Review: 2020 Kia Seltos banner

Review: 2020 Kia Seltos

Posted in Vehicle Reviews

Review: 2020 Kia Seltos

Kia Seltos, duh! You must have heard to ad on the radio, featuring the popular song by Billie Eilish. One of the most popular artists of the moment promoting Kia's first car in one of the most popular segments on the market - the small SUV. We took the Seltos for a ride to see how it stands up against some hard-fought competition.


Futuristic!  That's the first word that comes to mind when you see the Kia Seltos. The front end is sharp, with wrap-around headlights and daytime running lights that lead into a tight grill. The sharp lines lead to the equally modern back, that hold onto the same proportions, making the Seltos look more compact than it actually is inside. Depending on the model, the Seltos comes complete with stylish 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels that complete the look. It might be Kia's first step in the world of small SUVs, but the arrival of the Seltos is a big step for this very popular market segment. One that will make life a lot harder for the competition.


Unlike some other small SUVs, the Seltos actually handles more like a normal car. Very little body roll and some stiff suspension make for a sturdy, yet comfortable ride. Kia engineers have spent considerable time adapting their vehicles to Australian conditions – which is noticeable. The steering and suspension are set up for our roads, adding to the driving experience. Thanks to its compact size, the Seltos has a small turning circle and with its big windows, looking around the car is easy when parking.

If you're picking one of the base model Seltos, you'll get a front wheel drive with a four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol engine, paired with a continuously variable transmission. Although they're known to be a little noisy, Kia managed to make it work in the Seltos.  Producing 110kW and 180Nm, it is well balanced, even when applying your right foot, it doesn't become obnoxious. That's a pleasant surprise.  If you need more, the 1.6-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that comes with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and produces 130kW and 265Nm, is for you.  You'll have to pick one of the top variants in AWD to get this engine option. Fuel economy is slightly less, with 7.6L/100km compared to 6.8L/100km for the CVT, but the driving dynamics, increase in power and smoothness, make up for this.


The Kia Seltos might fit in the small SUV segment, it's not hard to fit four adults and kids and still have a sea of room between them. The same goes for the boot space, which measures 433L, just 33L smaller then its big brother, the Sportage. Everybody can sit comfortably, especially the front passengers on well bolstered seats that give plenty of support. Due to the high seating position, the overview from the cabin is good, adding to the driving experience.

Except for the base model S, every other Seltos gets a huge 10.25-inch infotainment screen, which is easy to use and navigate through. It fits very well with the modern design of the cabin, which is sleek and without any clutter. The top-spec GT-line is also fitted with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and 8.0-inch heads-up display, which adds to the futuristic feeling.


With five different models and two engines, there is plenty of choice for whichever Seltos fits you best. Starting with the base model S from about $26k drive away, with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the most important safety tech like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and a reversing camera. Additions like Advanced Smart Cruise Control, an electronic parking brake and electric folding side mirrors, and you'll find yourself in the Sport model, which comes in just under $30k. The next step up keeping the same engine is the Sport for $33k, which will get you those stunning 17-inch alloy wheels, Satellite navigation, climate control and a premium steering wheel to make life inside just a little bit more comfortable. Both can be equiped with a safety pack for $1000, giving you all the options standard on the higher ranged models.

While the first two models are front wheel drive, Kia also offers the Seltos as an AWD, paired with the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This combination starts with the Sport+ for just over $36k, which next to the engine and drivetrain upgrade, includes Blind Spot Warning and RCCA (Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance) for safety. In addition, there is the Smart Key with push button start, and Smart remote start for comfort. At the top of the range, you'll find the GT Line (as pictured), with 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, 8 speaker Bose sound system, fast wireless phone charger, a heads-up display, heated and ventilated front seats in leather, and the cool looking LED headlights and daytime running lights. For all of this, you're in the low $40k's. This is a step up from the base model price, but it does come fully loaded.

Plus, it comes with Kia's famous 7 Years Unlimited Kilometre warranty and capped price servicing, a definite plus.


It was about time that Kia entered the small SUV market - with the Seltos they did so with a bang. It's small on the outside, big on the inside – with an optimal use of space. The Seltos is easy to handle around town, yet doesn't struggle on the highway either. You can take it anywhere if you fit it with the AWD system, and will probably be able to fit whatever you need inside. You'll look good while doing it too, because the Seltos is undeniably a good looking car. Futuristic and sharp, so what else can you ask for?

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