Kia South Africa launched an all-new SUV into the local market at the very end of 2019. This week we had the opportunity to sample the Kia Seltos at the national ride and drive media event.
Kia South Africa has an SUV to suit most price points. The current range includes Sorento, Sportage and, as of now, the Seltos. Each model occupies a step on the ladder of SUV ownership.
Modern looks and generous dimensions
All-new for the brand, the Seltos is the smallest of the Kia SUV family. It has a fresh new appearance that will turn a few heads. The multi-layer headlamps are quite distinctive, and feature LED daylight running lamps. The sense of modernity continues inside where Kia has used a quality palette of materials for the trim and there are crisp graphics in the instrument cluster and infotainment system.
Though the images may show otherwise, the newcomer is not a large SUV, certainly not as large as a Toyota RAV4 or Nissan X-Trail. However, it does beat its nearest rivals in most exterior measurements. Kia Seltos pricing (below) seems at odds when compared with its physical size. There is room aplenty for passengers and luggage. Incidentally, Kia sees the Hyundai Creta, Toyota CH-R, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Duster among its closet rivals.
Click here to read our review of the Kia Sportage.
Kia South Africa has decided to launch the Seltos locally in three flavours: EX, EX+ and GT-Line. Standard across the range is air-conditioning, electric windows, a touchscreen infotainment system (with Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple Carplay), cruise control, auto-on lights, six airbags, ABS with EBD and alloy wheels. EX+ and GT-Line add larger alloys and leather trim, among other things.
All EX versions are powered by a 1,6-litre naturally aspirated engine (90 kW/151 N.m). In the case of the EX grade the engine can be mated with a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. EX+ versions are automatic only. Stepping up to the range-topping GT-Line brings with it a 1,4-litre turbocharged mill (103 kW/242 N.m) that is mated solely with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
On the road
We had the opportunity to sample the EX+ and GT-Line versions on the local launch event. Our first taste was of the turbocharged GT-Line. Kia’s development in terms of engine and transmission refinement has come a long way. The motor has good punch from low down and the dual-clutch transmission goes about its duties unobtrusively. The suspension, too, belies its rudimentary torsion beam rear arrangement. Comfort levels are on par with any other else in the segment.
Later that same day we stepped into the naturally aspirated EX+ variant. Kia SA cleverly chose a flatter route for the car with less torque. We did miss the lack of oomph while trying to overtake slow-moving traffic. Given the choice, and if your budget stretches, we recommend the GT-Line version.
Since the Kia Soul silently slid off the SA sales charts, Kia has not been able to offer a small crossover model to compete against the slew of models on offer from its rivals. The Kia Seltos helps to place the brand back into the list of potential SUVs for buyers on a budget. Kia SA has countered with a larger vehicle, good standard specification and aggressive pricing.
Seltos 1,6 EX Manual R353 995
Seltos 1,6 EX Automatic R371 995
Seltos 1,6 EX+ Automatic R389 995
Seltos 1,4 T-GDi GT-Line R444 995
All prices include an unlimited mileage 5-year warranty and a five-year/90 000 km service plan.