Kia Motors has revealed some key details about the all new Seltos set to compete in the ever-growing Small SUV market segment. The Seltos is set to square up with strong selling Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Mazda CX-3, and upcoming CX-30. The 2019 Kia Seltos is due on Australian shores in October 2019 and although pricing is not confirmed, we expect it to start at around $25,000 driveaway for the S model, with the top GT Line model costing a little under $40,000 driveaway.
Having taken their time entering the small SUV segment and having studied successful vehicles on the market, there will be no excuses to perform once the Seltos reaches Australia. Kia CEO Han-Woo Park has stated that “the Seltos is an important car for Kia as it will play a central role in our international growth.”
The Seltos is being offered with two engine choices in Australia, a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated ‘Smartstream’ engine producing 110kW/180Nm in the base model that will be mated to a CVT gearbox driving either front or all wheels. In the higher trim models a peppier 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine that produces 130kW/265Nm that has been a performer in other Kia and Hyundai models driving either the front or all four wheels through a seven speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The Seltos’ exterior is boxy, though eye-catching with Kia’s signature LED lights and ‘tiger nose’ grill which lend the Seltos a distinctive look. As for subjective good or bad we’ll hold off commenting until we can see one in the metal, though for better or worse it does bear some resemblance to Skoda’s current crop of SUVs.
Kia are claiming “class-leading space” with the new Seltos and that certainly stands true in the boot department, offering huge boot space of 498 litres, significantly bettering direct rivals (Mitsubishi’s ASX offers 393 litres) and even rivaling its bigger Sportage brother. Cabin storage is good too, with plenty of cubby holes, a 60:40 flat folding rear seat, and a boot floor that can raise or lower by 110mm. The Seltos’ wheelbase is generous at 2630mm which will offer good legroom for rear-seat passengers, and the square roofline should afford a usable rear seat even for the taller crowd.
In the small SUV market segment the Seltos offers stand-out safety equipment. Included standard is ESC, and 6 airbags, with optional AEB, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, driver fatigue warning and level two autonomy in the form of Kia’s ‘Lane Follow Assist’. Although exact specifications are yet to be confirmed for Australian models, we can expect sharp pricing across the board on safety features. As for ride and handling the Seltos is equipped with Macpherson strut front suspension teamed with torsion beam rear suspension in front wheel drive variants, with a more sophisticated multilink set-up for the all wheel drive models, closely mirroring its Hyundai Kona cousin with which it shares a platform.
Aiming at “youthful, tech-savvy buyers” kia has equipped the Seltos with a comprehensive suite of tech. A large 8.0 inch touchscreen and Apple Carplay/Android Auto come as standard, with an optional – and biggest-in-class – 10.25 inch touchscreen display available with split-screen functionality that allows multiple sources of information available on screen together. Thankfully, Kia has kept the HVAC controls separate from the touchscreen which should allow easy and fuss-free adjustment. Other optional tech includes wireless smartphone charging, an 8.0 inch head up display including nav and other info, and the option of a Bose premium audio system.
Kia’s choice to chase the small SUV market is likely to be lucrative, as it’s a segment that has and will continue to grow in Australia as passengers cars become less popular. If the excellent practicality, safety features, tech, and value the Seltos offers can be teamed with a solid drive and decent interior quality it could be set to topple the apple cart of well established players in the market, but we’ll have to see how that plays out when we get our hands on one.