Review - Kia Seltos

AF By Alexi Falson June 29, 2021

image for Review - Kia Seltos With competition in the compact SUV market hotter - and more crowded than ever - it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate the pretenders from the true performers in the segment. Since its introduction, the Seltos has impressed consumers and reviewers alike with its no-compromise approach to the compact SUV, which is typically a segment that can leave some buyers feeling shortchanged.

In its latest iteration, though, Kia has increased some of the prices across the board for the Seltos, so let’s find out whether or not it remains one of the best value propositions in the fiercely competitive compact SUV segment.

Starting Price: $26,790

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How Much Does It Cost?

The Kia Seltos range kicks off at $26,790 (before on-road costs)  in the form of the base model S fitted with front-wheel drive, which can be optioned with a safety pack for $1,000. The range moves to the Seltos Sport, which is priced at $29,790, and is available with the same safety pack for $1,000. The Seltos Sport+ is priced from $33,290, while the all-wheel drive version brings the total to $36,790. Finally, Kia’s range-topping GT-Line comes with an AWD system, and has a sticker price of $42,200. 

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What Features Does the Kia Seltos Have?

The Kia Seltos in its entry-level form comes fitted with 16-inch steel wheels, reversing camera, cruise control, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, automatic halogen headlights with daytime running lamps, air conditioning, a six-speaker sound system, as well as autonomous emergency braking with car and pedestrian detection, driver attention alert and lane keep assist systems.

The optional $1,000 safety pack adds advanced smart cruise control, an electronic parking brake, folding side mirrors and 15-inch rear disc brakes.

Stepping up to the Seltos Sport adds a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, full-sized spare tyre, larger 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia system with satellite navigation and DAB radio, fog lights, climate control and a premium steering wheel.

The Seltos Sport+ receives front-mounted parking sensors, blind-spot assist, keyless entry and push-button start, a mixture of cloth and faux leather trim, rear cross-traffic alerts and blind spot assist. The all-wheel drive Sport+ is powered by a more powerful engine, and also receives an AWD system and multi-link suspension setup.

Kia’s flagship Seltos, the GT-Line is fitted with LED headlights, running lights and fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, power adjustable driver and passenger seats, automatic wipers, heads-up display, wireless smartphone charging, eight speaker BOSE sound system, heated and ventilated seats, ambient lighting and 7-inch display for the driver.

Range Features:

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Reverse camera & rear parking sensors
  • 16-inch steel wheels (base model)
  • 17-inch alloy wheels (Seltos Sport)
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen with sat-nav & DAB radio
  • LED headlights, fog lights and daytime running lights (GT-Line)
  • Panoramic sunroof (GT-Line)

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

It’s important to note that there’s two engine and drivetrain options available in the Seltos range which have an impact on its overall driving dynamics. The base models are powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with a CVT transmission, while the more expensive variants get a smaller 1.6-litre turbocharged engine with a dual-clutch transmission. The unit powering the base models is relatively uninspiring, but gets the job done in terms of moving off the line with the smoothness of a CVT transmission.

It’s hard to ignore, though, the added power and refinement of the smaller turbocharged unit with that dual-clutch transmission, which makes the Seltos significantly more engaging to drive. Overall, though, both powertrains are more than adequate for the average driving cycle, and are fitted with suspension that works hard to iron out the frequent bumps and irregularities of Australian roads. The steering is featherweight, which means the Seltos is extremely easy to pilot at low speeds and park in the tight confines of the urban environment. At speed, this lightweight steering takes away some of its driving dynamics, but as a package, the Kia Seltos is an accommodating and friendly car to pilot. 

Is it Practical and Spacious?

The Kia Seltos is more than capable of accommodating a five-person family and their belongings for a holiday road trip. Up front, the cabin is extremely spacious, with clever packaging that centres on practicality and opening up as much room as possible for occupant comfort. More often than not in compact SUVs, sacrifices are made in this sense. Thankfully, we can report that the Kia Seltos won’t make you compromise interior space, and is actually one of the segment’s leaders in terms of its space and practicality.

The rear of the cabin offers enough space for tall adults, meaning families with teenagers shouldn’t hear too many complaints from the back seats on longer trips. In terms of cargo storage in the boot of the Seltos, the cheaper models actually come with more space on offer, due to the more expensive models coming fitted with a full-sized spare tyre. This means there is 493L of cargo storage in the S and Sport models, while the Sport+ and GT-Line offer 433L of storage in the boot.

Is it Safe?

Kia’s Seltos has been awarded the maximum Five Star Safety Rating from ANCAP, and offers a few safety technologies as standard in the base car, like six airbags, autonomous braking, driver attention warning and lane-keep assist. The majority of the safety features, however, are reserved for either the optional $1,000 safety pack, or the more expensive models, meaning the Seltos lacks some of the appeal in this regard over its key competitors.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

As we’ve mentioned, there’s two engines in the lineup which offer different economy figures. The base models are officially rated at 6.8L per 100km on a combined cycle, while the 1.6-litre turbocharged unit is rated at 7.6L per 100km. Real-world driving figures will likely see these figures rise to over 7L and 8L respectively, meaning the Seltos struggles to keep up with some of its rivals in terms of fuel economy. If you’re looking for the cheapest option in terms of running costs, the base model’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder is the economy pick.

Our Verdict: Is the Kia Seltos Worth it?

The Kia Seltos does an admirable job at ticking all the important boxes for a compact passenger SUV, while adding some bonuses of its own. It is arguably the largest car in the segment, offering more practicality and space than its key rivals and coming close to stepping on the toes of some medium-sized SUVs. In terms of the question we posed at the beginning of this piece, the Seltos is no pretender, and represents one of the best value picks of the market, so long as you pick your model carefully.

To make things even more attractive, Kia has one of the best ownership programs in Australia, with a seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty with seven year’s worth of capped price servicing. If this is getting you excited, get a free quote and see how much Georgie can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Steel wheels standard on entry-level S
  2. Alloy wheels and larger infotainment system fitted to Sport variant
  3. CVT Transmission
  4. Two engines: 2.0-litre base, 1.6-litre turbo Sport+ & GT-Line
  5. All-wheel drive system limited to Sport+ and GT-Line variants 

Pros

  • Significantly more spacious than most compact SUVs 
  • Seven-year warranty with capped-price servicing
  • Generous standard equipment on base S model

Cons

  • Some safety equipment remains $1,000 option
  • Pricey GT-Line range-topper that borders on mid-size SUV prices
  • Not the most economical compact SUV

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