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  • TheMotorist Team

Driven Review: Kia Seltos 1.6EX+ Auto

With the Crossover SUV market bursting at the seams with all the new sub-compact offerings, the Seltos’ relatively silent entry into the market came with it some severe favour amount buyers with the top-spec GT-Line proving ever popular in the sales. The launch earlier this year saw us spend some time with the crossover, but an extended drive of the more sedate 1.6EX+ variant makes for a more rounded opinion of the Seltos range.

Kia Seltos 1.6EX+ Cabin and interior features

The list of draw cards in the Standard features list with the Seltos is expansive and properly impressive at this price point. The EX + serving as the idea price entry point at sub R400k. The list of standard features is long and expansive but the cabin ability to be spacious and full of light even with dark materials is impressive.

Prospective buyers will be pleased to know that the Seltos’ perceived interior quality is generally good, but we do have a few gripes. -Firstly, we don’t particularly like the piano black finish that features on the instrument binnacle-which sits bolt upright and looks rather odd in itself. The lower console, because it attracts dust and fingerprints; we anticipate one would have to keep a microfibre cloth in the car to wipe the panels down regularly. It’s also worth noting that the material quality of the heating, cooling and ventilation dials could be better; they look and feel marginal. The 8-Inch touchscreen infotainment system is connected enough to belong in a modern car, Android Auto & Carplay systems work rather effortlessly with the user-friendly menus and Voice Control. The EX+ only has a single front USB with other for the rear but also support fast charging which proves very handy. Other standard fair include the usual mix of the multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, electric folding side mirrors, electric windows, rear park distance control and a reverse camera. Possibly the most unique feature is the ambient lights that pulsate and illuminates door cars in tune with the 6-speaker system.

Kia Seltos 1.6Ex + Practicality

In terms of the proportions, the Seltos benefits from being a newly developed vehicle give of the Korean automaker’s attention to detail. Being 4135mm long the Seltos benefits from having a 433litre boot space yet still managing to leave enough room in the rear for adults. This is a statement not true for all crossovers and having jumped into the Hyundai Venue directly after for example. Read our Hyundai Venue Review here- The rear is a comfortable space to be with ample head, shoulder and arm personal space, with room for drinks via the large door cards of the folding armrest. The seats are bolstered and supportive and still comfortable and plush yet still offer a 60:40 folding split configuration. The loading space is massive and no lip intrusion and seats that fold almost flat opens up van like levels of haulage.

Kia Seltos 1.6EX+ Driving impressions

Powering the Seltos is a 1.6litre naturally-aspirated engine that produces 91kw and 151Nm, which are not the strongest of numbers for what is effectively a sizeable 1.3-ton vehicle which is primarily focused at family duties. This creates the following issue with respects to the Seltos but a few of its key rivals like the Suzuki Vitara, Ford Eco Sport and sister car Hyundai Creta. The driving position benefits from the steering that offers both height and rake, front seats that provide endless adjustment in the quest of the perfect driving position. The steering is very well weighted without feeling wholly numb and sharper than you expect from a subcompact, I’d like to go as far as calling it dynamic and confidence-inspiring enough for any family car and impressive for an SUV. Ride comfort is cripplingly crucial, and the Seltos passed with flying colours with a compliment and supple enough dampening to making it very pleasant. The issue we assessed earlier about small naturally aspirated engines in larger vehicles, is possibly the most significant deciding factor to this vehicle and the segment as a whole. The low outputs result in a slightly more engaged drive and require more of an understanding of limitations at points. The 6-Speed Automatic transmission does the job well enough but “Kickdown acceleration” is not as impactful as you would like even when fully unladen, which translates equally poorly in fuel consumption which is claimed at 7.9L/100 which is far off the best of 10.9L/100 as tested. The lack of power at altitude can be solved with the higher Spec GT-Line, but at R444 995 it’s considerably more expensive, and the mid-spec EX+ provides a strong case for the range. The underwhelming engine shouldn’t spell to much give then the Seltos has done something brilliantly. It’s essential to note that Kia’s direct rivals suffer from the same problem but fail to match the build quality and practicality.

Kia Seltos 1.6EX+ Auto in South Africa

Priced at R405 995 the slight premium over its main rivals makes the Korean attempt at the subcompact market hugely impressive. The comparison to segment leader VW T-Cross (to which it strongly contests) is inevitable, The benefit of having a more energetic powerplant and the appeal of the VW brand to many comparatively to many fails to offset value. To this, the Seltos range is tremendous, and the price entry point, size and practicality as a family car makes outstanding arguments. This segment is currently the boiling pot for carmakers, and KIA has done a rather good job here. A significant statement for the consumer with the millions of numbers and dimensions that make up this segment. The anticipation of the 1.5litre turbodiesel engine before the Covid-19 epidemic was closing with the options of manual and automatic transmissions. KIA is doing very well to speak to the market and has created an excellent crossover SUV class entry. Combining genuine curb appeal and the massive shoulders of the Kia 5-year/unlimited km warranty and a 5-year/90 000 km service plan to service aftersales value. The GT-line is compromised by its the heavy R450k plus price that moves you into the Family SUV territory of larger Toyota Rav4’s and Mazda CX-5’s

Kia Seltos Range

1.6EX 6- Speed Manuel R 369995,00

1.6EX+ 6 – Automatic R 387995,00

1.6EX+ 6-Speed Automatic R 405995,00

1.4T GT-Line 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission R460995,00

Prices include KIA’s 5-Year unlimited km Warranty and inclusive of 5-year 90 000Km Service plan

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