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SEAT Arosa (1997 - 2005)

Last updated 11 July 2017

Inexpensive to buy and run. Good level of kit and decent ride. Easy to get in and out of.
Not as sharp a drive as a Ford Ka. Fared badly in 2005 JD Power Satisfaction Survey. Clutch cables can give trouble.

Cheap, well-equipped, very cheerful small cars, all with power assisted steering. Decent ride quality. Originally, numerous 'option packs' included comfort pack, safety pack and even aircon. Later restricted...

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When the time came to replace the Seat Marbella, parent firm Volkswagen had a pretty clear idea about what kind of car Seat’s super compact city car should be. Out went the Panda-based Marbs, and in came a badge-engineered version of the Volkswagen Lupo.

The Seat was launched a few years before the Volkswagen – presumably so the R&D team had time to iron out any issues. It must have been a confusing moment for hardened Seat buyers – here was a car whose doors shut with a reassuring thunk.

If you’re looking at buying one, then keep your eye out for damage. The Arosa sat at both ends of the ownership lifecycle – learner driver and OAP. Still, along with the Ford Ka, the Arosa is a cracking supermini. Reliability comes as standard and they’re significantly cheaper than their ‘VW’ badged equivalent… even if there wasn’t a fun one.

Comparison Test: VW Lupo versus SEAT Arosa Year 2000 Test

Next: Model Timeline