There’s no doubting the fact that on the whole graffiti is essentially vandalism. The undesirable and often vulgar ‘tagging’ of private property is, of course, a nuisance and often causes distress. However, regardless of what your personal opinion is on this, it’s almost certainly an expression of the ‘artists’ personality and when it crosses over to being more skillfully crafted, this colourfully designed ‘Street Art’ can brighten up any ‘blank canvass’ wall that makes up the urban concrete landscape. This immediately brings me onto another colourful crossover that brightens up the urban landscape – the SEAT Arona.
Since its inception in 1950 and with its roots held firmly in Spain, car maker SEAT (that’s See – at) was and is, bound to produce quite flambouant vehicles. From the compact Ibiza (that’s I-bee-tha) to the large Tarraco (with a rolling, purring double R), SEAT offer vehicles that can be adapted to suit your own style and personality, the smaller award-winning Arona (the r pronounced with a single flap of the tongue to the roof of the mouth) crossover being no exception.
My Arona FR came in Midnight Black, but with nine other choices that include Mediterraneo Blue, Eclipse Orange and Mystic Magenta, plus the roof and pillars can be separately colour coded to Midnight Black or Magnetic Tech, you can almost match your every mood. This expression of colour continues inside too, with my SEAT seats having racing stripes and the dashboard, gear gaiter, handbrake and steering-wheel displaying bright red contrast stitching.
There’s plenty to gawp at as you wander around the exterior, chrome surround grille, angular headlamps, lower front, wheel arch and sill protection, a stainless looking plate at the rear roofline and a high spoiler above the hatchback, with two chrome exhaust pipe tips to top it off. While inside, the infotainment screen is well connected and the instrument cluster is clear and (shall we say) family familiar.
At a little over 4.1m long and 1.55m tall the Arona slots easily onto everyday city life and its 400litres of boot space is more than simply adequate. It rides a little taller with 190mm of ground clearance but I wouldn’t be looking to take this ‘small SUV’ on safari. Under the bonnet lies a 3 cylinder 1L engine that has a sweet little sound under revs and it produces 85kW aided by a 7-Speed DSG transmission. 0-100km/h sits at around 10 seconds but it feels zippy regardless of your thoughts on this. It takes stop/start seriously and virtually hibernates at the lights but it does also produce a fuel efficiency of about 5L/100km.
Make no mistake, the Arona is a pleasure to drive. It comes with a multitude of driver’s aids such as adaptive cruise control and blind spot alert but also leaves you to do the driving. I spent the majority of my time in Sport (both gears and driving mode) to up its response and avoid the snooze at the lights, but it will happily leave long times between fuel feeds should you wish to drive that way. The steering is nicely weighted and it responds well to you expressing your driving personality around corners (both urban and rural).
Despite mine being a black ‘blank canvass’, just a cursory glance through the website’s Car-Configurator easily shows how personal you can make this crossover. With the variety of palates, expressive little engine and raft of accessories, the SEAT Arona FR really does possess a colourful language. Oh and just as a bit of a footnote, the Maori baby name Arona, means Colourful, so SEAT could very well be on to something.