Seat Arona: Jacked-up Ibiza joins the SUV fray
THE long list of SUVs, crossovers and jacked-up hatchbacks has grown even longer thanks to the arrival of this offering from Seat.
Essentially a high-rise version of the new Ibiza hatch, the new car - named the Arona - will go up against rivals such as the Renault Captur, Peugeot 2008, Mazda CX-3 and Nissan Juke.
It is 8cm longer than the new Ibiza and 10cm taller. The growth spurt frees up more headroom and bestows the Arona with a large boot of 400 litres' capacity. The driver's seat is 5cm higher than that found in the Ibiza.
It looks to be a handsome, if conservative, and well proportioned little thing, exactly like a mini-me version of the Ateca. Seat will launch a larger SUV next year, spun off the same platform as the Skoda Kodiaq.
The Arona is part of a product blitz from Seat which will see it have three SUVs in its range, thus allowing it to tap into a part of the market that now represents almost one in every three new cars registered in Europe.
Judging from Seat's own description, the Arona is all the car anyone could ever need, breathlessly describing it as being "designed for drivers looking for a sense of excitement, distinction and functionality" and "people who know that age is just a number, not an outlook on life".
"This is a car that fits their lifestyle, that works in both the city and the countryside, that is loaded with technology and that is comfortable, spacious, safe, dynamic and all-purpose," says Seat.
"It is a car that's easy to get in and out of, and if that weren't enough, a car in which your luggage can fit easily with no hassle whatsoever."
Aside from the cringeworthy tone of Seat's comments, the Arona ought to be a solid contender.
The usual wide range of VW Group engines, gearboxes and technology will be available, and it will no doubt be competitively priced to help it make an impact in an increasingly crowded part of the market.
The Arona is due to go on sale in October, with the first cars reaching customers before the end of the year.