Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Very easy to get comfortable
  • Good visibility all-round
  • Even sporty FR models ride smoothly

How is the quality and layout?

In case you're wondering, the Arona is named after a town on the Spanish island of Tenerife. But it's more like Torquay than Tenerife inside.

There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it's all just a bit grey and serious. All of the buttons and dials, and even the clutch and gearbox feel solid in a way that other, particularly French cars don't. But there is a little bit of sparkle missing from it all, especially as this is supposed to be a SEAT, and therefore quite fashionable.

It does at least feel grown up, with the dashboard being available in a choice of different colours and materials. The leather with contrast stitching on higher-spec models is particularly nice and tactile.

The dashboard design is identical to that in the SEAT Ibiza, which is a good thing – we like the simple control layout, decent build quality and excellent infotainment set-up of that car. For someone coming to the Arona for the first time, it’s very easy to get used to, with a big touchscreen-based media system that’s simple to use and angled slightly towards the driver so you can operate it easily.

There’s plenty of adjustment in the driver's and passenger seats and the steering wheel, so you can sit as high or low as you like, depending how much you want to feel like you’re driving an SUV on tip-toes. Or not. Finding your perfect driving position is straightforward.

Infotainment and tech

The 2022 model gains an updated infotainment set-up with an 8.2- or 9.2-inch screen, depending on the model. It's a large and easy-to-read touchscreen with many of its functions having to do without physical controls.

Interestingly, unlike many recent Volkswagen Group models that SEAT shares its tech with, this infotainment set-up works very well indeed. All models also come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, and wireless charging as standard.

Comfort

  • Excellent driving position
  • Good visibilty
  • Decent high-speed ride

Despite its sporty design, the Arona soaks up lumps and bumps in the road well. A comfortable ride remains even in models with larger alloy wheels fitted (the largest you can have are 18 inches in diameter). Aronas stay composed over broken surfaces, with only the very worst imperfections causing shudders through the cabin.

The higher-spec FR trim feels the sportiest, but the flip side is that it can bounce over big bumps in the road and skitter over imperfections. With smaller wheels fitted on more modest models, the Arona is more accomplished at smoothing out potholes and cracks in the road.

Overall though, the SEAT Arona is a comfortable place to spend time in, with good seats in higher-spec models for taller drivers offering plenty of under-thigh support and bolstering, and good visibility all-round. Some may find the sportier seats in FR models uncomfortable, with plenty of side support to hold you in place during cornering, but a lack of lower back support can make some drivers feel pushed into sitting in a slouched position.

What might disturb the peace is the amount of wind noise heard around the windscreen pillars and door mirrors. At motorway speeds it’s quite loud – and the large alloy wheels can throw up a reasonable amount of noise on a rough road surface too. If comfort is a priority for you, we'd recommend sticking to an SE or SE Technology on the standard wheels – plumping for the larger 18-inchers simply worsens the ride and doesn't really gain you anything in terms of handling.

Space in the final row is actually pretty good and there's plenty of head room and knee room, even for six-footers. Two adults can comfortably sit in the back here without getting in each other's way. There is a bit of a hump in the middle, and the middle seat is a bit thin. Three people on longish journeys is probably a bit of a stretch.