Had the pleasure to drive the Kia Seltos on test recently. It’s another compact SUV or Crossover that has reached these shores. But is it? Or does it stand apart from it’s many rivals. We unpack the features of the Seltos in the next few paragraph’s. Well known for it’s superior build quality, the Seltos holds the promise of a top class offering.
The all-new KIA Seltos stands apart from its rivals thanks to its sophisticated, sporty exterior design and the space and capabilities of a traditional SUV , from the wider ‘’tiger nose’’ grille, which is a key Kia design feature, to the chrome detailing along the window line, which gives the look of a ‘’floating roof’’. At 4,315 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,620mm high, the KIA Seltos not only looks much bigger than its closest competitors thanks to its long hood, the strong character line on the front bumper, and the sharp lines pressed into the bodywork, but is easily one of the largest and most practical compact SUVs available today.
Wheel arches feature black cladding to underline the crossover nature of the car. The rear bumper features a three-dimensional surface treatment with an integrated metallic-look skid plate, as well as a dual chrome muffler garnish (model dependent). In combination with the chrome-look tailgate garnish, which connects the taillights horizontally, the width of the Seltos is emphasized for a sporty yet planted stance when viewed from the rear.
All models are equipped with LED Daytime Running Lights at the front, as well as front fog lamps across the range. On the higher specification models, both fog lamps, headlights and indicators are full LED, with similar treatments for the rear combination lamps. So we get the message, the Seltos is a looker.
Coming in three fun-filled models, starting with the not so entry-level EX MODEL, the EX has all this as standard features: air-conditioning (manual), automatic headlight control (including an ‘escort’ and ‘welcome home’ function), electrically adjustable side mirrors with integrated indicators, cloth upholstery, steering wheel-mounted remote controls, electric windows, cruise control, and an 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates a radio with RDS, linked to six speakers. Seltos is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone mirroring, as well as Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, and has charging USB ports for front and rear passengers.
The KIA Seltos EX rides on 16-inch alloy wheels shod with 205/65R16 rubber. A full-sized spare wheel is standard.
Power is courtesy of a 1.6-litre Multi-point Injection (MPI) engine. The 1,591cc ‘Gamma’ engine develops 90 kW of power and 151 Nm of torque. Acceleration to 100 km/h takes 11,2 seconds, with a top speed of 175 km/h. Customers have a choice between a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission, with both available from launch.
The mid-spec KIA Seltos is also available with the 90 kW 1.6 petrol engine, but is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Apart from the extensive features already included in the Seltos EX, the EX+ specification also includes an upgrade from cloth upholstery to leather upholstery (including leather trim on the door panels), while the electrically adjustable side mirrors gain an auto-folding function. Front passengers will also experience increased comfort thanks to the addition of a centre console armrest with an integrated storage box, as well as 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/60R17 tyres (also with a full-sized spare wheel).
Seltos – GT-Line
Seltos GT Line adds sporty satin chrome and red trim, with gloss black and satin chrome detailing on the front grille, as well as bespoke, 17-inch crystal cut alloy wheels with red brake callipers. All exterior lights are upgraded to full LED units, with unique 3D layered indicators at the front.
On the inside, the interior gains bespoke GT-Line leather upholstery with matching embroidery, as well as a sporty D-shape steering wheel and sporty stainless-steel pedals. GT-Line models are also equipped with mood lighting, designed to highlight the design of the door-mounted speaker housings. The system offers six different colour themes and eight colours, accessed and controlled through the touchscreen infotainment system. Customers can change colour based on their mood, and even adapt the intensity of illumination based on volume.
In addition, Seltos GT-Line also debuts a new version of KIA’s Drive Mode Select system, incorporating a 2WD Terrain Mode. Drive Mode Select allows drivers to adapt the car to their preferred style or the road conditions, with a choice between ‘Normal’, ‘Eco’ and ‘Sport’ mode. The Eco mode is tuned to maximise fuel efficiency through various fuel-saving measures, while Sport mode increases responses from the steering and electric motor to maximise the dynamic driving feel of the car. Normal mode provides a careful balance between the two. 2WD Terrain Mode also offers three modes (‘Snow’, ‘Mud’ and ‘Sand’), each designed to tailor power and torque to ensure maximum traction on slippery or sandy roads. All modes are accessed via a single dial located above the gear shifter.
The KIA Seltos GT-Line also debuts a brand new powerplant to the KIA line-up in the form of a 1,4-litre T-GDI (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine. The 1,353cc ‘Kappa’ engine develops 103 kW of power and 242 Nm of torque, available between 1,500- and 3,200 r/min. The new 1.4 T-GDI engine is exclusively paired with a new-generation 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) which not only aids fuel efficiency, but also acceleration. The sprint to 100 km/h is completed in 9,7 seconds, with a top speed of 189 km/h. CO2 emissions in the combined cycle is 143 g/km.
So, out of the three, I drove the EX plus, which was great, but I would have liked testing the 1.4 L derivative in the GT-Line as well, to get a counter point. The EX had sufficient albeit not thrilling power in the Jozi traffic, and it was a smooth, quiet drive.
The Seltos is an easy ride, with little hardness or vibration from the road, thanks to the underbody which is designed to absorb and disperse impact energy, while hot stamping technology is used to reinforce the core vehicle body members, ensuring a high torsional rigidity as well as a low body weight that not only enhances occupant safety, but also reduces road vibrations.
Seltos makes use of a McPherson strut at the front, with a torsion beam setup at the rear.
All models are equipped with six airbags as standard: one for the driver, one for the front passenger, two side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as two side curtain airbags that stretch across the length of the cabin. All Seltos models also feature ISOFIX child seat anchors, ABS brakes, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), as well as rear park distance control sensors and a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines, integrated into the vehicle’s touchscreen infotainment system. Central locking and an immobiliser are also standard across the range.
EX+ and GT-Line models are also equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).
As with all KIA models, all KIA Seltos models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading Unlimited Kilometre, 5-year warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance), and also include a 5-year/90,000km Service Plan.
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Manual R 353,995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Automatic R 371,995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX+ Automatic R 389,995
KIA Seltos 1.4 T-GDi GT-Line R 444,995
Summing up, the Seltos is a strong contender in the B-SUV segment, and should garner good sales once the covid-19 lethargy has dissipated.