KIA Seltos

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 30 August 2020

Story by William Leong, Melbourne, Australia, before he was locked down by the pandemic.

The Kia Seltos first appeared in South Korea in July 2019, with Australia’s launch in October 2019. (The name refers to the son of Hercules – and the marketing focus is indeed on young buyers).

It should be available in Malaysia priced around RM130,000 as soon as matters between Naza and a new assembly partner are finalised.

The Seltos is called a compact SUV, but it is not much smaller than the existing mid-sized Sportage. Long wheel base and maximised use of space inside make it capable of comfortably housing 5 occupants with plenty of leg, shoulder and head space all around.

Comparing this new SUV to Kia’s existing Sportage, there are a number marked differences. The front has layers of wide curving surfaces, and a wide clam-shell look bonnet and diamond pattern grill, with lights and openings all part of that transformation. The straight line bottom of the clam-shell bonnet continues along the side, fading into the front door, and then re-appearing on the back door to sweep around the rear, to give a distinctive styling to the car. Overall it’s intriguing and interesting.

Although you might say the general shape is similar, the front has very different treatment to the Sportage. Another difference is the angled up-sweep of the back corner pillars, creating better rear vision for the driver than the Sportage rear pillers, which rise vertically and obstruct vision more.

The four Australian specification grades for the Seltos are

S and Sport, both front wheel drive with naturally aspirated multi-point injected 2 litre 4 cylinder engine and CVT transmission, and both with safety pack option ($1000 extra),

Sport+ with 2-litre engine, or with smaller but more powerful 1.6 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, coupled with a more fancy 2nd generation 7-speed dual clutch transmission,

CVT or DCT and FWD or active AWD (part-time and lockable), and 2-litre engine option


GT-Line – only available with 1.6 litre turbo engine, DCT and active AWD.  Has Led lighting,

The GT-Line model is clearly the preferred choice, and costs the most, however, we had the 2-litre base model S grade to try out, and found its performance to be very satisfying.

As with all Hyundai and Kia models, this car was tuned under the exhaustive Local Ride and Handling program over thousands of kilometres, to adapt it where necessary for Australian conditions, and driving it around; we found it to be very dynamically competent, tight and precise on manoeuvring, and adept at absorbing and handling speed humps and road corrugations.

The electrically powered steering functions really well with lots of feedback. The CVT transmission is excellent, and the 2 Litre motor is responsive with very adequate power for its intended use.

No doubt the 1.6-litre turbo would be even better.


Adjustability, versatility and forward-thinking features were top of mind in the design, with a simplified and elegant layout. Some features include 10.5 inch hd touch screen, ventilated and heated front seats and Bose premium speaker system with sub-woofer on GT-Line, sound mood lighting, fast wireless charging, and optional sliding sun-roof.

Driving aids and safety wise.

The chassis comprised extensive use of advanced high-strength steel, The Seltos has some of the most advanced aids and safety features available, some of which include –

Active or passive cruise control, tilting and telescoping steering, AEB, Side door impact beams (front & rear), Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Stability Control, Downhill Brake Control, Hill-start Assist, Seatbelt warning chime & light on all positions, Reverse park sensors & front on Sport+, Park sensor dash display, Rear view camera with dynamic parking guidelines, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Alert,  High-mount rear stop light, Halogen daytime running lights, Dusk-sensing automatic headlights, Rear fog light, Child restraint anchorage points (3 anchors + 2 ISOFIX positions), 3-Point ELR seatbelts on all positions.

This car has quite a big range of specification options available, depending on how much you want to spend, but knowing that the base model is very impressive, take it from there. It is very impressively styled and current, and is really good to drive, roomy and capable.

The engine needs a service every 15,000km or 12 months, and servicing rounds out to approximately $380 per year.


Engine: 2L naturally aspirated multi-point injected inline 4 cylinder, or 1.6L turbo 4 cyl

Transmission: CVT or DCT

Max Power kW: 110 @ 6,200, 130 @ 6,000

Max Torque Nm: 180 @ 4,500, 265 @ 1,500~4,500

Suspension: Macpherson strut front, coupled torsion beam or multilink rear

Fuel: regular unleaded, 50 Litres tank

Economy L/100km: 5.5/8.8 or 6.3/9.5

Dimensions mm: L 4,370 W 1,800 H 1,650 WB 2,630

Luggage Litres: 433, 1393 rear seats down

Turning Circle metres: 10.6

Tare Weight kg: 1,355, 1,470 with DCT

Towing kg: 600, 1,100 braked, 1,250 with DCT, 130 towball download

Cost: Drive away prices on offer when checked were

About $26.69k for S, $30.19k for Sport, $33.69k for Sport+ (extra $3.5k with DCT), and GT-Line $42.69k.

Kia has an unlimited kilometre, 7 Year Warranty.

Capped Servicing: Maximum for specified maintenance services, 7 years or 105,000kms. Complimentary Roadside Assistance first year. Renewed yearly by completing scheduled  services, max 8 years.


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