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Next-gen Kia Seltos to go hybrid as it battles Toyota Corolla Cross, GWM Haval Jolion and Hyundai Kona - report

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Kia Seltos
Kia Seltos

New reports from South Korea suggest the next-generation Kia Seltos small SUV will be offered with a hybrid powertrain.

Adding hybrid to the 2025 Kia Seltos will add to the brand’s SUV hybrid offerings, with the Sportage and Sorento already available with an electrified variant.

This will give the Seltos fire power against a growing list of small hybrid SUVs including the GWM Haval Jolion, Toyota Corolla Cross, Honda HR-V and Nissan Qashqai.

It’s not the first time there has been word of a hybrid Seltos, but what is new is that the report says it will come with the next-generation model.

The Seltos is a cousin to the popular Hyundai Kona small SUV, which is available in petrol, hybrid and fully electric guise.

The reports originated from Korean outlet ETNews, which says production of the next-generation Seltos should commence in mid-2025, meaning Australia’s first examples of the Seltos should show up as 2026 models.

Kia Seltos (Image: Tom White)
Kia Seltos (Image: Tom White)

Though not officially confirmed, the next-gen Seltos has been anticipated for some time, given the current first generation of the small SUV is approaching the end of its life, having launched Down Under in 2019.

It’s expected, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the Seltos will use the hybridised 1.6-litre petrol drivetrain currently in use for several models from Kia and its parent company Hyundai, including the closely related Kona.

What will be new for the Seltos, according to reports, is a specifically developed all-wheel-drive system, apparently a step-up from the existing one used by Kia and hoped to improve the model’s desirability in European markets where AWD is preferred. 

Kia Seltos (Image: Tom White)
Kia Seltos (Image: Tom White)

Kia’s continued push into hybridisation (along with Hyundai) has already been flagged as a key part of the company strategy, but reports also say the increased focus on hybrid models is a response from the company to the stagnating popularity of electric cars in some markets worldwide.

“As the transition to electric vehicles is unexpectedly delayed, hybrid cars have taken the lead in the global car market,” an industry official told The Korea Economic Daily earlier this year.

Many markets saw much earlier uptake in electric cars compared to Australia, and are now seeing plateauing or slowing sales as EVs became more affordable.

Chris Thompson
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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