Kia kept its promise: three major launches in one year to complete their 10-vehicle lineup, and they don’t seem to be done just yet.
“I promise that good surprises will go on next year,” said Ted Lee, Kia Motors Asia Pacific president, at the regional launch of their latest crossover, the 2020 Kia Seltos.
It slots right beneath the Sportage but looks bigger than contemporary crossovers. “Our exterior boasts of a +75 and +205 mm length compared to competition, making it comparable to SUV’s above its segment,” said Kia Motors Philippines president, Manny Aligada.
That extra size also translates to bigger cabin space because of its longer wheelbase. With 60/40 split-folding, fold-flat rear seats, Aligada adds that it can even accommodate long outdoor equipment for the sporty types, which happens to be the target market of the Seltos.
The overall design isn’t over the top. In fact, quite the contrary. Its general image and shape is very conservative, utilitarian even, but it makes up for it with several exterior features.
It comes with an eye-catching chrome grille garnish, a chrome beltline molding, a C-pillar garnish, and a tailgate garnish, plus the usual skid plate and wheel arch cladding.
Ground clearance is more SUV-like, which made getting in and out a little easier than newer, lower crossovers. The extra millimeters of the wheelbase made a palpable difference inside, especially in the second row. There’s a good amount of legroom and height to make it more comfortable shifting seats or reaching forward to plug a USB in. The rear seats have two-step reclining function (Seltos exclusive): step 1 has an angle of 26-degrees and step 2 reclines by as much as 32-degrees.
Its steering wheel comes with audio controls and remote switches for the multi-information display in the instrument panel, and all trims get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Kia is pretty proud about the new shape of the gear shift knob too, optimized to provide a better grip.
All trims get the same engine — a 2.0L Atkinson Cycle gasoline engine — that puts out 149 PS and 179 Nm of torque. It is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that the automaker calls Intelligent Variable Transmission because it uses an algorithm to reduce RPM drops (normally felt with CVTs) while providing a more conventional ‘shifting’ feel. Three driving modes will be available: Econ, Normal, and Sport.
To reduce noise, vibration, harshness, whether on idle or in transit, Kia has fitted the Seltos with ‘Bonnet Insulation’, a feature more commonly seen in diesel-powered vehicles.
The three trims and the SRPs of the 2020 Kia Seltos are: LX at Php 1.098 million; EX at Php 1.198 million; and the top-of-the-line SX at Php 1.498 million. But wait there’s more! Until the end of November, Kia Motors Philippines is offering a Php 50,000 discount on every unit.
It will come in seven colors: Starbright Yellow/Cherry Buck (SX only), Clear White/Cherry Black (SX only), Gravity Gray, Iron Gray (EX and LX only), Starbright Yellow (EX only), Dark Ocean Blue, and Mars Orange (EX and LX only).
“I am confident that the Seltos will be a true game changer in the small SUV segment. To develop this model, Kia’s product development team has worked harder than ever as you would see in the design details applied to both its interior and exterior – which are difficult to find in its class. In terms of quality, I am sure that the Seltos will never disappoint our customers in the Philippine market. In J.D Power’s annual U.S. Initial Quality Study, Kia was once again named the top non-luxury automaker for new-vehicle quality this year. Kia has earned this honor for four years in a row. This truly shows how Kia’s excellence in quality controls and I strongly believe that the Seltos will drive the quality index, which will result in better scores next year,” added Lee.
Text and photos by Eric Tipan