Four derivatives are on offer including a range-topping 1.4 turbo. Picture: SUPPLIED
Four derivatives are on offer including a range-topping 1.4 turbo. Picture: SUPPLIED

SA’s burgeoning compact SUV class has another new contender in the form of Kia’s Seltos.

Directly pitched against the recently launched Volkswagen T-Cross, which has established itself as one of SA’s best-selling cars after just a couple of months on the market, the Seltos arrives in four versions priced between R354,995 and R444,995.

At 4,315mm in length, the Seltos has a size advantage over its rivals. It is longer than the 4,235mm T-Cross and outsizes other competitors such as the Hyundai Kona (4,165mm), Citroën C3 Aircross (4,154mm) and Renault Captur (4,211mm).

It has become an exceptionally competitive sector of the market as buyers increasingly move away from sedans in favour of SUVs and crossovers with their higher ground clearance and perceived superior utility.

In just the past couple of months the segment has seen the introduction of the T-Cross and C3 Aircross, while Hyundai SA is to launch its Venue compact SUV in the coming weeks.

All Kia Seltos variants come standard with LED Daytime Running Lights at the front, as well as front fog lamps. On the higher specification models, the fog lamps, headlights and indicators are full LED, with similar treatments for the rear lamps.

The Seltos is aimed at customers who “appreciate the fun side of life”, says Kia, a fact reflected by the vehicle’s modern and funky styling. Apart from a range of solid colours, it is also available with three two-tone options: white with a black roof, red with a black roof, and orange with a white roof.

All derivatives are front-wheel drives and there are three specification grades, a choice of three engines and three transmissions offered.

The top-of-the-range Seltos GT-Line gets snazzier seats. Picture: SUPPLIED
The top-of-the-range Seltos GT-Line gets snazzier seats. Picture: SUPPLIED

The entry point into the range is the Seltos EX, which comes with features such as aircon, automatic headlights, cloth upholstery, central locking, multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, USB charging points for front and rear passengers, and a 20cm colour touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone mirroring.

It is powered by a 1.6l petrol engine with outputs of 90kW and 151Nm, for claimed performance figures of 0-100km/h in 11.2 seconds and a 175km/h top speed.

Customers have a choice between a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic transmission.

The mid-level Seltos EX+ uses the same engine but with the auto gearbox only, and adds features such as leather upholstery, a centre console armrest and larger alloy wheels (17” vs 16”).

The range-topping Seltos GT Line ups the ante in terms of design, power and features. Its more extravagant plumage includes sporty satin chrome and red trim and bespoke 17” crystal-cut alloy wheels with red brake calipers. All exterior lights are upgraded to full LED units, with unique 3D layered indicators at the front.

On the inside, the interior gains bespoke GT-Line leather upholstery with matching embroidery, as well as a sporty D-shape steering wheel and stainless steel pedals.

In addition, the Seltos GT-Line has a Drive Mode Select system with Normal, Eco and Sport modes. Though there’s no all-wheel drive, the GT-Line has a 2WD Terrain Mode offering Snow, Mud and Sand settings that tailor power for maximum traction on slippery roads.

The GT-Line also debuts a new Kia engine in the form of a 1.4l petrol turbo with 103kW and 242Nm. Paired with a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the flagship Seltos is rated for a 0-100km/h sprint of 9.7 seconds and a 189km/h top speed.

Safety fare in all Seltos derivatives includes six airbags, ABS brakes, as well as rear park distance control and a reverse camera. EX+ and GT-Line models also have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

A 1.5l turbo diesel version will join the Seltos line-up in the first quarter of 2020, with pricing to be announced closer to the time.


Prices

Kia Seltos 1.6 EX Manual — R353,995

Kia Seltos 1.6 EX Automatic — R371,995

Kia Seltos 1.6 EX+ Automatic — R389,995

Kia Seltos 1.4 T-GDi GT-Line — R444,995

Prices include an unlimited kilometre/five-year warranty with roadside assistance, and a five year/90,000km service plan.