From Arona to Ibiza, we test four Seat cars in the Spanish towns they were named after


ONLY a Spanish brand can get away with naming cars after random towns in its own country.

You’ve got the Seat Leon, Arona, Ateca, Tarraco and Ibiza. They all sound pretty exotic wherever you are in the world.

 I took an Arona to Arona, Ateca to Ateca, Tarraco to Tarragona, and an Ibiza to Ibiza in a four-day road test of Seat cars

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I took an Arona to Arona, Ateca to Ateca, Tarraco to Tarragona, and an Ibiza to Ibiza in a four-day road test of Seat cars

Try that here and we’d end up with the Vauxhall Skipton and Mini Huddersfield.

Of course, naming cars after places is not an original idea. Ford gave us the Cortina, Capri and Granada.

Then there was the Ferrari California, Dodge Charger Daytona and, er, Austin Montego. Hyundai has the Santa Fe.

But there has been the odd fail. The Hyundai Kona — named after an area of Hawaii — doesn’t translate very well with the Portuguese. Google it.

The Ford Figo was renamed Ka in Europe because it was too close to the Italian word Figa. Google that, too.

Now, let’s crack on. At this time of year I’d normally load up the inflatable dolphin and head to Eurocamp.

WELL-EQUIPPED

But I thought I’d do something different this summer and find out where the Spaniards got their names from — by having a look for myself.

So I took an Arona to Arona, Ateca to Ateca, Tarraco to Tarragona (Tarraco is the historic name), and an Ibiza to Ibiza. Yep, Ibiza was the big win at the end.

 On the first day of my road test I took a SEAT Arona to Arona, Tenerife

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On the first day of my road test I took a SEAT Arona to Arona, TenerifeCredit: Guy Saxton
 The motor Arona is Seat’s smallest SUV - an Ibiza on stilts

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The motor Arona is Seat’s smallest SUV – an Ibiza on stiltsCredit: Guy Saxton

SEAT Arona SE Tech

Key facts:

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Price: £18,520

Finance from: £199

Engine: 1-litre 3cyl petrol

Power: 95hp

0-62mph: 11.4 secs

Top speed: 109mph

Economy: 48mpg

CO2: 113g/km

Four cars, four towns, four days. El Tour España.

We started in Tenerife. Arona is a small hillside village on the road to the Mount Teide volcano. It’s quaint but there’s not much to do.

The other Arona is Seat’s smallest SUV. Well-equipped, slick infotainment, fruity 1-litre petrol turbo, room for four cabin-sized suitcases in the boot. An Ibiza on stilts. I liked it a lot.

Next stop, Ateca, 135 miles northeast of Madrid. A major fruit-growing area which also produces Grenache wines.

 Ateca, 135 miles northeast of Madrid, was stop no2

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Ateca, 135 miles northeast of Madrid, was stop no2Credit: Guy Saxton
 Seat’s mid-sized SUV Ateca is my favourite of the lot

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Seat’s mid-sized SUV Ateca is my favourite of the lot
 And the motor 'brings a little tourism' to the town, I learned

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And the motor ‘brings a little tourism’ to the town, I learnedCredit: Guy Saxton

SEAT Ateca FR Sport

Key facts:

Price: £33,405 Finance from: £290

Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel

Power: 150hp

0-62mph: 8.8 secs

Top speed: 122mph

Economy: 42mpg

CO2: 145g/km

The other Ateca is Seat’s mid-sized SUV and I’ll say it now, it’s my favourite of the lot. It is one of the best family SUVs on sale today.

Same VW Group quality as the VW T-Roc and Audi Q2 but better value. Sharp styling, digital dash, adaptive cruise control, comfy, practical, decent handling, 4WD, seven-speed DSG. An absolute cracker.

My new friend Daniel, bar manager at Ateca’s public lido, said: “In this town, we are very happy for the car.

“It brings a little tourism, a little extra money, and four or five of my friends have bought an Ateca.”

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 On day three I took a SEAT Tarraco to Tarragona (Tarraco is the historic name)

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On day three I took a SEAT Tarraco to Tarragona (Tarraco is the historic name)Credit: Guy Saxton
 Tarragona is 60 miles southwest of Barcelona

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Tarragona is 60 miles southwest of BarcelonaCredit: Guy Saxton
 The Tarraco Arena Placa has a retractable dome and a 10.800 capacity

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The Tarraco Arena Placa has a retractable dome and a 10.800 capacityCredit: Guy Saxton

SEAT Tarraco Xcellence

Key facts:

Price: £32,115 Finance from: £287

Engine: 2-litre turbo diesel

Power: 150hp

0-62mph: 9.8 secs

Top speed: 126mph

Emissions: 47mpg

CO2: 129g/km

Day three, Tarraco (Tarragona). Roman ruins, great beaches, Port Aventura theme park, 60 miles southwest of Barcelona.

The other Tarraco is Seat’s big-daddy SUV. It has the same bones as the VW Tiguan Allspace and Skoda Kodiaq and has all the luxuries a big family would love. Heated rear seats, picnic tables, USBs, huge glass roof, and seven seats to pick up Raul and his mates from a Scout hut party.

With five seats in use, you can fit eight cabin-sized suitcases in the back. This is a big girl, remember, so go for diesel.

Last leg. Eight-hour overnight ferry from Barcelona to Ibiza. Clubbers’ paradise and home to Cafe Mambo — probably the most famous sunset bar in the world. Amazing.

 From Barcelona to Ibiza on the ferry and then onto the road

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From Barcelona to Ibiza on the ferry and then onto the roadCredit: Guy Saxton
 Ibiza the car is Seat’s supermini and up there with the best in class

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Ibiza the car is Seat’s supermini and up there with the best in class
 Cafe Mambo is probably the most famous sunset bar in the world

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Cafe Mambo is probably the most famous sunset bar in the worldCredit: Guy Saxton

SEAT Ibiza FR

Key facts:

Price: £17,910

Finance from: £199

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Engine: 1-litre 3cyl turbo petrol

Power: 95hp

0-62mph: 10.9 secs

Top speed: 113mph

Economy: 52mpg

CO2: 104g/km

The other Ibiza is Seat’s supermini. Sweet chassis, nice styling, big-car tech. Go for the 115hp three pot and the Ibiza is up there with the best in class.

To conclude, then. You won’t go far wrong with any of the cars above. Seat is on its A-game with the perfect blend of VW engineering, sharp styling and good-value pricing.

And no, I haven’t had too much sun and sangria. Record half-year sales and umpteen industry awards back me up.

Muy bien, Seat. Muy bien.

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