Seat is set to grow its SUV portfolio with a baby SUV based on the next-gen Ibiza and the current Ateca

Seat hasn’t been doing too well in recent years, and as such has decided to start revamping its lineup. Come 2016, and Seat finally jumped on the SUV/crossover bandwagon by pulling the sheet off of its first-ever production SUV call the Ateca. Now we’re getting our first glimpse at its next offering in the segment, but this time it’s a baby SUV known as the Arona that will compete against models like the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, among others. It will be based on the next-generation Ibiza that is set to debut in the first quarter of 2017. It’s DNA will make it a mutt of sorts, with some cues from the Ibiza and some from the larger Ateca that debuted in 2016. What will power the new Arona is still a big mystery, but it should get the same powertrain options available in the upcoming Ibiza, as well as a similar looking interior.

For its first venture into the wild, the new Arona got to experience what cold weather and fresh snow is really like. While we don’t know a lot about it – powertrain options, interior specs, and options are all still a mystery – it does look like it’s able to handle inclement weather quite well, so that should work in Seat’s favor as it digs deeper into the ever-popular SUV/crossover market. It’s the second of at least three SUV’s to be introduced, with the next model expected to ride on the same platform as the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. But, until that happens, let’s take a look at the new Arona and see if there’s anything important we can make out through all of that annoying padding and camo.

Continue reading for more information.

Exterior

To put things simply, there isn’t a lot that we can make out from this first round of spy shots. There’s padding everywhere, blocking us from making out anything worth reporting. As such, Seat still has its work cut out for it if this thing is even going to debut in 2017. It may be rocking production light units, for example, but based on the coloration of the lights; this thing is sporting cheap halogens – something Seat will have to address if it really wants to compete in the baby SUV market. It does appear to have a four-door layout, however, the flaps around the doors show that there could be an awkwardly wide B-Pillar in the middle to go with a small rear door – something that wouldn’t play out well for this model. Finally, out back we can see that the roof should slope down just a bit in the rear, while the rear hatch should be slanted just a bit.

2018 Seat Arona Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Seat Arona Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Seat Arona Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Seat Arona Exterior Spyshots
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The Arona will be loosely based on the next-gen Ibiza, but will also share some DNA with the Ateca and the IBX Concept.

Of course, there’s something else that’s important to think about in this situation. We know that the Arona will be loosely based on the next-gen Ibiza, but will also share some DNA with the Ateca and the IBX Concept. With that said, we should see at least some similar design cues all the way around. Expect the production headlights to have a triangular-ish shape like the two aforementioned concepts while a big, non-function air dam down below should give the front end some much-needed character. The side profile should see the same sharp lines from both concepts, however, the upper bodyline – just below the waistline – will be toned down significantly and won’t protrude from the body like a small airplane wing. Then again, Seat might be lazy about it and just make a smaller version of the Ateca. Knowing the VW Group, that’s certainly a possibility.

Interior

We expect the interior to be a combination of that from the upcoming Ibiza compact car and the Ateca SUV. I suspect there will actually be more Ateca DNA here than anything, but some sources are indicating the interior will mirror that of the Ibiza, the model that the Arona is supposedly based on. Either way, expect cloth upholstery on lower trim levels while the range-topping trim may be offered with at least some leather. It should get the same infotainment system as the Ateca and Ibiza, and it should get a similar instrument cluster as well. There should be navigation and Bluetooth connectivity in the fold, as well as the option for USB and Auxiliary inputs as well. The center console will be smaller compared to that of the Ateca but should be similar in most regards.

2016 Seat Ateca High Resolution Interior
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Note: Interior from Seat Ateca shown here.

I suspect there will actually be more Ateca DNA here than anything, but some sources are indicating the interior will mirror that of the Ibiza.

Expect the rear seats to fold down flat for additional cargo room when needed, along with storage cubbies in the door trim panels, center console, and front seat backs. A two-tone interior should be available on some models, but it will likely come at a premium and won’t be available on lower-trimmed models. Since we have so little information to go by, we’ll have to leave it at that for now. But, we’ll be on the lookout for new images and new information, so we’ll bring you updates in this department as they become available.

Drivetrain

Word around the campfire is that the Arona will get it’s powertrain options from the upcoming Ibiza supermini, but we don’t know what will be available in that, so we’re really shooting in the dark here. As a member of the VW group, Seat has access to a handful of VW’s powertrains, so the option of a 1.0-liter three-cylinder with some 113 horsepower on tap is possible. A four-cylinder could also be possible, with the most likely candidate being the 1.4-liter TSI that’s found in the Lean and has 148 horses. Given the projected market, VW’s 113-horsepower, 1.6-liter TDI diesel could also be on the table. The Arona should be offered with all-wheel drive and the choice of either a six-speed manual or a dual-clutch unit. But, we’ll learn more about all of this in the future, so stay tuned.

Prices

Going into prices at this point is about as productive as discussing baby names for children that have yet to be conceived. But, technically, the Arona is in the embryonic stages of development, so we’ll give it the good old college try. The Ateca, which will be positioned one slot up from the Arona starts out at £17,990, so the Arona should come in somewhere around £12,000 or £13,000 pounds – figures that compute to roughly $14,700 and $16,000, respectively.

Competition

Nissan Juke

2015 Nissan Juke Exterior High Resolution
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The Nissan Juke was cut loose on the world back in 2011 as the funkiest little SUV the world had ever seen. Since then it has spawned a number of different trim levels and even got its first facelift for the 2015 model year. By the time the Arona hits the Market, the Juke should be due for a generational shift, but for now, it soldiers on as a favorite in the segment. The base engine that is available all most models, including the Juke Nismo, is a 1.6-liter, gasoline unit that delivers a decent 188 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. But, there’s also the Juke RS that comes correct with either 215 horsepower and 210 pound-feet with a six-speed manual or 211 horsepower and 184 pound-feet with a CVT.

