seltos

What is it?

The Kia Seltos is possibly our next car.

The Sportage is getting on and I find the idea of the Seltos somehow very appealing.

It’s taken me some time to catch up with the top of the line GT-Line model which I had the opportunity to drive for an extended period over the Christmas break.

seltos

What’s it cost?

The list price of the GT-Line is $41,700.

Driveaway it’s $43,290, finished in standard Star Bright Yellow with Cherry Black Roof as pictured — there are no options.

What about a sunroof. It doesn’t have a sunroof. Can you get a sunroof? my wife asked (she’s a big fan of sunroofs and our Sportage has a whopper).

Hang on a minute honey and I’ll explain.

Standard kit includes Auto Emergency Braking (car and pedestrian), 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Lane Keeping Assist, Cruise Control, Driver Attention Alert, halogen daytime runners, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines, rear parking sensors, six airbags, six speakers and auto headlights.

At the top of the tree GT-Line gets premium artificial leather trim, two-zone climate air with rear outlets, 18-inch alloys, satnav, digital radio, wireless phone charging, auto lights and wipers and an auto dimming rear view mirror, power adjust driver and front passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, interior sound mood lighting, 7.0-inch instrument cluster for the driver, Head-Up Display, LED headlights, LED daylight running lights, LED front fog lights plus 8-speaker BOSE audio.

A sunroof is included as it turns out, but alas you can’t have a sunroof and two-tone paint too (ie. the black roof) — not sure why one precludes the other.

The full safety suite extends to six airbags, full Auto Emergency Braking (for cars, pedestrians and cyclists), Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Driver Attention Alert+, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist and Safe Exit Alert.

Not sure what the last one entails.

Seltos is available in Starbright Yellow (standard colour), while other premium colours add $520 — Neptune Blue, Gravity Grey, Mars Orange, Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey and Cherry Black.

Seltos is covered by a 7-Year Warranty, 7-Year Capped Price Service and 7-Year Roadside assistance program.

Bear in mind turbo models require servicing every 10,000km.

The first service will cost you $275, but as most people clock up at least 20,000km a year the real cost will be $741 for the first year.

Similarly the total for the second year will be $939 and the third year will be $902 — it’s all spelled out in writing beforehand.

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What’s it go like?

A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine provides motivation in this and the Sport+ models.

It produces 130kW of power and 265Nm of torque, with drive to all four wheels through a 7-speed twin clutch style automatic transmission.

Lesser models receive a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated engine with 110kW/180Nm, which is paired with a CVT style auto — but don’t be put off because it goes okay.

The dash from 0-100km/h in the turbocharged GT-Line takes 8.0 seconds and it uses a claimed 7.6 litres of fuel per 100km.

Better still it takes standard 91 RON unleaded.

There’s not a lot of difference in size between Seltos and Sportage, but the lighter Seltos does feel less substantial.

Sportage is 110mm longer, 55mm wider and has a 40mm longer wheelbase.

We should mention the Hyundai Kona too, which shares the same platform as Seltos, but is slightly smaller again, with a 30mm shorter wheelbase.

Released in 2109, Seltos was designed by Kia’s new head of styling, Byung Chul-juh, who replaced the man in black — Peter Schreyer.

“We have created a car which stands out,” the designer said.

“It’s robust yet sporty design will be matched by a wide range of features and technologies that no other car in its class will match.”

Schreyer, who’s largely responsible for Kia’s meteoric success in recent years, was replaced by Luc Donckerwolke in 2018.

Donckerwolke later resigned, but apparently he’s back again (but that’s another story).

Getting back to Seltos, it is a demonstrably marginally smaller car, but it doesn’t feel small and ticks the same boxes as Sportage, while being cheaper at the same time.

Our car is a diesel, so naturally we were looking for another diesel.

Even though the GT-Line is petrol-powered, it delivers plenty of performance and frankly outstanding fuel economy — better in fact than our diesel.

For the most part, the twin clutch auto behaves itself.

There’s different drive modes too, Normal Sport and Eco (and Eco mode in this car really works).

Surprisingly, however, it is not equipped with gear change paddles.

Usually, Eco mode is dull and lifeless and most drivers avoid it like the plague, but in this car it actually feels pretty much the same.

Seltos is quick through the gears, delivering rapid acceleration and the ability to overtake almost at will.

But at times it displays the jerkiness we’ve come to associate with the twin clutch system over the years.

The main driver of course is lower fuel consumption and here we clocked up 1375km at a rate of just 6.5L/100km.

That included a run out west to a town called Junee where we spent a night in Australia’s most haunted house (that’s another story too).

The weather was atrocious on the run down, with rain, mist and fog in one patch reducing visibility, which by the way is not terrific over the shoulder.

The steering and brakes are good and it handles okay for an SUV.

About the only thing we didn’t like was the poor ride quality delivered by the low profile 235/45 series tyres.

Suspension is Macstrut at the front with an independent multi-link set-up at the rear.

Entry models make do with a less sophisticated torsion beam rear axle.

On country roads, the ride in the GT-Line bordered on harsh at times.

And it absolutely crashed through one large pothole that we failed to spot.

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What we like?

  • Looks the goods
  • Plenty of poke
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Eco button delivers
  • Cooled front seats
  • Funky speaker grilles

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What we don’t like?

  • Twin clutch transmission
  • No paddle gear shifts
  • Missing front mats
  • No sunroof
  • Ride borders on harsh
  • Satnav won’t accept suburbs
  • Short service intervals

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The bottom line?

The Kia Seltos in top of the line GT-Line form is very much the complete package.

It looks good, goes good and is good on gas — you might say it delivers the goods.

So that’s a yes from us.

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Kia Seltos GT-Line AWD, priced from $43,290 driveaway
  • Looks - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 8/10
    8/10
  • Safety - 8/10
    8/10
  • Thirst - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Tech - 8/10
    8/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
8/10
Kia Seltos GT-Line: It's a keeper

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.