RE: Shed of the week: Seat Arosa 1.4 Sport

RE: Shed of the week: Seat Arosa 1.4 Sport

Friday 9th November

Shed of the week: Seat Arosa 1.4 Sport

No, it wasn't quite as fast or as good as the Lupo GTI. But then it is an eighth of the price...



This week we will start off by talking about golf. Not Golf as in VW, as that is boring, but golf as in whacking tiny balls with a bent stick, which is something Mrs Shed likes to do of an evening.

Please don't run away if you hate golf with a small g. This won't take long.

Back in the day, you would buy a golf club because it looked nice. Now, technology means that you've got all manner of stats to help you choose the right one. And quite a few of these stats - like launch angles, ball speeds and backspin and sidespin rates that tell you how quickly a ball stops and how well it goes round corners - are in some ways not all that different to the ones we see in car tests.


There's one measurement in golf equipment reviews that isn't in car reviews, and it's called the Smash Factor. This is defined as ball speed divided by club speed and it tells you how much energy gets transferred from the club to the ball. As you might expect, the higher the Smash Factor the better.

Right. So why isn't there an automotive Smash Factor to tell you how much energy makes it from the engine to the road?

Shed's only asking because he'd love to see the Smash Factor for today's Shed of the Week, a tantalising example of the now quite rare Seat Arosa 1.4 Sport. This 100hp 1.4 supermini with a 0-60 time in the mid-to-high nines and a 117mph top end was the most powerful iteration of the Lupo granted to the Spanish firm by the cruel overlords at Volkswagen, who of course selfishly gave themselves a much brawnier 1.6 Lupo GTI on top of the regular 1.4 Lupo Sport. The moustache-twirling, cape-swirling GTI had 123hp, a 0-62 time of 8.2sec and a top whack of 127mph. Boo!


As everyone knows, Lupo GTIs are highly sought after now and, as a result, expensive to buy. You'll struggle to find a decent one for under £3k. More often than not you'll find a 5 at the beginning of the price sticker, despite the fact that the number of Lupo GTIs on British roads is actually rising - not just because people are restoring them, but also because JDM imports are being brought in to satisfy the demand (of greedy dealers).

The Shedman is utterly uninterested in fashion, and should be stroking his chin in thoughtful appreciation of the unloved Arosa Sport. It's actually much rarer than the hot Lupo, with only 100 or so left in the UK compared to the 600-odd VWs you'll find. The Seat has even got the well good central exhaust, albeit ending in a funny flattened single oval tailpipe rather than the Lupo's admittedly cooler dual tube arrangement.

The wondrous tintanet says that the Arosa Sport weighs anything from 946kg to over 1400kg, depending on how stupid the bod inputting the figures was. It's a lot nearer to the first than the second, so you're unlikely to feel shortchanged by this little Seat's performance. There's a decent driving position, with good visibility. The suspension is on the firm side, but it's not Panda 100HP firm. You won't get much more than half a week's shopping in the boot, and certainly not a golf bag.


It's true that Seat build quality has marched on somewhat since 2003, so you might find old-school faults like dropping doors. The vendor mentions dash warnings and has quite rightly surmised that they are almost certainly down to crocked sensors. You might want to check the first to second change on any test drive, as Sport synchros can die early.

The cable is often accused as the culprit for sticky Arosa clutch operation, but it's just as likely to be a problem with the pedal box. Quite a few Lupo boxes were changed under warranty. Shed isn't sure if Seat customers were quite as lucky. Plastic cambelt tensioners were put into the 1.4 16 valve engine, boo again, but when (not if) they break, they don't usually dislodge the belt. There was also a bit of problem with the piston coatings, leading to some warranty engine replacements.

But that's all in the past. What we're looking at here is a faux-Lupo GTI for about an eighth of the German car's price. Christmas may have come early, if you're smart and not driven by the foibles of fashion.

Here's the ad.

Author
Discussion

can't remember

Original Poster:

527 posts

63 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
I think it's about time this feature was killed.

Mike335i

1,999 posts

37 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Good one actually, that would make an entertaining runabout for me.

cookie1600

1,000 posts

96 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
If I bought this, I'd take a few precautions


HumanSteamroller

16 posts

12 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Quirky little shed spot, and certainly quite rare these days. Don't think it will be in danger of troubling my driveway, but someone could certainly have a mildly entertaining time thrashing a few remaining miles out of it.

daveco

3,579 posts

142 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
I disagree.

