Kia Australia finally has the sub-Sportage SUV it's been crying out for, a competitor to hot sellers such as the Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda CX-3, Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai.
The 2020 Kia Seltos (derived from ‘Celtos/Celtus’, son of Hercules/Heracles, in case you were wondering) will introduce a boxier new design language, class-topping infotainment, and more interior space than most rivals when it arrives in Australian dealers around October this year.
Let's also not forget its global significance, outside of Europe in particular where Kia has a different car called Stonic. Kia expects global sales of compact SUVs like this to expand from 6.5 million vehicles in 2018 to more than 8.2 million by the end of 2022.
The Seltos's new design stands apart from its stablemates, for better and worse. It's square-edged with short overhangs, and a wide grille design with tactile diamond-pattern framing and nifty LED daytime running lights spanning almost the entire width. The light show includes ‘3D’ indicators and fog lights that resemble ice cubes.
To some eyes in the office, mine included, it looks a little busy and fussy. However I found it much more resolved and aesthetic in the metal, and the right colour. It comes in eight hues and with the option of a black or white contrasting roof.
This is good since market research shows the target demographic for small SUVs demand bold offerings.
At 4370mm nose-to-tail, the Kia Seltos is larger than most rivals (about 200mm longer than the Hyundai Kona) and on par with the Qashqai. It’s also only 115mm shorter than said Sportage, and a meagre 40mm shorter between the wheels.
How Kia differentiates its pair of SUVs will be interesting, though its Australian management suggests the average Seltos buyer will be about a decade younger, and comprise a higher proportion of women. Read more