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Kia Seltos 2020 review: GT Line

Kia's Seltos SUV may be small on the outside but is bigger than expected inside.

On paper, the Kia Seltos is a small SUV, but step inside this car and you’ll soon see it has more space than expected.

It’s still smaller than Kia’s mid-size offering, the Sportage, and it competes with cars like the Honda HR-V, Toyota C-HR, and Hyundai Kona

I’m in the GT Line which is the top-of-the-range and costs $41,900 drive-away, but there are several models in the Seltos line-up, starting at around $26,000, so don’t be put off by the price. You choose which car you want depending on what features are important to you and your family.

Here’s how the Seltos GT Line did when I test drove it over a week for this family review. 

✅ How does it look?

Kia's gone for a funky vibe with the Seltos, with lots of angled edges and sloping lines to give it a sporty look that’s also quite futuristic.

The GT Line comes in a two-tone paint job which seems to be gaining popularity with car companies now, and has a very wide black grille at the front, which is also a modern twist. 

The GT Line comes in a two-tone paint job. The GT Line comes in a two-tone paint job.

The interior continues the cool theme and everything is well placed. On this top model there are 'premium' seats in a faux leather which are also heated and cooled, and a premium steering wheel and gearshift - both feel great to touch and I particularly like the wide, flat design of the shifter. 

The interior continues the cool theme and everything is well placed. The interior continues the cool theme and everything is well placed.

The centre console looks stylish with a few high gloss accents and everything is functional as well as slick, especially with the 10.25-inch multimedia screen which feels huge in this car. 

There are a fair amount of man-made materials used on the dash and doors but the overall finish doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, it felt good to drive all week.

✅ How does it drive?

The driving is good in the Seltos, even if the steering does feel heavy for a small SUV - it’s not as agile as it could be but as the week wore on, I got used to the steering and didn’t notice it as much.

There’s a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine in the model I drove which gets up hills easily and cruised along highways perfectly fine. 

This is the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine model. This is the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine model.

This car also comes with all-wheel drive, which will give you better traction on slippery and loose surfaces like gravel, dirt and snow. It always makes me feel more confident driving the car even if I’m just driving through suburbia. 

Parking the Seltos is good as the car is well sized and there is a large, high definition reverse parking camera to help you out

✅ How spacious is it?

I was quite surprised when I found out the Seltos was considered a 'small' SUV because it doesn’t feel as small as some others in the category.

Leg and head space in the front is ample and the space between front passenger and driver is also large enough that you don’t feel cramped or like you’re going to rub shoulders. It’s good for a small SUV. 

Leg and head space in the front of the Seltos is ample. Leg and head space in the front of the Seltos is ample.

My two children, aged six and eight, had plenty of space in the back this week. They were comfortable and not close enough to encourage bickering (always a bonus).

Even CarsGuide's resident tall guy, Richard Berry, has enough leg room in the back of the Seltos. Even CarsGuide's resident tall guy, Richard Berry, has enough leg room in the back of the Seltos.

I could fit neatly at 161cm and even CarsGuide's resident tall guy, Richard Berry, says he has enough leg room in the back of the Seltos which means almost anyone will be able to fit in there! 

The boot is large, too - 433L means it’s one of the biggest in the class and it fits the bulky CarsGuide pram without any trouble.

At 433L the Seltos is one of the biggest boots in the class. At 433L the Seltos is one of the biggest boots in the class.

The lower you go in the range, the bigger the boot gets because the GT Line has a full-size spare tyre which takes up more room, but lower grades get a space saver spare which means more boot space (but also more annoying if you get a flat tyre). 

The GT Line has a full-size spare tyre. The GT Line has a full-size spare tyre.

✅ How easy is it to use every day?

There are quite a few things included in the Seltos GT Line's price. The driver’s seat is 10-way adjustable and there is an optional sunroof (it’s either the two-tone paint job or the sunroof, not both).

There are three USB points in the car and storage is good with two cupholders in the front, a large centre storage bin, a spot for keys and a phone in the front and bottle holders in each door. 

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest, a pocket on the back of the front passenger seat, and in the GT Line you’ll also get rear air vents which is a rarity in this category. 

It’s a good height off the ground for young children to be able to climb into and it’s a convenient size to park every day, and also do U-turns which you’re often unable to do in a larger car. 

The Seltos is a good height off the ground for young children to be able to climb into. The Seltos is a good height off the ground for young children to be able to climb into.

✅ How safe is it?

In the top-spec GT Line everything comes standard, but that's not the case for all the other models, so again, choose what is important to you and your family. 

In this version, you’ll get airbags to cover driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. 

In the top-spec GT Line everything comes standard. In the top-spec GT Line everything comes standard.

Then you’ve got features like auto emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control and rear cross traffic alert. These are optional on lower models. 

You’ll also get two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix kids car seats in safely. 

The 2020 model hasn’t been tested for ANCAP safety yet but this model is expected to get a maximum five stars.

✅ What’s the tech like?

Plug your phone in to activate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which turns the screen into a large version of your phone. You can use maps to navigate and Spotify to listen to music and podcasts. 

This model is also the only one fitted with Bose speakers so turn the sound up to enjoy them. 

This GT Line model is the only Seltos fitted with Bose speakers. This GT Line model is the only Seltos fitted with Bose speakers.

One thing that does get tired with Kia is all the road rules and safety warnings that interrupt the audio as you’re listening. It can be turned off (though I've never managed to work that out) and means you can miss vital seconds on the podcast you’re listening to because the car is warning you about an upcoming speed camera. But the tech, itself, is great. 

✅ How much does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Kia Seltos GT Line is a good small SUV. It ticks all the boxes like good interior space, it drives well, has good safety, and most importantly (in a small SUV for a family) still has enough boot space.

I gave it a family rating of 7.7 out of 10 and my kids gave it the same. They love the air vents and the two tone paint job. 

Likes

Large multimedia screen
Good safety
Large boot

Dislikes

Heavy-ish steering
Incessant safety warnings
Pricey

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

3.9

$40,900

Based on new car retail price

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