Didn't even know this car existed! Or at least forgot about it.

100hp in a car weighing c. 1 ton is great fun.

These sort of cars interest me more as I get older, bizarrely.

Advertisement

Turbobanana

1,155 posts

136 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
HumanSteamroller said:
... someone could certainly have a mildly entertaining time thrashing a few remaining miles out of it.
Not sure if serious. I assume you're not too familiar with older cars.

Ad says 92,000 miles. With evidence of excellent maintenance. In a VAG product. I would suggest this has more than a "few remaining miles" in it.

Some of us consider cars not properly run-in until after 100,000: my personal record was a Saab 900 Turbo 16S on 246,000 which, to this day, remains the best car I've ever owned. Only in the UK do we worry about such trivial things as mileage.



gigglebug

956 posts

57 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
daveco said:
I disagree.

Didn't even know this car existed! Or at least forgot about it.

100hp in a car weighing c. 1 ton is great fun.

These sort of cars interest me more as I get older, bizarrely.
Same here which is why I've enjoyed owning a Ford Puma so much. Small, practical (decent boot on a Puma), cheap to run and above all fun to drive at all times. It's just a shame that the tin worm really likes it too as it's getting harder and harder to keep it at bay. I'll definitely be having a small fun run about in my garage at times from here on in.

mmcd87

550 posts

138 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
These felt solid for their time. I always remember thinking the sweet spot in the range would be the 1.4tdi with a Revo (or equivalent) remap.

Merkinorama

6 posts

64 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
I also disagree.

I don't post often, however I feel the need to leap to the defense of Shed of the Week!

I find it consistently humorous, entertaining and often informative.

It takes the edge off a Friday morning commute.

Keep it up Middlehurst (cue Mrs Shed joke . . .)!

Mike1990

588 posts

66 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Certainly rare nowadays. One of my mates had the Lupo Sport around the same time i had my Fiesta Mk5 Zetec S. Many fun times blasting around the local lanes.

Zygot

31 posts

7 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Friday's wouldn't be the same without shed!
Some of the quotes echo the great Finbar Saunders in their ability to make you chuckle.
As for this weeks car - perfect for what the vendor bought it for. For £750 it's in pretty good nick. Drive it for a year and get most of your money back. What's not to like?

J4CKO

25,511 posts

135 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
Why ?

Strange thing to say,


Toyoda

929 posts

35 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Rare back then and even rarer now. Tiny car with a half decent sized proper engine, none of this turbo'd bks. 700 quid and could probably keep an Up "GTI" relatively honest. Plus ca change.

Quhet

1,769 posts

81 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Yes, great shed!

I had a lowly 0.9 s as my first car. Woefully slow but such fun to rag about. If I had the money, space and/or inclination, I'd be all over this!

re33

91 posts

99 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
Strongly disagree. It's the only thing I make a point of reading. This is a great example, forgotten model that's fun to drive. You don't have to buy it!

Did there used to be a £5K car of the week? Would seem like a good feature to me if same amount of effort was put in as SOTW.

soad

29,184 posts

111 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
Don't be daft. It's great fun (for a Friday morning).

jas xjr

10,829 posts

174 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Please keep the featr.

Really find the humour unfunny but that's me

rastapasta

399 posts

73 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
Merkinorama said:
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
I also disagree.

I don't post often, however I feel the need to leap to the defense of Shed of the Week!

I find it consistently humorous, entertaining and often informative.

It takes the edge off a Friday morning commute.

Keep it up Middlehurst (cue Mrs Shed joke . . .)!
I wonder does his wife actually read it ??

Regarding the car, I remember when i learned to drive in my mothers 206 1.4. It was quick relatively speaking with poor brakes and panels made of nothing. It was fun though. Thats why I have a soft spot for such cars as this, relatively big engine in a small car. Its probably great fun to throw around. Im surprised there isnt more of these on the rally stages as it could make a very good beginner rally car.

ElectricPics

441 posts

16 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
You don't have to read it.

humphra

16 posts

27 months

Friday 9th November
quotequote all
can't remember said:
I think it's about time this feature was killed.
Got a quick fix for you - stop reading it and let those who do enjoy it carry on.