More expensive than a Duster and Kia Stonic but cheaper than a T-Cross. Seat Arona KJ7, a car that should be affordable even for the youngest among us, and it almost succeeded, just like my scheme of having a threesome almost worked 2 nights ago. I just needed 2 more people.
I could say that Seat Arona KJ7 is the Spanish version of the VW T-Cross, and with that I could go home. Just like I could say that Arona is actually an Ibiza with taller sneakers but not exactly stilts.
Reality however says that this car has very little to do with Seat, but Seat understood that they needed a small crossover to survive in today’s market, and Seat Arona KJ7 was a necessary car for them because they are a relatively small manufacturer, and small crossovers that cost 20-25,000 pounds are currently the most profitable cars (aside from ultra-luxury cars, which are the most profitable, but Seat doesn’t dream of being an ultra-luxury manufacturer)
And if you manage to sell it for 20,000something pounds, it’s even better. And you wouldn’t be too far off, because when I wrote this article the Seat Arona KJ7 started at 22,450 pounds with no incentives, discounts and promos factored in, so realistically you could leave with a new Arona for about 20,000 pounds. Sure, it will come in the base trim, and when it comes to base trim nobody in the business does it like VW, where doors are often optional feature. And you might say that I’m talking smack, but reality says that many basic things are optional, such as cruise control, car alarm, floor mats, or seats height adjustment.
But here we are not necessarily talking about new cars; we are talking about almost new cars and used cars. And in the used car market, Seat Arona becomes an even more indecent proposition than a mud wrestling gala where media divas participate. That’s because Arona is 2,000 – 3,000 pounds cheaper than it’s T-Cross counterpart, considering it’s almost the same car, and it competes in price with the Dacia Duster, which is quite an performance to match the cheapest cross-over in UK. And at the time of writing this article, the cheapest Arona on autotrader was just a smidge under 7,000 pounds, for a 1.0 TSI 2018 Arona. And at that price, it’s a decent car for a young couple without kids who don’t need more. Sure, it’s not the last word in quality, but in this auto segment, money talks, and in the case of Arona, it talks well because it’s a decent car for what it offers. Furthermore, money talks, but I can’t hear them.
Seat Arona KJ7 Engines
- 1.0 TSI EA211 of 95 and 115 horsepower – The only petrol engine that realistically deserves a place on the Arona engine list, and pretty much the only engine worth spending money on. Sure, it’s an oil enthusiast, just like I’m a Fosters enthusiast, but at least it’s cheap. And it moves about decently.
- 1.5 TSI EA211 of 150 horsepower – No. Besides being an oil enthusiast, it’s hesitant and leaves from a standstill just like I leave for work, so don’t bother. Plus, the 1.0 TSI engine has enough power to haul around this 2 square foot and 45 lbs car that is the Arona.
1.6 TDI EA288 of 95 and 115 horsepower – Like the 1.0 TSI, it’s a modest engine for young people who want a car for vacations, which is a common situation around here because many young people go to the mountains and the sea almost every month, especially those who will look at this type of car. Just don’t buy it and only use it in the city because you’ll get addicted to replacing the EGR, DPF, injectors, flywheel, clutch and other cloggity things that fail when driven in town.
Seat Arona KJ7 Reliability Issues
- I should complain about the overall interior quality because it’s a low-cost VW, but honestly, it’s in line with the industry average at this price point.
- Front Assist tends to be like an angry wife who knows something is wrong but won’t tell you and lets you bump into things. Literally. So you’ll have to follow the advice of our forefathers who say “don’t trust women and Morris brakes,” only this time it’s the Czech-Spanish version.
- The air conditioning is powered by an asthmatic who coughs through a straw, so bring along enough Fosters with you to cool down.
- Because it’s a low-cost car and because at VW, cheap cars are really cheap and so poor sound insulation shouldn’t surprise you too much. Normally, it’s not a concern for a city car like the Arona, but if you’re tempted by a 1.6 TDI to go on vacation… actually forget about that, you won’t be going fast enough to be bothered by the noise.
- The DSG gearbox is a recurring issue in the VAG group, and the complementary moment has to come, even if the DSG is a rarer option on the Arona. Just like the 1.5 TSI, the DSG jumps from a standstill in it’s famous kangarooing manner and I’ve talked already about this issue. And I find it hard to believe that the DSG will be a popular option for the Arona.
Seat Arona KJ7 Verdict
If I were to describe it in one word, it would be “honest.” It’s a small, urban crossover that competes pricewise with Suzuki Ignis and Dacia Duster and is below the market average prices. Sure, it’s a low-cost car that doesn’t stand out for anything special, having a 1.0 turbo petrol manual and front-wheel drive like all it’s rivals, but most importantly, it looks good and is affordable. So if you want something relatively new, cheap, and good-looking, Seat Arona KJ7 is a solid candidate. As solid as those people who thought they bought mud at the beach, but they were sold cement.
Which engines do I recommend? For petrol and in general the 95 horsepower 1.0 TSI is the best all-rounder, and for diesel you only have the 1.6 TDI anyway. Those are the only ones I’d bother with.