Kia Seltos is the Korean company’s new entrant in the rapidly expanding small SUV market. It joins big brother Sportage and aims to pull sales away from the big-selling, low-priced Mitsubishi ASX, as well as others in a crowded field.
It’s well priced, with the Seltos S FWD at $25,990 and the Seltos GT Line AWD for $41,990 – driveway in both cases.
Seltos is offered with two-wheel-drive (the front wheels) as well as AWD, with the latter it can be termed an SUV rather than simply a tall hatch. However, it really is aimed at a city and suburban shopping, school runs and commuting rather than as a bush explorer.
It is available in four specification levels: Seltos S, Sport, Sport+ and GT Line.
The topline Seltos GT Line, the subject of our review, has a sunroof, 18-inch alloy wheels, interior mood lighting, fast wireless phone charger, premium artificial leather seats, powered driver and front passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats.
Outside it has the added safety of LED headlights, daylight running lights and front foglights.
Kia Seltos is smaller than its very popular big brother Kia Sportage. It features a chunky shape that’s at the forefront the latest thinking in small SUV design. These see a large grille with an array of lights built to the side, and stylish lower area that has a solid look thanks to the expansion at the corners.
Likewise, the rear is wide, with a central style-bar the expands the visual appearance. As at the front the rear’s lower area has a solid look.
Of particularly interest are the high lines that swoop up at the rear-sides and act as supports for smallish rear spoiler.
In fact, there’s every chance the Kia Seltos will sell on style alone.
Starbright Yellow is a standard colour. Premium colours ($520) Neptune Blue, Gravity Grey, Mars Orange, Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey and Cherry Black.
A two-tone treatment is available on Seltos GT Line at no extra cost for Clear White with Cherry Black Roof and Starbright Yellow with Cherry Black roof.
Inside, Seltos is less adventurous, with a conventional layout of dual instruments that are a good size and easy to see at a glance. The horizontal central screen is links neatly with the the instrument and fairs well into the smallish area in front of the passenger.
The instrument panel has a 10.25-inch screen with split-screen functionality. This allows users to control or monitor numerous vehicle features. The driver can choose to have a single display (such as navigation) or combine different elements on-screen.
Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are easy to connect to. The eight-speaker BOSE premium sound system in the topline Seltos in which we spent the week provides excellent quality.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The Kia Seltos S, Sport and Sport+ front-wheel drive are powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle engine producing 110 kW and 180 Nm coupled to a new-design CVT.
Sport+ and GT Line all wheel drive has a 1.6-litre direct injection engine producing 130 kW and 265 Nm. It’s mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
Kia Seltos is highly likely to be awarded the maximum of five stars in official tests when they are carried out.
It has a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems, including Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control. Anti-lock Braking System, Brake-force Assist System a Traction Control System, Automatic wipers and Lane Following Assist.
A very useful feature is Safe Exit Alert which warns if a vehicle is passing within a distance that could impact your doors.
With my tall (179cm) body in the driver’s seat there’s not a lot of space for a similar sized person behind me, with some compromising there’s enough room for us both.
As with all Kia models in Australia, the ride and handling characteristics of the car have been optimised to provide the experience Australian drivers have come to expect.
The 130 kilowatt engine has plenty of punch and turbo lag is minimal off the line. Get it into the right gear ahead of time and you could almost call it a sports hatch.
The steering feel is excellent and really does signal to the driver what is happening at the front of the car. Multiple changes of direction on the twisting country road of our test route are made with ease.
It’s a neat little car to ride in and is generally as smooth and quiet as cars of this size around town. However, it creates quite a racket on some motorway concrete surfaces and isn’t overly happy on country roads in that are poor condition.
It’s taken a long time for Kia to entry the small SUV market but this little South Korean machine seems assured of success.
The Seltos is covered by Kia’s seven-Year Warranty, seven-Year Capped Price Service and seven-Year Roadside assistance program.
AT A GLANCE
Seltos S FWD: $25,990
Seltos Sport FWD: $29,490
Seltos Sport+ FWD: $32,990
Seltos Sport+ AWD: $36,490
Seltos GT Line AWD: $41,990
Note: These are driveaway prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (Kia Seltos S 2.0-litre petrol five-door wagon)
Capacity: 1.999 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 110 kW @ 6200 rpm
Maximum Torque: 180 Nm @ 4500 rpm
Fuel Type: Standard unleaded
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.8 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 157 g/km
DRIVELINE: Continuously variable transmission
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4370 mm
Wheelbase: 2630 mm
Width: 1800 mm
Height: 1615 mm
Turning Circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1355 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Seven years / unlimited kilometres