New KIA Seltos SUV launchedBy khulekani / on Feb 21st, 2020 / in Car Reviews, featured
By Otsile Kadiege
We attended the launch of KIA’s all-new Seltos at the beautiful Mother City. You might be asking yourself why launch the Seltos now after possibly seeing it on our roads or maybe when you already bought one. Well, KIA SA explained that the Seltos was introduced to our market earlier than expected. So, market launch was prioritized before media launch.
The B-segment SUVs name was inspired by Greek mythology “Celtos”, the son of Hercules. The C was replaced with the letter S because all current and future KIA SUVs will have names beginning with an S. The S also emphasizes “Sportiness” and “Speed” of the (current) baby Kia SUV.
Arriving at the Mother City
Upon landing we gathered and were chauffeured to the hip Raddison Red Hotel where we attended a short presentation and stayed there overnight. After the presentation we stepped outside and met a fleet of KIA Seltos waiting for us. I was quick to pick my favourite of the lot, the range-topping Seltos T-GDI GT-Line painted in Intense Red. Other trims available are the entry-level EX and EX+ trims. There are 10 colours to choose from including the Punchy Orange which can be obtained via special order.
Design of the GT-Line
Whilst snapping photos for the internet, I was blown away by how beautiful and premium looking this car is. The tiger-nose grille surrounded by chrome-like materials, flanked by full-LED lights and turn signals, and a skid plate gives the Seltos an aggressive rugged look. Exclusive to the GT-Line is the crystal-cut 17-inch alloy wheels with red trim. A similar aggressive rugged design seen at the front has been carried over to the rear with chrome trims on the boot-lid and rear-bumper.
Time not being on our side, we quickly chucked our luggage in the decently sized (433-litre) boot and drove out to our lunch spot. Whilst en route the interior looked and felt very premium, but it is let down by use of hard plastic on the dashboard and door panels. This is not unique to Kia though but a common feature in the segment.
Standard across all trims is an intuitive 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with good graphics and good reverse camera resolution. It also comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. More standard equipment includes 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and cruise control.
The ride quality is good and the leather seats are not only pretty, but also very comfortable. The cabin is well insulated, blocking much of the exterior noise from entering the cabin, but there is noticeable wind noise coming from the side mirrors when travelling at higher non-jail time speeds.
The 1.4-litre turbopetrol engine (only available with the GT-Line spec) producing 103 kW of power and 242 Nm of torque is an absolute gem. It’s very frugal and up to task when you need to get going. Chucking it about s-bends left me and my co-driver with huge smiles on our faces. The 7-speed automatic (again only available in the GT-Line) is a good transmission that likes the open road.
After our lunch stop, we swapped the GT-Line and drove back to the hotel in the EX+. The EX+ is not as appealing as the GT-Line but still is quite a looker. Missing inside is the drive mode select (with three modes being ‘Snow’, ‘Mud’ and ‘Sand’), red stitching, piano black panels on the centre console and keyless start/stop. Thankfully, it is equipped with leather seats. The naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine producing 90 kW and 151 N.m which is mated to a 6-speed automatic was less exciting and shouts at you when putting your foot down on the accelerator pedal. It is best suited for driving in town where you do not need to hurry it or for leisurely drives on to the coast when time is not an issue.
The entry-level EX was unfortunately unavailable at launch. It has the same power figures as the EX+ and a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The SUV segment is highly competitive in Mzansi and the KIA Seltos, with its competitive pricing, generous standard equipment, on-road manners and good built quality, is ready to take on its competition, like the Hyundai Venue, Volkswagn T-Cross and Renault Duster, head-on.
Here’s the pricing for all three trims if the KIA Seltos:
1) KIA Seltos 1.6 EX MT R 353,995.00
2) KIA Seltos 1.6 EX AT R 371,995.00
3) KIA Seltos 1.6 EX + AT R389, 995.00
4) KIA Seltos 1.4 T-GDI GT-Line R444,995.00
The pricing includes KIA’s industry-leading Unlimited Kilometre, 5-year warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance), and a 5-year/90,000km Service Plan.
A 1.5-litre CRDI (Common Rail Diesel Injection) engine will join the Seltos line-up in the second quarter of 2020, also available with a choice of 6-speed manual or automatic transmission. Pricing will be announced closer to the local introduction.