We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to small family cars.
I have driven several this year and pinning down the best is becoming a struggle.
My top pick is still the Toyota Yaris Cross (I think) but I was impressed with the new Skoda Fabia, which has come on leaps and bounds, but like its Seat Arona cousin a little more.
Launched in 2017 Arona is a compact SUV and Seat’s second of the new breed of crossovers after Ateca, arguably the best handling SUV in its class, so no surprises that this is a fun car to drive.
As part of the Volkswagen group Arona roughly mirrors VW T-Cross and Skoda Kamiq although it has its own personality. Much of this is down to the sporty character of the Ibiza supermini and this is carried through to its slightly higher riding sibling.
It is a tough, crowded market and car companies have their work cut out in the battle for sales but Arona, like all Seat models named after a Spanish town or city, can take its place on the top table. It is good value, well equipped and great to drive.
It was freshened up a year ago, Seat concentrating on improving cabin trim quality and technology upgrades. This makes for an impressive dashboard with superbly clear graphics in a 9.2in touchscreen (8.25in on entry SE) providing a raft of information along with the usual radio, navigation and smartphone links.
A new feature is Seat Connect giving access to a range of remote services including driving data, parking position, anti-theft alerts, remotely opening and closing the doors, or remotely activating the horn and turn signals to find the car.
You can even set up alerts to monitor the speed of whoever is driving the car, very handy when newly qualified children are let loose in the family car.
I particularly like the new digital binnacle which covers a full 10.25in and can be configured in a variety of razor sharp designs. The whole layout has brought a more youthful, up to date feel to the car and is one of its best features.
As one of the two newish members of the Volkswagen-Audi group Seat has taken on the sporty role against Skoda’s sensible approach and even though Arona is a crossover it still handles like a hot hatch but with a surprising level of comfort.
I was expecting a hard, uncompromising ride from my FR Sport but credit to Seat for combining sharp handling with a suspension set up that keeps the car firmly planted and able to overcome the vagaries of our not so smooth roads.
Arona is not quite as roomy as its Kamiq cousin but given its relatively small dimensions could, at a push, seat three adults in the back where legroom can accommodate six footers but it will be a bit of a squeeze. On the plus side three children will not be squashed in like sardines in a tin.
Boot space is more than you will find in a larger Ford Focus or VW Golf so Arona should definitely be on the list as a family car.
It is less expensive than some of its main rivals and the entry SE has a generous spec sheet that includes LED headlights, rare for an entry level model, 17in alloys, smartphone connection and Seat Connect, cruise control, speed limiter and power front and rear windows.
My FR Sport had the digital driver display, navigation, heated seats and keyless entry, but my pick would be the one above base SE Technology 95TSI manual which is a good buy at £20,510.
FR models get the larger three-cylinder 108bhp petrol engine which will not blow you away but has enough zip for safe overtaking helped along by a slick six speed manual gearbox. Its note is a little gruff at low speeds but is a smooth cruiser. Expect to average around 50mpg with a light foot, with 57mpg achievable on long runs.
What would make Arona even better? Hybrid power to push the average to 60mpg along with lower emissions which is why I am still sticking with the Yaris Cross hybrid as my top pick.
Arona FR Sport
£25,225 (range starts £19,600)
1-litre 108bhp 6sp manual
0-62mph 10.6secs; 118mph
124g/km. 1st tax £190
Insurance group 12
Boot 400 litres