SG Motorshow 2018: Have a Seat, or maybe two

 seat singapore motorshow 2018

Spain’s Seat started the ball rolling at the Singapore Motorshow 2018 with two cars priced under the S$100,000 mark

SINGAPORE — And the first carmaker to launch new cars at the Singapore Motorshow 2018 was Spain’s Seat. The Volkswagen-owned label unveiled the all-new Ibiza and a small crossover called the Arona this morning.

Both sneak under the hundred grand mark in their lowest-spec forms, with the Ibiza priced from S$92,400 with COE and the Arona, S$97,400.

Anyone vaguely familiar with Seat ought to have some idea of what the Ibiza offers; the model is the brand’s longest-running nameplate. For everyone else, it’s a supermini along the lines of VW’s Polo, has gained cabin space from a longer wheelbase in its new iteration, without gaining length overall.

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It’s actually based on the Volkswagen Group’s “MQB” underpinnings, which support the latest Golf, and that bodes well for ride and handling.

That said, the Ibiza is meant to be easy to drive in the city, though even the cheapest “Style” variant comes with a rear-view camera, just in case.

The Arona, meanwhile, panders to the current craze for small crossovers. It has five seats and a 400-litre boot, and at 4,138mm in length and 1,780mm wide, it has a meaningfully smaller footprint than, say, a Nissan Qashqai (4,394mm x 1,806mm).

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Yet, of the two new Seats, it is the Arona that is more likely to find success, given the gradual but steady migration from more conventional car types such as hatchbacks to crossovers.

Both cars are powered by a drivetrain straight off the VW Group shelf: a 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder with 115hp and 200Nm of torque, paired with a twin-clutch, DSG auto with seven speeds.

That combo propels the Arona to 100km/h in 10 seconds flat and the Ibiza, in 9.5 seconds.

The mechanical reliance on VW is apt to prove something of a mixed blessing in Singapore; on the one hand it lets customers know what to expect, and on the other, it invites comparison with what Volkswagen itself has to offer.

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A year on from re-entering Singapore, the Spanish brand could use a genuine hit. It sold just under 200 cars here in 2017, which is a decent start but not quite enough for the brand to hit critical mass. If the new crossover picks up serious sales, that could really revive Seat’s prospects in Singapore. Call it Arona therapy.

The Singapore Motorshow 2018 runs from January 11th to 14th at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Tickets cost S$6 . The show closes daily at 10pm.

about the author

Leow Ju-Len
Leow Ju-Len is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 23 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.