With global sales of compact SUVs forecasted to expand from 6.5 million vehicles in 2018 to more than 8.2 million by the end of 2022, Kia is prepared to handle the rising demand with their B-Segment compact SUV, the Kia Seltos. This vehicle goes on sale in many of Kia’s global markets from the third quarter of 2019.
The Seltos is characterized by design details that blend high-tech styling, rugged SUV cladding, and a sporty silhouette for an overall youthful appearance. Smaller than its Sportage mid-sized sibling, the Seltos packs a lot into its compact footprint, with more space for passengers and luggage than any rival B-segment crossover.
Han-Woo Park, President and CEO, Kia Motors Corporation, commented, “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.”
With strong character lines, a wide “tiger nose” grille, and interesting lighting implementations, the Kia Seltos will instantly appeal to a younger market. Full LED headlamps sit above multi-layered turning indicators for a three-dimensional effect. LED “ice cube” fog lamps round out the car’s technical appearance, with wide body cladding and wheel arches, a chrome beltline, and blacked-out pillars provide some sporty flair while looking decidedly high-tech. With a wheelbase of 2,630 mm, the Kia Seltos rides on a platform that’s significantly longer than the competition, allowing for more interior room and trunk space. Despite its longer wheelbase, short overhangs measuring a mere 850 mm means its 4,370 mm length doesn’t make it much larger than its contemporaries, keeping its compact easy-to-drive characteristics intact. With a choice of 16, 17, or 18-inch alloy wheels, ground clearance of 170 to 179 mm, and an overall height of 1,615 mm, the Seltos offers a distinctly sportier silhouette than its contemporaries.
Kia has put a lot of thought into the Seltos’ cabin, reflecting the exterior’s futuristic styling cues. Everything from its knobs and switches to its steering wheel and gear selector feel great to the touch, reflecting a standard of quality that’s a bit above average in its class. A large 10.25-inch touchscreen tilted slightly to the driver handles infotainment duties, capable of connecting to two devices simultaneously. Available with an optional 8-inch touchscreen display, both systems are compatible with Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and power a BOSE eight-speaker set up. The seats are highly supportive and comfortable, featuring the ability to both cool and heat the front row passengers. The Seltos also offers more head, shoulder, and leg room in both first and second rows compared to the competition, with the rear of the cabin in particular being the most accommodating in its class. As for luggage space, its 498-liters of room for cargo puts it at the top of its class. Passengers at the rear also benefit from reclining seats from 26 to 32 degrees, and rear vents for air-conditioning at the center console.
The new model is equipped with a range of newly developed powertrains. For models built in Gwangju, Korea, the Seltos is available with a choice of two aluminum-construction engines, depending on the market. The 1.6-liter T-GDi (turbocharged gasoline direct injection) engine produces 177-Ps and 265-Nm torque, enabling 0-to-100 kph acceleration in just 8.0 seconds, and 80-to-120 kph in just 5.3 seconds. The 1.6-liter T-GDi engine is paired with a seven-speed double-clutch transmission (DCT). A Smartstream 2.0-liter naturally aspirated gasoline engine, producing 149-Ps and 180-Nm torque, is also available with power provided to the wheels through a newly-developed Intelligent continuously-variable transmission (IVT). Smartstream is the brand’s new strategy for improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions from its internal combustion engines, achieved by optimizing every component of the engine. Both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive configurations are available, with the all-wheel drive variant receiving a multi-link independent suspension set up at the rear, and front-wheel drive versions getting a semi-independent torsion beam set up. The Seltos is also equipped with large disc brakes on all four corners, with brakes ranging from 280 to 305 mm on the front axle (depending on specification) and 262 to 284 mm discs on the rear axle.
With the safety of occupants being a number-one priority for the brand in all of its cars, Kia is targeting the most rigorous safety standards in every market in which the Seltos will be sold. The Seltos has an option to be fitted with up to six airbags, as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems. These may include Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management system, incorporating traction control and electronic stability control. The car is fitted with an Anti-lock Braking System as standard, with optional Traction Control System, Brake-force Assist System and Hill-start Assist Control, as well as parking sensors, for assistance when parking. A Rear-View Monitor is also available, aiding drivers when completing low-speed maneuvers.
Sales of Kia’s new global SUV will be from Q3 2019 in Korea, with global markets including Philippines to follow later in 2019. Local specifications and pricing will be available in the coming months.
Text and photos by Chris Van Hoven