Those are made available in the U.S., but on the other side of the drink, the Juke can be had with a 1.2-liter that delivers 113 horsepower and 140 pound-feet or a 1.5-liter diesel that delivers 81 horsepower and 191 pound-feet. The Euro-spec drivetrains will fit right in with the power that will likely be offered by the Arona. The Juke does come with provocative and sporty styling, but you’ll be paying top dollar as the juke starts out around $20,000 here in the U.S., and will likely be a bit more expensive than the Arona over in the Euro market as well.

Read more about the Nissan Juke here.

Renault Captur

2013 Renault Captur High Resolution Exterior
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The Renault Captur is a new entry in this segment as well, being introduced for the 2013 model year. As such, it will likely see its mid-cycle facelift by the time the Arona makes its debut, but it will be a contender nonetheless. Featuring a sporty appearance with a slightly raked body, the Captur does mean business and is set to be a worthy adversary for the Arona. The interior reminds me a lot of the Juke, as it has a prominent center stack that really sticks out and brings the infotainment display up close and personal. The instrument cluster is unique, and the overall appearance of the cabin is functional yet elegant. It’s not a bad place to spend time as long as you’re not 300 pounds and taller than six foot, but this is the supermini segment we’re talking about.

Under the hood, you’ll find a number of gasoline and diesel engines available that deliver anywhere between 90 and 120 horsepower, which isn’t surprising in this segment. Pricing for the Captur starts out at £14,945 at the time of this writing, so it offers up a competitive price point as well.

Find out more about the Renault Captur here.

Conclusion

2018 Seat Arona Exterior Spyshots
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As you can see, we don’t really have much to go by, but given the nature of Seat (and any other brand under the VW umbrella) it won’t be surprising to see the interior and exterior design copied from other models that are already in production. Furthermore, the powertrain options will simply be carried over from other models, so the new Arona won’t see all of the hype some new models get. It will, however, mark seats entry into the baby SUV market. But, whether or not it will work out for seat is a different story – this segment is overpopulated, and the Arona will likely be a loose copy of several other models under the VW umbrella. Then again, that ideal may work out for Seat in the long run, so we’ll just have to see what happens.

  • Leave it
    • * Will probably be underpowered
    • * Could be a knock-off of other VW-Group models
    • * Stiff competition

Press release

SEAT presented its latest products at the Volkswagen Group’s Evening Event, the night before the official opening of the International Motorshow 2017 in Frankfurt. The new Arona and Leon CUPRA R, as well as Amazon Alexa, the innovative voice-activated digital service were SEAT’s protagonists on this special night. Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Matthias Müller, was the master of ceremonies and responsible for the introduction of the latest models to which all the press were invited to get the scoop on the Volkswagen Group’s exciting releases.

Tomorrow, the Arona, Leon CUPRA R and Amazon Alexa will take centre stage on the first press day of the IAA in Frankfurt. At 11:15am (UK), the President of SEAT, Luca de Meo, will host a press conference at the SEAT stand to talk about the new Arona, Leon CUPRA R, Amazon Alexa and the shortlisted names of SEAT’s future large-size SUV. In the afternoon, at 2pm, Wayne Griffiths, Executive Vice-President for Sales and Marketing and Dr. Matthias Rabe, Executive Vice-President for Research and Development will talk about the new Leon CUPRA R, as well as future CUPRA projects. Finally, at 3:30pm, Ned Curic, Amazon Alexa Automotive Vice-president and Dr. Matthias Rabe will be speaking about the integration of the new innovative voice activated service Amazon Alexa, into the SEAT range.

New SEAT Arona

After making its first appearance in Barcelona in front of 250 international journalists in June, the New SEAT Arona will be presented internationally at the IAA Frankfurt.

The Arona, SEAT’s third launch in 2017 after the new Leon and Ibiza, is yet another step in the biggest ever product offensive carried out by the Barcelona-based brand. The large SUV that will arrive in 2018 is just a part of that. The Arona, the second model to be manufactured using the MQB A0 platform and that marks SEAT’s entrance into the compact crossover segment, is the younger brother to Ateca in SEAT’s growing SUV range. Manufactured exclusively in Martorell, the new SEAT Arona stands out from the rest through its wellthought out height and width, multiple customisation possibilities and the most advanced technology in safety and connectivity. Elegance, space, practicality and comfort from Monday to Friday and adventure, robustness, sportiness and efficiency at the weekend, the new SEAT Arona of course contains SEAT’s attractive, unique design and is destined for those drivers that are looking for excitement without sacrificing the dynamism, refinement and sportiness of the Spanish brand.

New Digital Cockpit

Another reason to visit the SEAT stand will be the new Digital Cockpit, featured for the first time in Arona, Leon ST CUPRA, Ibiza and Ateca. The Spanish brand is going to introduce the Digital Cockpit early in 2018 first in the Leon and the Ateca and later in the Ibiza and the Arona. Thanks to the new Digital Cockpit, the instrumentation not only has a more modern and versatile design, but will also give better functionality. The system can be configured to suit different driver tastes, and the whole instrumentation comes now with a fantastic resolution. It is not just about improving the design or the infotainment system, it is also about the advantages it brings to the driving experience, positively contributing to safety and comfort. This new feature, represents another important technological step forward for SEAT, and comes clearly in line with the company digitalisation strategy.

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