2020 Kia Seltos is Small on Size and Price but Big on Tech
Automakers aren’t abandoning the small, budget-friendly car segment; they’re simply putting their cheapest models on stilts and consequently making them a little bit more expensive. Kia will follow the path blazed by sister company Hyundai when it unveils a model named Seltos that will slot at the very bottom of its crossover and SUV lineup. The model will make its official debut online this summer.
Kia explained it designed the Seltos for young, tech-savvy buyers. While we haven’t seen it in the metal yet, preview sketches released by the South Korean company suggest it wears a rugged-looking front end characterized by a tall, upright grille flanked by thin lights that stretch into the hood. On paper, it shares a handful of key styling cues with existing members of the Kia portfolio without completely copying another car. It’s not a bigger Soul, or a Telluride that shrank in the wash. We’ll wait until we see the real thing to make a final judgement, though.
The Seltos will be relatively small and cheap, but it won’t be spartan. Because it’s openly aimed at millennials, it will offer a long list of standard and optional tech features including a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, as well as a feature Kia enigmatically calls Sound Mood lighting.
Drivers will likely need an internet-connected infotainment system to explain the name Seltos to their passengers. It traces its roots to Greece — Celtos is the son of Hercules in Greek mythology. Kia replaced the c with an s to underline the crossover’s speed and sportiness, though there’s little indication the Seltos will be a true high-performance machine — it’s not going to go head-to-head with a Porsche Cayenne Coupe, but we’re hoping it will be more dynamic to drive than other cars in its competitive set.
Technical specifications remain as guarded as the Eleusinian Mysteries of ancient Greece. If we were asked to bet, we’d place money on seeing a turbocharged four-cylinder in the engine bay, an automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive might be available at an extra cost, or offered as a standard feature on select trim levels.
Kia will unveil the Seltos online in June 2019, and the model will reach showrooms in South Korea, as well as other regions, shortly after. Kia called the Seltos a global model, but it hasn’t confirmed plans to sell it in the United States yet. We wouldn’t be surprised to see it arrive in American showrooms in time for the 2020 model year. We’ve reached out to the company for clarification, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.