REVIEW | Why the Kia Seltos SUV stands out in the crowd


• The Kia Seltos is a popular small SUV in the local market.

• The 1.4 T-GDI GT Line delivers 103kW and 242Nm.

• Kia has also recently added a diesel model to its local line-up.

• For more motoring stories, go to

Stylish, smart and trendy are words that come to mind when one first sees the Seltos. The Seltos seems well-positioned below the Sportage; the upcoming Sonet will come below the Seltos. 

The Seltos is in the same class as the Creta and multiple other vehicles making this a crowded and highly competitive segment, but at first glance, it would appear that the Seltos has what it takes to emerge as a top player here; especially the GT line. With a growing young middle class in a country where the majority is under 30, the Kia Seltos is well-positioned to reach a young, techno-knowledgeable market.

Varying derivatives

Multiple derivatives of the Seltos have reached South African shores. The 1.6 litre options deliver 90kW and 151Nm. It goes without saying that the GL line derivative stands out with 103kW and 242Nm, and there's talk of waiting lists at various points. 

kia seltos rear_kia

Image: Motorpress

Interior and comfort

The Seltos operates in a highly competitive market of small SUVs, so extra space in this market gives Kia the edge. The Seltos has arguably more room for people and your weekend-away gear than its competitors.

The interior has an air of sophistication one would expect in cars that cost much more. Also, the GT line has leather upholstery, stainless steel-finished pedals and a conspicuous steering wheel.

Intelligent comfort, a welcoming interior with convenient displays, and a sophisticated audio system add to the appeal of this car. All of this is not surprising though - it is what Kia has continued to deliver over many years. 

kai seltos boot space_kia

Image: Motorpress

Safety and drive?

This Korean brand has become associated with safety, reliability, and a refined driving experience. But one needs always to remember to place the Seltos in context – it competes in a crowded small SUV market and its torque and refinement, even on bumpy surfaces, is impressive.  In the safety department, the GT line stands out again with ABS, brake assist, electronic stability control and a total of 6 airbags.

The performance on the open road is noteworthy with 7.4 litres/100km easily obtainable. 

Infotainment and connectivity

The analogue instruments add to the upmarket feel of the vehicle. The touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is user friendly and easy to read, where you can see the map on your navigation system while choosing your favourite channel. 

However, there's a fairly widely held view that the ventilation dials could have been of better quality. You have Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition, and charging USB ports for front and rear passengers.

kia seltos pos 1_kia

Image: Motorpress

In conclusion 

Several manufacturers are adding options in this small SUV/small crossover segment making choosing the right vehicle difficult. But like alluded to earlier, the Seltos has many things going for it. Among these is the outstanding reliability and safety that has come to be associated with the Seltos. Besides, the Kia is more spacious than its competitors, and the 5-year or unlimited km (with roadside assistance) and a 5-year or 90 000 km service plan is a top-selling point. While several comparative pieces (featuring its competitors) will consume a fair amount of ink in the near future, my view is that the Seltos stands out in the crowd. 

1.4 T-GDI GT LINE quick stats

Engine: 1353cc four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 103kW at 6000rpm
Torque: 242Nm from 1500 to 3200rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed DCT
0-100km/h: 9.7-seconds (claimed)
Top speed: 187km/h (claimed)
Fuel: 7.4 litres/100km (achieved)

Kia Seltos 2020 pricing

KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Manual               - R380 995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Automatic           - R398 995
KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX Manual       - R410 995
KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX Automatic   - R428 995
KIA Seltos 1.6 EX+ Automatic         - R416 995
KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX+ Automatic - R446 995
KIA Seltos 1.4 T-GDi GT-Line           - R471 995

KEEP UPDATED on the latest Wheels news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of contributors/columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24 or Wheels24.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24