Back in the olden days, long before anyone discovered America or Australia, there was a Greek god called Heracles, (the Romans called him Hercules) who was the son of Zeus and a lass named Alcmene, who was a mere mortal.
In mythology, Heracles was famous for his immense strength and his numerous far-ranging adventures.
Then, after a fling with Celine, the hot daughter of Bretannus, a son, named Celtos, was born.
So what’s that have to do with the latest SUV from Kia?
Well, Kia just changed the C in the original name to an S.
However, unlike Heracles, the Seltos is not immensely muscular, but there’s no reason you can’t have numerous far-ranging adventures in it.
What’s it cost?
The svelte small SUV, available with a choice of 2.0 normal and 1.6-litre turbo power, is built to appeal to “youthful, tech-savvy buyers, with a striking design inside and out and packed full of our most cutting-edge technology and safety equipment.”
Well, there y’ go.
There are five Seltos models with a $16,000 gap between the S and the GT-Line.
The front-wheel drive 2.0litre S costs $25,990 drive-away, an S with the Sport pack is $29,490, then then come two Sport+ models, one with front wheel drive and 2.0-litre motor at $32,990, and the other with the stronger 1.6 tube and all-wheel drive, at $36,490.
At the top of the tree is the GT Line AWD, which for $41,990, comes with everything any ‘youthful, tech-savvy buyer’ ever thought of.
Transmissions also differ between models. The S versions have CVT, the turbo charmers get a 7-speed auto dual clutch system.
Power between the two engines are also noteworthy: 110kW/180Nm in the 2.0-litre, 130kW/265 in the 1.6 turbo.
Unique to all Seltoses – or Selti in Latin – are lovely almost smoochable ‘lips’ in the form of the chromed grille surround, which is finely dimpled.
Kia call it a ‘diamond-pattern surface.’
I always had a thing for dimples.
The GT-Line packs endless features, among them climate control, heated and cooled front seats, reversing camera, parking sensors fore and aft, satnav, wireless fast phone charger and an 8-speaker Bose audio system, magically linked to the car’s 8-colour selectable mood lighting system, as it was in Kia’s early Soul models.
I loved it. The speaker surrounds pulse in time with the music, adding a touch of chutzpah and exclusivity to your drive.
If you’re worried you might be over the speed limit, well, the Seltos has a clear speedo, a digital read-out on the heads-up display – and another small window alongside the speedo for a third indication of your velocity. Can’t say you didn’t know.
There’s also a bright red strip on the dash that advises of your level of alertness. If it’s not at full stretch, well, you’d better park and have a long black or a sleep before you become a mobile menace to society.
Then, for those who nod off while waiting for the traffic lights to change to green, there’s an alert that lets you know the vehicle in front of you has moved on and that you’re holding up all the traffic behind.
Plus a lot of other safety features you also never thought of, all packaged in with the sextet of airbags and multiple electronic aids in a shapely body made up of a blend of high-strength steel and aluminium.
The GT Line also has a glass sunroof, runs on lovely 18-inch alloy wheels, a clear instrument cluster, pretend leather seat trim, LED head, daylight running lights, fog and taillights, even aeroblade wipers.
The cabin has more leg and headroom than most, extra storage in the doors and centre console, the rear seat back has a recline feature and it has a 60:40-split to fold down flat in case you get carried away at Ikea.
What’s it go like?
With all that going for it, what does it drive like?
Pretty well. Good acceleration (zero to 80km/h in 7.8 seconds by our Zobo) effortless cruising, good mid-range punch to safely zip past those long, lumbering caravans – and impressive fuel economy.
We averaged 7.7L/100km on our usual mix of driving conditions, and mostly in ‘normal’ drive mode.
You can also select ‘eco’ or ‘sport’ with the latter upping the revs by about 500 rpm and slightly sharpening steering responses.
Front suspension is by Macstrut with an independent multi-link set-up at the rear. Some lesser Selti get a torsion beam rear axle. It’s common knowledge that all Kias sold in Australia get an uprated suspension especially tuned to our road surfaces.
The car runs well, steers and brakes well, has very good and spacious accommodation and a big (433 litre) cargo area and its looks, especially with those dimpled lips, can stir up romantic feelings among mere mortals.
And let’s not forget, the Seltos comes with a 7-year warranty, 7 years of capped-price service costs and up to 8 years roadside assistance.
If you don’t like the standard Starbright Yellow colour, for an extra $520, you can get yours in premium shades such as Neptune Blue, Gravity Grey, Mars Orange, Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey and Cherry Black. Couple of two-tones as well.