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Kia Seltos 2020 review: Sport

The Kia Seltos is a stylish and spacious entrant in the small SUV market.

After a small SUV? They’re a very handy size, the small SUV. It’ll fit a family of four - five at a stretch. You won’t have bucketloads of room but there’s more space than a hatch and it’s higher, too.

This week I test drove the Kia Seltos, which is a new entrant to the market and a pretty good one at that.

It’s in competition with cars like the Hyundai Kona, the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Honda HR-V. I was in the Seltos Sport, which is smack bang in the middle of the range and costs $28,490, before on-road costs. Here’s how it did with my family over a week of driving.

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How does it look?

It’s a sharp looking car; fresh and modern. The side profile is sporty and tapers upward toward the back. It has a slightly butch grille at the front and black rubbery accents on various exterior points which helps with the rugged finish.

The side profile is sporty and tapers upward toward the back. The side profile is sporty and tapers upward toward the back.

Inside looks quite good. Being in a low price bracket the finishes aren’t premium but the design really helps with it feeling premium regardless.

The seats are cloth and feel good to the touch, they’re also comfortable. The steering wheel isn’t leather, but looks and feels it. The centre console design is clear and functional.

The steering wheel isn’t leather, but looks and feels it. The steering wheel isn’t leather, but looks and feels it.

Nothing super snazzy to Instagram about but you do feel good driving this car. I like the interior a lot more than several of its competitors.

How spacious is it?

The Seltos fits my family of four nicely. I have young children aged six and eight, so I’m not trying to fit in leggy teenagers, though I think it would take those taller quite easily. It’s not a huge car but has a good amount of interior space.

It’s not a huge car but has a good amount of interior space. It’s not a huge car but has a good amount of interior space.

There’s enough leg and head space in the front seat even for the taller members of my family, and it feels spacious in between driver and front passenger so you don’t feel cramped. 

Taller people will be fine in the back. Taller people will be fine in the back.

I was able to fit in the backseat at 161cm (5'3") and there is plenty of room between my knees and the seat in front of me, taller people will be fine back there. I wouldn’t be fitting three child seats across the back unless I was super desperate to do so, definitely not for every day.

The boot is also quite big for a small SUV at 433L. The boot is also quite big for a small SUV at 433L.

The boot is also quite big for a small SUV. 433L means it will fit a pram or some suitcases. It’s a good shape, too, and I was able to fit a number of boxes in there this week.

How does it drive?

Compared to some of the other cars in this category, I prefer the Seltos. It feels solid and smooth and more like a larger SUV, even though it’s not.

This Seltos Sport has a 2.0L, four-cylinder petrol engine. This Seltos Sport has a 2.0L, four-cylinder petrol engine.

This Seltos Sport has a 2.0L, four-cylinder, petrol engine and gets around really nicely. It gets up hills quickly enough and is quite agile on the road, without the heavy lag factor.

I also did a little highway driving and it’s sizeable enough so you feel confident while coasting along at a good speed, so you can overtake when necessary. This model is a 2WD but there are AWD versions in the range if that’s what you prefer. 

The size is also compact which means it’s an easy car to park. There’s a good reverse parking camera so you can see behind you while squeezing in.

How easy is it to use every day?

Practicality is key when you’re driving your family around every day and the Seltos Sport is an easy car for the kids to climb into and get out of - very important when they like to take their time anyway.

There are two cupholders in the front, a decent centre storage bin and bottle holders in the front doors. There are two cupholders in the front, a decent centre storage bin and bottle holders in the front doors.

This model has manually operated front seats and keyless entry, but it’s not a push start model. There are two cupholders in the front, a decent centre storage bin and bottle holders in the front doors. 

Rear passengers miss out on directional air vents and there are no cupholders in the rear on this model. You get two USB ports in the front console which are good to charge devices though none in the back. Still, it’s a small SUV and that is usually the case in this category.

The size is also compact which means it’s an easy car to park. The size is also compact which means it’s an easy car to park.

There is a full size spare in this model which will really make a difference if you like going on road trips.

How safe is it?

The Kia Seltos was awarded a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019. For advanced safety, it has auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assistance (which is actually quite strong and kept me in check around curves), adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot warning, and front and rear parking sensors, which also warned me of a cyclist this week.

The Kia Seltos was awarded a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019. The Kia Seltos was awarded a full five ANCAP stars when it was tested in 2019.

You’ll get airbags to cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that go to the back row. There are also two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fit kids car seats in safely.

What’s the tech like?

How much does it cost to own?


The Wrap

The Kia Seltos Sport is a great option for those families who want more than a small hatch and even other smaller SUVs out in the market, but don’t want a huge car. It has great interior space, looks good inside and out, drives well and is good value for money.

I gave it a family rating of 7.8 out of 10. My kids gave it the same, they like the big multimedia screen.

Likes

Exterior design
Good to drive
Comprehensive safety

Dislikes

No rear air vents
Fuel consumption could be better
No rear USBs

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

3.9

$25,990 - $47,990

Based on 48 car listings in the last 6 months

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