There’s a new Kia in town and it’s called the Seltos. Sitting just below the Sportage in terms of size and specs, the Seltos takes the fight directly to compact crossovers like the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota C-HR, effectively sparking a Korean assault on a segment long dominated by the usual Japanese suspects.
Local distributor Naza Kia Malaysia has just opened the order books for its latest B-segment product that shares a fair amount of similarities with the upcoming Hyundai Kona. There hasn’t been any mention of pricing yet but we have a relatively good idea of the variants on offer – a base EX and premium GT Line (pictured) – as well as the powertrain and features they’re equipped with.
Instead of a highly-touted 1.6L Turbo from Hyundai-Kia's diverse engine arsenal, the 2020 Kia Seltos we’re getting is essentially powered by the same 121PS/151Nm powertrain found in the Kia Cerato, with power delivery managed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia claims there’s enough power on tap for you to max the Seltos out at 175kph, though getting there in an SUV that measures 4,315mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,645mm tall will probably take a while.
On the bright side, Naza Kia Malaysia has kitted the Seltos rather generously to make up for what it lacks in outright performance. Leather seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android auto connectivity, rear AC and something Kia calls “Sound Mood Lamp”, which is essentially an ambient light show that syncs to your music, are all standard across both EX and GT Line models on sale in Malaysia.
The range-topping Seltos GT Line gives you a fair amount of additional goodies to differentiate itself from the EX. A pair of ventilated seats (great for Malaysian weather!), head-up display and a wireless charger are all part of the package. Cosmetically, the GT Line is the sportier of the two as well, with aggressive cladding, red accents and 17-inch alloys. Even the Seltos’s LED “Heart Beat” exterior lighting is unique to the GT Line – it’s the one to get for drivers who want to stand out in the dark.
Whether the sum of these features can sufficiently outweigh the Kia Seltos’s lack of grunt remains to be seen. There might still be some surprises in store for when the car is officially launched in due time. Either way, the Seltos is certainly one of the more unique offerings in its segment in any case. Are you convinced?