Kia has released the all-new Seltos SUV in Australia. Can it compete in a hard-fought market? Let me tell you what I think. Many people might think Kia is a little too late to the party, but get behind the wheel and you’ll find the wait was well worth it. 

The first thing you might notice about the Seltos, is its unique design from the outside, especially up front where there’s an intricate cluster of headlights and LED daytime running lights integrated nicely into the front bumper, with some nicely textured and chiseled lines.

The rear displays a more common design and looks similar to the Subaru-esque. But no matter how you spin it the Seltos is a good looking car, and one in keeping with what Kia has become known for over the last decade: stylish, contemporary designs. 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. 

The Kia Seltos comes in a variety of engine choices. The most affordable three variants are front-wheel drive, the two top-spec models push power to all four. Kia claims it expects 80 percent of buyers to pick the front-drivers, spread across the S, Sport and Sport+. All three are powered by a four-cylinder 2.0-litre MPI Atkinson cycle engine pumping out a reasonable 110kW and 180Nm coupled to a continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

We aren’t usually fond of CVTs – blame their rubbery feel and noisy characteristics – but the one in the Seltos behaves itself rather well, driving far more like a conventional automatic than CVTs offered by other manufacturers. Fuel economy is rated at a claimed 6.8L/100km.

Moving up from there, the options are Sport+ in AWD, and GT Line AWD. Both of these top-spec variants are offered with a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine coupled to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) producing 130kW and 265Nm. With a fuel economy of 7.6L/100km.

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. In saying that we found the fit and finish to be well done, and the general cabin ambiance is more upmarket. 

The seats feel well reinforced 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.

Like most Kia models of late, Kia Australia has taken the new Seltos and spent noticeable time tuning it for local conditions. This means an Australia-specific suspension setup, along with unique steering and other peripheral that really determine how the Seltos drives on Australia’s seemingly endless poor-quality roads.

It’s evident then that the Seltos not only rides well but also drives exceptionally well on a multitude of roads and surfaces. Perhaps its only weakness is the three-base models make use of a torsion beam axle, rear suspension instead of the multi-link of the turbocharged and more expensive models.

See out Seltos Demonstrator models today:

Sourced: Alborz Fallah