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Long-term report: Our Seat Arona still feels as fresh as the day it was delivered

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Dave Brown continues to enjoy our Seat Arona while contemplating Brexit, b-roads and a small recall

It’s no secret that these are tough times for the car industry – and while I would never claim to be an expert, it would seem that there are two main reasons for this: firstly, the impact of Brexit and the uncertainty it is creating for manufacturers and dealers; and secondly, the fallout from the ‘dieselgate’ scandal of three years ago.

Other factors are bound to be at play, of course, and the net result for the first half of this year is that the level of new car registrations is down around six per cent.

(PA)

Many of our best-known carmakers have recorded double-digit declines in sales – but there are exceptions.

One of these is the Spanish brand Seat, which has recorded a healthy increase of 22 per cent when you compare the first half of 2018 to the same period last year – quite an achievement.

I was thinking about this on a recent two-hour trip to see family and friends recently in our long-term Seat Arona.

As I did so, I glanced down at the odometer to check out how many miles the car had travelled so far – and the figure, slightly weirdly, was exactly 5,000.

That’s 5,000 miles of genuinely enjoyable motoring in a car that feels as fresh and new as the day it was delivered to us. True, the shade of the paintwork isn’t to everyone’s tastes (mystic magenta, anyone?) but it ticks pretty much every box you can think of in terms of comfort and technology, driveability and fuel economy.

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It’s a car that’s ideal for any conditions really – motorways, B-roads, town and country – and it really comes into its own in the busy streets of our major cities.

Parking? That’s a breeze thanks to the car’s Park Assist system. With 360 degree sensors, the car can both parallel park and pull into bays. All you need to do is control the speed and braking and the Arona takes care of the steering. Clever stuff indeed and a great reason to take the Arona right into a bustling city centre.

Incidentally, although ‘city cars’ are the vehicles specifically designed for urban use, they’re not for me. For a start, as I’m 6ft 1in tall, I struggle to get truly comfortable in some of them.

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I also prefer to sit a little higher in a vehicle that’s a bit bigger and in which you don’t feel as though you are going to get squashed by a double-decker bus at any minute. The Seat Arona is just the ticket.

(PA)

So what else have we been up to in KM67 XUU lately? Well, the daily commute is dead easy (it’s all of 16 miles, there and back) and at weekends, it’s time to get the golf clubs out, maybe take some junk from the garage to the tip and give the car a regular wash and brush up.

I mentioned in a previous report that Seat had issued a recall for our car relating to the central rear seatbelt.

A Finnish motoring magazine had identified a problem that could have seen the belt spring open while the car is changing lanes and travelling at speed – but would only have occurred if all three of the rear seats were being used.

When the story broke, Seat issued a statement saying: ‘We have identified the seatbelt issue that Tekniikan Maailma [the name of the Finnish magazine] has found. We are currently investigating the repair options.’

Well, as I say, that repair has now been done so if I ever need to transport four passengers, I can now do so.

Anyone need a lift to the golf course?

  • Model: Seat Arona XCELLENCE Lux
  • Price (as tested): £22,095
  • Engine: 1.0 TSI 6-speed manual
  • Power: 113bhp
  • Max speed: 113mph
  • 0-60mph: 9.6 seconds
  • Emissions: 114g/km
  • MPG (combined): 56.5
  • Mileage to date: 5,287

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