Evidently, there’s a lot riding on the new Kia Seltos, according to company officials. Rather than just being another compact SUV, a nameless volume seller to fill any gaps in a large (and still growing) segment, the Korean automaker claims that it has a larger role to play in their elevating their global presence.
Given that it’s a Kia and assuming it will be priced smartly, the buying public will likely start swarming showrooms in all or most of the markets it enters. However, rather than being a commodity, the company intends it to impress upon these new customers certain attributes.
Hopefully, if the Seltos’ run is characterised by satisfied owners, this message of sophistication and high technology will permeate through out the line-up and colour its stablemates with the same positive presumptions.
“In the Seltos, we have created a car that can fulfil the diverse needs of customers in markets all around the world. Aimed at youthful, tech-savvy buyers, with a striking design inside and out, the car is also packed full of our most cutting-edge technology and safety equipment.” - Mr. Han-Woo Park, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation
The Seltos is due to make its on-sale debut in Australia in Q4 of 2019 and we won’t get a proper idea of what the local range will look like until that launch date nears. However, if what their initial equipment list is any indication, standard equipment levels look to be high.
Starting off, it’s likely LED headlamps, fog lamps, and tail lamps will come fitted to all variants, while alloy wheels are also standard fit and come in size between 16- and 18-inches. Inside, the cabin has been designed with high quality materials and features an asymmetric layout that’s more driver focused than most.
On higher grades, a large 10.25-inch landscape touchscreen infotainment system dominates the centre console while the HVAC control are also replaced by touch sensitive surfaces for a cleaner and more minimal switchgear spread. Here, vehicle information is also fed through a head-up display.
Kia claims the Seltos has the largest cabin and boot of any B-segment SUV currently on sale. The wheelbase of 2630mm leaves plenty of passenger space to be properly packaged around seating arrangements, where the 60:40 split second row folds completely flat. Left upright, however, and boot space is quoted as 498 litres and has an adjustable two-step cargo floor.
A 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine will likely be the most popular choice of engine. The familiar T-GDi unit produces 130kW and 265Nm and mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic which can supply drive to either the front pair or all four wheels. Additionally, a 2.0-litre naturally aspired petrol motor is also on offer. Called the Smartstream, it produces a more modest 110kW and 180Nm and sends its power through a CVT.
In terms of safety, there are six airbags as well as a suite of driver aid systems - passive and active. These include Active Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and, presumably, AEB.
Kia is due to begin sales of the Seltos this month starting with its home market of South Korea with global markets to follow throughout the remainder of 2019, including Australia.