KIA Seltos Review (Updated 2020)

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The Seltos also has a comprehensive list of features that elevates itself from similar compact SUVs in the market like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR, which it competes with.
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Introduction

The KIA Seltos is a car that is designed to fit the model of an ideal compact SUV. The features of the car, with its modern technological system and practical functions are an upgrade. This is especially so when it is compared to the previously released KIA Stonic in 2019, which was successful because it was spacious, stylish, and had huge value for money. The Seltos also has a comprehensive list of features that elevates itself from similar compact SUVs in the market like the Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR, which it competes with.

KIA wanted to give its new model a name that represented strength, speed, and sportiness. So it took the first letter of the three words, ‘S,’ and applied it to a name derived from Greek mythology, ‘Celtos’, who was the son of Hercules. The Seltos was also named to represent Celtos’s fearless and assertive character.

KIA Seltos Exterior

The KIA Seltos is considered big for a compact SUV, but not by a lot. It has a height of 1620 mm, a width of 1,800 mm, and a length of 4315. This means it is roomy inside for the driver, the passengers and especially, their cargo. Aesthetic-wise, it has an exterior design that is sporty and fresh because of its angled edges and muscular shoulder lines. It also looks very modern with its sloping lines and a crisp and smooth finish.

On first impression, the front, and grille are one of the first things that stands out as it is beautifully designed with new diamond-like detailing over the signature tiger-nose grille. The KIA Badge is embossed over a clamshell bonnet and it is accompanied by a pair of elegantly crafted LED Headlights at the upper level, LED turn signals in the middle level, and the cool ice cube-shaped fog lights at the bottom level. At the back, there is a pair of heartbeat LED Tail lights, a Dual muffler design, and a beautiful chrome line that melds into the D-Pillar. Overall, it looks strong and sporty and has a style that is distinct and balanced.

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Distinct and balanced style

Moving on to the practical aspects of the design, it has a ground clearance of 190mm so going over potholes and bumps will be much smoother. Also, it has a good height for young children to climb into.

KIA Seltos Interior

There is a constant challenge when designing a Compact SUV to have an interior that is as spacious as possible but with a smaller frame. While the car has a slightly bigger frame compared to the average Compact SUV, it means the Seltos prioritised spaciousness. The design of the Seltos fulfils its role wonderfully as being practical for everyday use and is one of the huge selling points for the car.

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Spaciousness prioritised

The inside feels roomy for the driver and passengers as it provides enough headroom, shoulder room, and legroom. The cargo room is impressive for a small SUV with a capacity of 433 litres. The space increases to 1393 litres when the rear seats are pushed down and can easily fit a few luggage and backpacks.

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Impressive cargo room

The dashboard consists of a floating 8-inch, high definition touch screen that is located high on the dashboard with a simple layout of controls, buttons, and knobs. There is an option available later on to opt for the 10.2-inch screen. The highlight of the dashboard is the Multi-information Display (MID) and the Heads-up display (HUD). Located between the speedo and tachometer is the (MID) which has a 7-inch colour display screen that gives the driver details on things such as Tyre Pressure and mileage. Also, on top of the dashboard and directly in front of the driver is the (HUD) which is a useful feature for the driver as it displays the speed without needing to look down at the speedometer, providing both convenience and style.

The design of the steering wheel makes it feel light and smooth when holding on to it and has a flat bottom. The wheel also serves as a remote control where on the right side, it controls the infotainment system and the cruise control button. On the other side, there are buttons to control the volume and media, phone controls and a button to change driving modes.

The driver’s seat has an eight-way adjustable and a seat height adjuster making outward visibility great. The rear seats also have a two-step recline option with good under-thigh support and both front and back seats have cushion tilt so that resting during the ride is more comfortable. For young family owners, the rear seats also have two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids’ car seats safely.

The only downside is that because both the front and rear seats are ventilated, the rear AC Vents give lesser legroom for the middle seat. However, the effective ventilation provided does come with the benefit of greater ride comfort, especially during those hot, Singapore days.

KIA Seltos Performance

A unique feature of the Kia Seltos is its ability to offer three different drive modes, normal, sporty, and eco. The benefit of the Sports Transition mode is that it quickens the shift of gears with a faster response but while doing that, it burns more fuel. The Eco mode, however, gives more fuel efficiency. The Seltos GT-line offers a 7-speed Dual-clutch Transmission (DCT) which is designed to shift gears faster, smoother, and with greater efficiency, even in normal mode.

