Reviewed for you: Kia Seltos
What’s the price and what do you get?
The Seltos line-up begins at $25,990 (driveaway) for the Seltos S front-wheel drive, which comes with 16-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, cruise control, a six-speaker stereo, auto headlights, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. It also gets low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) but if you want a more comprehensive suite of active safety features, you need to get the $1,000 optional Safety Pack on the S and Sport.
Stepping up to the Sport FWD costs $29,490 but brings with it 17-inch alloy wheels, a 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, navigation with live traffic, single-zone climate control, electric folding mirrors, an electric park brake and a full-size spare.
Sport+ is available in 2.0 FWD ($32,990) or 1.6 AWD ($36,490). It gets cloth and artificial leather-trimmed seats, keyless entry and ignition and front parking sensors. It also brings extra safety features that are optional on the lower grades, including more advanced AEB, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Finally, the range is topped by the GT-Line AWD, which is priced at $41,990. For the extra spend, you get 18-inch alloys, a sunroof (or the option of a two-tone roof), eight-speaker Bose sound system, wireless smartphone charger, artificial leather seats that are both heated and ventilated, LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and fog lights, auto wipers and a head-up display.
What’s the interior like?
In a word: stylish. Kia can point to design as one of its biggest areas of improvement in the last decade – both exterior and interior. The Seltos arguably steps it up another level, with a fresh twist on Kia’s already good looking and practical layout.
The most notable touch is to the speakers, which feature a 3D pattern on the top of the dashboard and in the doors. It adds a level of premium finish not found in its rivals. The other striking new element is the 10.2-inch touchscreen on the higher-grade models, which also adds to that prestige feeling.
The cloth trimmed seats in the S, Sport and Sport+ are nice and comfortable, and the faux-leather chairs in the GT-Line are a step up in appearance, though not as comfortable over a long journey as the fabric pews.
Overall, it’s hard not to be impressed when you’re sitting in the Seltos.
What’s the passenger space like?
The good news about Kia stretching the Seltos longer than the Kona (with which it shares much of its underpinnings) is a dramatic improvement in interior space. The wheelbase is 30mm longer than the Kona which primarily liberates more space for those in the back.
Whereas most small SUVs are cramped in the rear seats, the Seltos is surprisingly roomy and comfortable enough for adults thanks to an extra 95mm of legroom over the Kona, and the high roofline means there’s plenty of headroom.
Another benefit of the longer body is more room for luggage. The Seltos S, with its temporary spare tyre, actually has a bigger boot than the Sportage – 498L v 466. However, for the models with the full-size spare, luggage capacity drops to 433L.
What’s under the bonnet?
There's a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque and a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that makes a more powerful 130kW and 265Nm. It’s matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and an all-wheel drive system.
On paper then the 1.6 is the pick, but in the real world, the 2.0-litre isn’t the lesser choice. In fact, it impresses with the performance it has, and the CVT does an above-average job of working quietly and efficiently.
What’s it like on the road?
As impressive as the 2.0-litre variants are, the 1.6-litre turbo models do have an ace up their sleeve – multi-link rear suspension. The 2.0-litre models get a simpler torsion beam rear end, which does an adequate job but lacks the same ride comfort, even if it still is pretty good.
Like all Australian-sold Kias, the Seltos had a local ride and handling program carried out, to tune the suspension and steering to our conditions. The benefit of this is the Seltos feels controlled and responsive behind the wheel, certainly near the top of the small SUV class.
What about safety?
Even the cheapest Seltos S gets AEB as standard, and it features pedestrian detection but it only operates below 65km/h. If you want Kia’s system that works up to 85km/h and can also detect cyclists, you’ll need the $1,000 optional Safety Package. That pack also includes adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, electronic park brake, electric folding mirrors and rear disc brakes. All those features are included on the Sport+ and GT-Line as standard.
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