May 21, 2019

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SEAT confirms name of new small crossover ahead of its launch in 2017. The SEAT Arona will use the platform of next Ibiza.

We already knew that SEAT was launching a smaller SUV than the Ateca, but now boss Luca De Meo has revealed it will be called ‘Arona’. Confirmed at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the new small SUV is due on sale in 2017.

The SEAT CEO made the announcement at the Paris press conference, explaining that “the Leon, the Ibiza and the new Arona, together with the Ateca, are going to strengthen SEAT from a commercial, financial and brand image standpoint.”

The Arona name reflects other models in the Spanish brand by being named after an area of Spain. It originates from a municipality in the southern part of Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands. The SUV is expected to launch in the latter part of next year after the new Ibiza supermini, with which the Arona will share its platform.

Our spy photographers have already caught an early development mule of the SEAT Arona testing on European roads. The supermini-based crossover will rival the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, taking its place as the second SUV in SEAT’s ever-expanding line-up.

Despite being heavily disguised, we can distinguish a few key details that tell us this is the new small SEAT SUV. Look closely at the rear and you’ll notice the rear lights have been lifted from the new SEAT Ateca, while the shoulder and roofline are similar, too. The front is harder to make out, but the bulky bumpers and body work hint at a pumped-up pseudo-4×4 design. It’s likely the production model will get a raised ride height over the Ibiza hatch, which isn’t present on this test vehicle.

On the inside of the Arona, you can just make out the familiar SEAT dials behind the steering wheel. The cabin will be lifted almost unchanged from the next-generation Ibiza though, with plenty of connectivity options including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

The spy shots match well with our exclusive images, which we drew up following news of its arrival earlier this year. The rear lights have been turned upside-down and the numberplate moved to the bootlid, but the shape and size look to mirror the mule almost exactly. A debut for the production Arona at next spring’s Geneva Motor Show is believed to be likely.

The Spanish manufacturer has been linked to a rapid expansion of its SUV line-up, with a larger vehicle set to join then the range, too. At the firm’s annual press conference in Madrid earlier this year, SEAT boss Luca de Meo confirmed that the Ibiza-based baby SUV will get the nod first, and that it will be built at the company’s plant in Martorell near Barcelona and that it will go on sale in 2017.

“This is excellent news for both the brand and for our main factory,” said de Meo. “Since it is the fastest growing segment and represents a firm step to become the third pillar of the company, with the families of the Ibiza and Leon.”

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