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SEAT Arosa

(1998 - 2005)  Rating

SEAT Arosa

The SEAT Arosa is a high quality car, but best only for two people

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
1.0 50 hp 6.1 l/100km Petrol 17.4 s 151 km/h
1.7 SDi 60 hp 4.8 l/100km Diesel 16.8 s 157 km/h
1.4 60 hp 6.7 l/100km Petrol 14.1 s 160 km/h
1.2 TDI 3L 61 hp 3.2 l/100km Diesel 14.7 s 164 km/h
1.4 TDI 75 hp 4.5 l/100km Diesel 12.2 s 170 km/h
1.4 16V 100 hp 7.2 l/100km Petrol 9.8 s 188 km/h

Body type Hatchback
Number of doors 3
Number of seats 4
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Front
Length 3 531 mm
Width 1 651 mm
Height 1 448 mm
Wheelbase 2 323 mm
Ground clearance 110 mm
Weight (normal) 880 kg
Weight (max) 1 360 kg
Boot space (min) 130 l
Boot space (max) 790 l
Fuel capacity 34 l


   The SEAT Arosa was produced since 1997. It is powered by the range of six engines. and the 1.4 has the best blend of performance, refinement and economy. It is well suited to town work or motorway cruising. The 1.0-litre is a lot more sluggish, despite only being 10 hp down on power. The diesel's a good cruiser, but you have to live with a lot of noise.

   If you want sharpness and fun, stick with a Ford Ka. If a softer ride and refinement is your bag, the Arosa doesn't do badly. It's good at muffling road imperfections and feels remarkably stable on multi-laners, despite its diminutive dimensions. However, it starts to feel clumsy if you demand too much and doesn't take well to lumpy roads.

   For longer trips the Arosa's one of the quietest, most soothing city cars to tackle motorways in. All versions are decent at canceling out the wind and road noises. Early models of the 1.4 came only with an automatic gearbox, however. Manuals appeared in 1998. The three trim levels are base, S and top-line SE.

   Getting SE spec brings essentials like central locking and electric windows. Diesels don't make a bad buy, either, though they tend to be pricey.

   Most owners don't put too many miles on Arosas, so they're rarely tested to destruction. That said, virtually all used examples have stood up well to whatever towns and families can throw at them. Little to watch for.

   Anyone who's been in one of the last Polos will be in familiar territory because the Arosa has a scaled-down version of its cabin. Not a bad thing, though, because it's simple to use, comfortable and, though dowdy, feels high quality. On top of that, there's plenty of stowage space around the driver and excellent visibility.

   If you've got notions of traveling with four adults, you'd better forget the little SEAT. Rear legroom is poor and boot space is even worse. At least getting into the back is easy, especially for kids. Those up front get well treated for head and leg space.

   Unlike later models, this early Arosa is pretty scant on comfort and safety equipment. The three trim levels are base, S and top-line SE. On base versions, you can count on a driver's airbag and power steering, but that's about it. Move up to the SE, though, and central locking and electric front windows are on the agenda. Options include air-conditioning and metallic paint, but few cars have either.

   Production of the SEAT Arosa ended in 2005 and it is replaced in 2006 by a new model based on VW Fox.


   Advantages: Excellent town car that can cope with longer trips. Well made, diesel engine option and holds its value well.

   Disadvantages: Rear space is limited and luggage space is poor. Expensive to buy and looks dowdy next to sister Lupo.

   Verdict: A high quality car, but best only for two people.

   Also consider: Citroen C2, Ford Ka.


Video of the Seat Arosa
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SEAT Arosa

SEAT Arosa

SEAT Arosa

SEAT Arosa

SEAT Arosa

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