Long-awaited Kia Seltos now on sale in Australia
Kia will finally join Australia’s crowded small SUV party with the all-new Kia Seltos on October 25 — just three months after the domestic launch of the Korean car-maker’s first global compact SUV in July and its world debut in June.
Priced from $25,990 drive-away, the Kia Seltos is positioned lineball with its most direct competitor, the Mitsubishi ASX (from $23,490 plus on-road costs), which is Australia’s top-selling small SUV and one of the largest vehicles in its segment, as well as the Hyundai Kona on which it’s based (from $24,000 plus ORCs).
The Kia Seltos model range extends all the way to $41,990 and comprises four equipment variants and two petrol powertrains – both with an automatic transmission as standard.
Opening the line-up are front-wheel drive S, Sport and Sport+ variants powered by a 110kW/180Nm four-cylinder 2.0-litre MPi Nu Atkinson-cycle engine and Kia Australia’s first CVT auto (not the 2.0-litre Kona’s eight-speed torque converter auto), which are expected to account for 80 per cent of sales.
Commanding a $3500 price premium is a turbocharged 130kW/265Nm 1.6-litre T-GDI engine (basically a detuned version of the Cerato GT warm hatch engine) matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel drive in the Sport+ and $40K-plus GT Line flagship.
There is no sign of the diesel version available in India and Kia admits the broad pricing spread will steal sales from both the larger Kia Sportage mid-size SUV (priced from $30,190) and, to a lesser extent, the Cerato ($19,990-$32,990), but hopes at least 80 per cent of sales will be incremental.
It also warns that because Australian vehicles will be sourced from Kia’s Gwangju factory in Korea, which will soon also supply the US market (the Seltos is also produced in China and India exclusively for those markets), supplies will be limited to just 650 a month.
That would make the Seltos only the eighth most popular model in the booming small SUV segment led by the ASX and Mazda’s smaller CX-3, and a much slower seller than the Sportage, let alone Kia’s top-selling Cerato.
That’s why Kia, which is one of only two mainstream brands to increase its sales this year and could soon leapfrog Ford for fifth place in the pecking order, is forecasting just 61,500 total sales in a declining overall auto market.
Kia Australia COO Damien Meredith expects the new-vehicle industry to shrink from 1.153 million in 2018 to 1.07m in 2019 and 1.05m in 2020, when Kia is targeting a six per cent share with 63,000 sales.
Kia Australia’s next big growth phase won’t occur until beyond 2022 with the arrival of its first ute, which is expected to push the Korean brand’s annual sales tally to 100,000 – enough to leapfrog Mitsubishi and vie with Mazda and Hyundai for second place behind Toyota.
In the meantime, sales will also be bolstered by redesigned Sorento and Carnival models plus the all-new Soul and Niro EVs by the end of next year. So far there is no sign of a smaller Kia SUV based on the new Hyundai Venue (from $19,990).
Aimed directly at the US in a global compact SUV market that Kia predicts will grown from 6.5 million vehicles in 2018 to more than 8.2 million by 2022, Kia’s third SUV model in Australia — the third market in the world to receive the Kia Seltos after Korea and India – brings class-leading interior proportions and technologies.
Riding on a 30mm-longer (2630mm) wheelbase and measuring 205mm longer overall (4370mm) than the Kona, Kia says the five-seat Seltos offers more passenger and cargo space than any other B-segment SUV – the latter extended from 433 to 498 litres in base models with a temporary spare.
Kia claims class-leading rear passenger space with 965mm of legroom, 975mm of headroom and 1395mm of shoulder space, while the 60/40-split rear seat back can recline from 26 to 32 degrees and there a sliding front arm rest, large door pockets and an array of cup/bottle holders.
Kia Seltos model line-up
Opening the range at $25,990 drive-away is the Kia Seltos S, fitted with a 2.0-litre CVT 2WD powertrain and 16-inch steel wheels, 8.0-inch mono touch-screen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, six speakers, cruise control, rear parking sensors, auto headlights and halogen daytime running lights.
Standard safety features extend to a camera-based low-speed autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and forward collision warning system with car and pedestrian detection (operational between 10 and 60km/h), plus lane keeping assist, driver attention alert, reversing camera with dynamic guidelines and six airbags including full-length side curtains but rear lower-side bags.
For $1000, an optional safety pack brings a ‘Fusion II’ camera/radar-based AEB system that works up to 85km/h and adds cyclist detection, without which the base Seltos S is unlikely to get a full five-star ANCAP safety rating, plus Advanced Smart Cruise Control with Stop&Go, Driver Attention Alert+, an electric park brake, power-folding mirrors, auto up/down driver’s window and 15-inch rear disc brakes.
Stepping up to the Sport ($29,490 drive-away) brings 17-inch alloy wheels, a class-leading 10.25-inch colour touch-screen, sat-nav with SUNA Traffic and 10-year MapCare updates, climate-control, premium steering wheel and gear shifter, power-folding mirrors, auto up/down driver’s window, auto window defogger, halogen fog lights, solar glass and a full-size spare.
The same $1000 safety pack is available for the Seltos Sport, minus its standard features.
For $32,990 drive-away (or $36,490 drive-away with the 1.6T DCT AWD powertrain), the Kia Seltos Sport+ adds all of the items in the optional S and Sport safety pack plus Blind Spot Detection/Avoidance, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA), front parking sensors, cloth and artificial leather seat trim, smart key with push-button start, remote start, LED interior lights, electrochromic rear-view mirror, sliding front armrest and a parcel shelf.
Topping the Kia Seltos range is the GT-Line that for $41,990 drive-away is fitted exclusively with the 1.6T DCT AWD powertrain – which is also bring multi-link rear suspension to replace the torsion beam in 2WD models — and a host of extras.
These include Lane Following Assist, Safe Exit Alert, LED headlights, tail-lights, DRLs and fog lights, 18-inch alloys, Interior Sound Mood Lighting, eight-speaker premium BOSE sound, fast wireless phone charger, 7.0-inch driver’s instrument cluster, head-up display, premium artificial leather seats, rear USB outlet and air-vents, 10/8-way power adjustment and heating/ventilation for the driver and front passenger, Aeroblade wipers and sunroof.
The latter is unavailable with the GT-Line’s no-cost two-tone paint option of a Cherry Black roof with either Clear White or Starbright Yellow body colours.
The latter is the only standard paint colour, with all premium hues costing $520 extra: Neptune Blue, Gravity Grey, Mars Orange, Snow White Pearl, Steel Grey and Cherry Black.
Capped-price service costs are yet to be announced but Kia says they will be similar to Sportage and of course the Seltos benefits from Kia Australia’s rigorous local chassis tuning and generous seven-year factory warranty and roadside assist programs.
How much does the 2019 Kia Seltos cost?
S (2.0 FWD CVT) — $25,990
Sport (2.0 FWD CVT) — $29,490
Sport+ (2.0 FWD CVT) — $32,990
Sport+ (1.6T AWD DCT) — $36,490
GT Line (1.6T AWD DCT) — $41,990
Safety Pack (S and Sport) — $1000
Premium paint — $520
* All price are drive-away