While handling the car on the road, acceleration can be described as smooth and assertive with a level of refinement and coordination. The transmission changes up quickly in normal driving mode at 2000 rpm while also providing a slightly quick response with a downshift from the DCT. The gearbox also slots into different gears seamlessly. It is overall stable to drive and responsive to inputs from the driver. It gives you a smooth driving experience with relative comfort because it has a smoother transmission and also because of its suspensions, which ensures that even on uneven roads, you can still drive with ease. The car’s engine is a Kappa 1.4 litre turbocharged engine that is slightly more powerful than most of its competitors.

One critique is that steering can be slightly heavy and tighter at high speeds but this is something that you can eventually get used to after a while. Turning doesn’t pose an issue when parking and its size makes it convenient to park. You can also do U-turns which are not possible in larger cars. Overall, the car offers an appropriate and consistent effort in steering at different levels and the Seltos feels light and sharp on the road despite it being a larger than average compact SUV.

The Seltos can hit 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds which is fairly good. There is, however, a speed warning built into the system which will sound off for a few moments when it hits 80km/h but will consistently beep when it hits 120km/h. This is a safety feature that may be frustrating but can be turned off. The car also delivers fairly good fuel efficiency and savings with 6.3L / 100km.

KIA Seltos Safety

The KIA Seltos is a high tech car with a comprehensive set of features and a number of them are dedicated to the safety of its driver and passengers. One of the key features is the 360 degrees camera with images that are displayed on the high definition 8-inch console screen. There is a rearview monitor and a blind view monitor so that every angle of the car is covered leaving no blind spots. The rearview monitor is, of course, used while parking and reversing and is accompanied by rear sensors.

The blind view monitor is activated when the turn indicator is flicked, showing the blind spots at the side of the car. This is particularly useful when driving in narrow streets. Another key feature is the standard brake-based Torque Vectoring Corner Control system which allows the car to tackle corners while maintaining its stability. To alter the grip and bite offered by road, the Seltos also gives 3 traction modes – Mud, Snow/Wet, and Sand when driving on different road conditions.

Aside from that, there is a whole host of driver assistance tech such as:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Driver monitoring system
  • Lane-keeping assist system
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Pedestrian and cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability
  •  

It also comes with additional safety features such as:

  • Six airbags
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Vehicle Stability Management
  • Hill Start Assist
  • Brake-force Assist
  • Rear occupant Alert system: to Warn parents from accidentally leaving a child in the SUV

KIA Seltos Features

The KIA Seltos really shines in this area because aside from fulfilling its obligatory role of being a practical SUV, the additional modern features offered here are what really gives it character. There are a few highlights that make the car stand out. This is a high tech car that lets you plug your smartphone to the car’s USB, and turn the smart display screen into your smartphone. The 8.0-inch infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay / Android Auto connectivity and allows a split-screen with the native infotainment system. You can then start playing your favourite songs or podcast on Spotify while using Google Maps to navigate.

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Providing both convenience and style

The Seltos comes installed with a premium BOSE sound system that produces audio sounds that are clear and crisp and the speaker grilles are designed with fractal-textures making it look edgy and unique. Accompanying the BOSE speakers is the sound mood lighting system which makes the door surfaces glow and pulse to the music creating an amazing ambience. The system has eight colours and six themes for you to choose from. This turns the car into a music sanctuary where sound and sight is connected to the beat of the music.

Another special feature of the Seltos is its addition of a smart air purifier which both purifies and then measures the air quality in the vehicle. It also offers three preloaded fragrances to choose from giving your car a premium air quality and fresh smell consistently.

A few other additional features are:

  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Electrochromic mirror
  • Push-button ignition
  • An automatic climate control system

Summary

To describe the Seltos and the compact SUV market, it could be compared to the smartphone, where every new model or iteration is designed to maximise as much screen space as possible in an appropriately sized device. This is to ensure that the phone is easy to carry while user experience is enhanced. If you convert that to Compact SUV terms, the car is designed to be as spacious as possible in a compact frame while retaining its function and practicality. The Seltos does all of that while adding a whole load of features and with a design aesthetics that is pleasant to the eyes as it gives off a muscular and sporty look. It puts in the effort to be as practical as SUVs are known to be, but with more character and style.

It goes on sale for $116,999 inclusive of COE with an EX Variant that will be released in the latter half of the year for less than $90,000.

Verdict

What we like
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What we do not like
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Editor’s recommendation

KIA Seltos Specifications

Engine

Gasoline 1.4 T-GDI 

Max Power

140 / 6,000

Max Torque

242 / 1,500 – 3,200

Gearbox

7-Speed DCT 

0-100K / H

9.8 seconds

Consumption

15.9km/L

Price (Including COE)

$116,999 (no VES rebate/surcharge)

Agent 

Cycle and Carriage KIA

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