Kia’s First Small SUV that’s Worth the Wait.

Kia Seltos has been in the spotlight these days because of an ongoing national recall on its 2,465 units sold between 25 October 2019 and 25 August 2020. The recall notice cited that the SUV was not compliant with an Australian Design Rule requiring an anti-theft lock to be fitted to the car’s steering column shaft, which resulted in the steering wheel not locking up when the car’s key is removed.

Nevertheless, Kia Australia has been contacting all known owners of affected vehicles to have the issue addressed free of charge. The recall notice may affect the car’s popularity as one of the top-selling SUVs in the country. Last month alone, it sold 1,046 units despite the ongoing pandemic crisis in the country.

This can be attributed to the car’s great value for money.

Kia Seltos 2020 Features and Specs

Kia Seltos 2020 Aggregated Reviews – 8.5/10 (GT-Line) – 8/10 (S) – 7.9/10

We Love

  • Great value for money
  • Stylish exterior and interior
  • Advanced multimedia system
  • CVT auto
  • Great fuel economy

Pain Points

  • Noisy cabin at highway speeds
  • Abrupt ESC on gravel
  • Overactive lane-keeping
  • Heavy steering
  • Sat nav only available on top-spec


Introduced only last year, Kia Seltos is a brand-new SUV featuring crisp and modern styling that’s definitely premium-looking.

Though it’s regarded as a compact SUV, the Seltos sits somewhere between the Hyundai Kona (with which it shares its platform) and the larger Kia Sportage.

Based on the compact Hyundai Kona, the Seltos is bigger than its cousin and brings a longer wheelbase that affords occupants an abundance of room that’s magnified by the square styling and deep windows.

As a comparison, it’s 205mm longer and 50mm taller than the Kona, which means it delivers significantly better legroom in the second row (85mm), and 12mm and 14mm more headroom for first- and second-row passengers respectively.

Some little details provide too much joy, like the bumpy texture to the metal eyebrows over the headlights, which fades into a smooth finish. Then there’s the way the taillights extend into the tailgate like pincers, which is also pleasing.




Jump inside and the Seltos’s interior is pretty much what you’d expect from a mainstream compact SUV. It’s modern and jam-packed with features, without feeling overly luxurious.

Even in base S trim, the Seltos’ dash must rank among Kia’s best yet, putting barely a foot wrong for ergonomics, instrumentation clarity, ventilation, storage, switchgear placement, touchscreen operation and material deployment. Lots of little details to appreciate, too, like the soft cloth fabrics, textured plastics and prominent speaker grilles. Seat comfort is up with the best, the rear backrests recline a little, vision out is commendable and there’s heaps of cargo room.

The seats feel well-bolstered for long trips and given the vehicle’s ride height, pretty comfortable to get in and out of. The top-spec model still hasn’t had to sacrifice real cows for the seats, opting to instead use artificial leather.

Infotainment and Connectivity


Plenty of modern infotainment features can be found inside the car. The base model has an eight-inch infotainment screen while models above the absolute base spec features a giant 10.25-inch infotainment screen (biggest in class) with 1920×720 resolution, which would we go as far as to say is one of the clearest and best-designed screens we’ve seen in any car, even compared to the latest stuff from Germany.

It works beautifully under direct sunlight and is super responsive and easy to use, plus it has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto so if you don’t like the default software, you don’t have to use it.

The top-spec GT-Line also gets a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch head-up display, both of which are rather nice, but you really don’t need them to add to the driving experience.

Another impressive aspect of the Kia Seltos is the array of standard safety features. The S and Sport models get a slightly inferior version of Kia’s autonomous emergency braking system with forward collision warning.

Seltos is fully loaded with active safety and too much of it is too conservatively calibrated, constantly and distractingly firing off too many unwarranted warning signals. The frequency of annoyance depends on where you tend to drive: the Seltos’s systems will be much less intrusive if you’re a regional owner than if you live and drive regularly in the inner city.

There’s a plethora of other active safety features as well, including:

  • blind spot detection
  • rear cross-traffic alert
  • lane-keep and following assist
  • safe exit system, which warns the driver if a vehicle is approaching when they open the door

Unfortunately most of these features are only available in Sport+ and GT-Line variants.

Additionally, the GT-Line is exclusively available with Kia’s ‘Lane Following Assist’ system, which offers Level 2 semi-autonomous drive capability on the highway by controlling the vehicle’s acceleration, braking and steering.

What’s it like to drive a Kia Seltos 2020?


Performance wise, the Seltos piles on the power to the point where it can break the front wheels’ traction even in the heat. It blitzed the hard-charging Kona with the same Nu-series engine (but different auto), taking 8.7sec to 100km/h versus 9.3sec. The lively atmo 2.0-litre is certainly no wallflower.

The GT-Line fits a 1.6-litre turbo four paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel drive, rather than the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre/CVT/front-drive combination in lower-grade variants. While 130kW and 265Nm aren’t powerhouse numbers, they’re decent by small-SUV measures and impressive in Seltos form, if mainly because the powertrain is well polished and nicely calibrated by the seat of the pants.

Who’s the Kia Seltos 2020 for?

Kia Seltos is undoubtedly one of the cost-efficient cars in the market that’s ideal for both daily drivers and young families. It’s small on the outside, big on the inside – with an optimal use of space.

The Seltos is easy to handle around town, yet doesn’t struggle on the highway either. You can take it anywhere if you fit it with the AWD system, and will probably be able to fit whatever you need inside. You’ll look good while doing it too, because the Seltos is undeniably a good looking car. Futuristic and sharp, so what else can you ask for?

The Seltos S with the safety pack might be the entry grade into this small SUV model from Kia, but it’s the pick of the lot. Not only is it super safe, but you’re getting exceptional value in terms of its standard features and then there’s the warranty – seven years. That’s incredible.

You could sell the Seltos in four years and be able to tell the next owner that they’ll still have three years of coverage left.

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