On the road: The new Seat Arona
On the road: The new Seat Arona

Ian Lamming takes comfort in SEAT’s sterling small SUV, the Arona

LIFE has suddenly turned all dystopian and it only takes a single storm.

Sitting pretty in our cosy little house, a winter storm shows the fragility of 21st century infrastructure.

Thirty power poles are taken out between village and sub-station by unusual northern gales. This takes away the power and along with it heating, the ability to cook, lighting, 4G, mobile signal, internet – even the ability to flush and I find myself filling a bucket and a water can from the local stream dark Ages-style.

Two uncomfortable nights endured, it is time to move out to friends and I can’t pretend it’s a hardship living in their very comfortable accommodation. That said, after eight days, a sense of disquiet begins to seep in over our refugee status.

The only constant is the test car, and endearing small SUV called the Arona, and better still it is in Xperience trim which makes it even more rugged and off-roader looking and hence it comes with an air of greater protection from the elements.

It proves to be a great vehicle with which to pick our way around countless detritus. At some points fallen trees have been sawn through to create arches and gateways through a countryside ravaged by the gales.

Smaller branches are crunched underfoot by the SEAT which features 18in alloys shod with chunky tyres and reasonable ground clearance. But the modest proportions are ideal to squeeze through gaps where severed trunks lay one side and tumbled down drystone walls the other. The countryside is a mess but the Arona is the ideal vehicle to get through.

To look at, Arona couldn’t be anything else other than a SEAT and it shares all the same styling cues as the rest of the range – nothing wrong with that, by the way, as it is smart and clean and Xperience adds nice spotlights moulded into the front bumper and a general feel of extra toughness.

Inside there is every luxury imaginable. The ergonomics are perfect and the infotainment state-of-the art, as is the virtual dash. My Spotify tunes Bluetooth beautifully through a stereo that is both clear and bassy, so I’m happy, despite the disruption.

Heated seats warm the whole body bringing instant comfort on a dreary winter’s day. The LED headlights cut through the murk and there is comfort in knowing the rear set of lights are bright LEDs too ensuring the SEAT has your back in awful conditions.

The 1.0 litre three cylinder sounds throaty and has a surprising amount of power thanks to a turbocharger. It launches itself at steep hills and keeps going as the fantastic DSG auto gearbox hunts and finds the right ratio. Spirited is the best way to describe the amount of go Arona has. Economy is perilously close to the 50mpg mark and the ride is comfortable but sharp and dynamic so it’s a difficult car to fault and definitely a car to count on when the world turns dystopian.

Fact File

SEAT Arona 1.0 TSI Xperience Lux

Engine: 1.0 litre

Power: 110PS

0-62mph: 10.8 secs

Top speed: 118mph

Combined MPG: 46.3

Transmission: seven-speed DSG automatic

CO2 g/km: 137

Price: £26,255.00