, excellent review and I agree with pretty much all you said. I picked mine up in December and was lucky that it had the heated seats but was glad they weren't leather (which whilst not as bad as the old PVC, still stick to me when it's hot!) . Keyless entry I had got used to in my previous car, so I quite like it.

Generally, I love driving this car. However at the back of my mind I will always have the episode a month or so back where I lost all power when driving along. For all the many virtues of my Arona, that incident will make me think twice about buying another SEAT.
 
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