Car Review - Kia Seltos 1.4 SX (A)

10 Sep 2020

[This article was first published on]

With ample equipment, practical space and a well-sorted drive, the new Kia Seltos is a compact SUV that delivers plenty of top value for your dollar.

The Kia brand has generally always delivered good value for your dollar. Yes, it might not have the same brand recognition and clout as its Japanese counterparts, but it manages to make up for it with sharply-styled cars packed with ample equipment and on-road quality.

The latest addition to the Kia roster is this car - the brand new Kia Seltos. It's a compact SUV that sits, size-wise, between the Stonic compact crossover and the Niro SUV (as well as the Sportage, which is presently not sold in Singapore).

Biggie crossover

Measuring 4,315mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,645mm tall (with roof rack), the Seltos is slightly shorter but taller than segment-leading cars like the Honda HR-V and the Toyota C-HR.

However, looking at it you sure couldn't tell. That's largely down to the bold and extroverted styling. The front-end, with its squarish head lights, boxy grille and wide and low bumper, definitely has more than a hint of a Range Rover Evoque. It certainly accentuates the car's size and girth.

Kia Seltos The front of the car bears more than a passing resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque (that's a good thing)

Is it the prettiest design? No, probably not. The overall design is quite busy, and it probably will be somewhat divisive, but for a car that's purposely trying to set itself out from a crowd often derided as plain and uninteresting, we reckon the bold design works.

Space force

The interior is a pleasant space to be in, and you are greeted by a generous amount of equipment that has come to define Kia's value proposition. In this SX variant, you get a 10.25-inch infotainment system that's straightforward and simple to use, and it delivers ample functionality and connectivity including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

10.25-inch infotainment system This SX variant gets a 10.25-inch infotainment system

You also get ventilated seats, which is a godsend with our sweltering hot weather. The car also comes equipped with a wireless charging pad, although the charging tray is quite narrow, which can make retrieving your phone a little bit troublesome. And, this SX variant also features a head-up display.

The interior also manages to feel quite spacious. Rear legroom is agreeable for all but the largest adults, and the boot can swallow 433 litres of cargo.

433-litre boot The 433-litre boot will see to all your hauling needs

That said, the design of the interior is also rather busy, with numerous different design elements going on. The seats feature a honeycomb pattern, while the speaker grilles have a geometric pattern onto which mood lighting is projected on (six different colours in all). It's not the most congruous design in the world. And, we have to admit that the cabin doesn't feel quite as upmarket or premium as the exterior would suggest, with plenty of hard plastics used throughout.

Sensible footing

On the road, the Seltos is a fairly straightforward affair. You do sit quite high up, which gives you good visibility of the road. The steering is light, body roll evident but well-controlled, and the car is reasonably nimble for its size. The ride is comfortable and forgiving, with the suspension capable of dealing with all but the worst tarmac imperfections.

The engine is a willing if slightly rough-sounding unit. With 138bhp and 242Nm of torque from the turbocharged 1.4-litre, the Seltos accelerates capably and feels unstrained even at 100km/h. And for 90% of the time when you're driving lightly, the overall sense of refinement is pretty good. Noise insulation is good, and the car never feels tiresome or difficult to drive.

1647_33_l The turbocharged 1.4-litre lump produces 138bhp and 242Nm of torque

Value choice

For drivers in the market looking for an affordable and capable compact SUV, the Seltos definitely ticks a lot of boxes. The bold design may take some getting used to, especially for older drivers used to a more restrained design language.

Still, the car undeniably delivers plenty of value for its $114,999 asking price. It's more expensive and better-equipped than the Honda HR-V (which is a much older model), and more affordable and practical than a Toyota C-HR.

So, is the new Kia Seltos value for money? Most certainly.

Kia Seltos The Kia Seltos delivers plenty of value for your money

Learn More About the Kia Seltos

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