The Kia Seltos has been a long time coming to Malaysia. First teased on the last day of 2019, it has cropped up several times over the past year, culminating in an official media preview in September. Now, finally, the B-segment crossover has been launched, giving the Korean brand a much-needed entrant in the market.
For those wondering, Kia is still being managed by Naza, despite the local conglomerate looking to exit the automotive sector – it has already passed the Peugeot brand on to Berjaya Auto Alliance. The brand’s future is still up in the air, with Bermaz (a member of the said alliance) rumoured to be a frontrunner to take over. Evidently, however, Naza wants to get the car out the door while negotiations are still ongoing.
With the slightly complicated situation out of the way, let’s talk pricing. Fully imported from India, the Seltos is available in two variants – the base EX retails at RM115,888 and the GT Line is priced at RM133,888. Both figures are on-the-road without insurance and include a 50% reduction in the sales and services tax (SST) and a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
The specs have not changed in the four months since the preview. Under the bonnet sits a 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated Gamma MPI four-cylinder engine, producing 123 PS at 6,300 rpm and 151 Nm of torque at 4,850 rpm. Drive is sent only to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic, while the car’s Traction drive modes – which include Snow, Mud and Sand settings – provide increased grip in slippery conditions.
The styling of the Seltos is certainly distinctive, with a large “tiger nose” grille that leads into slim LED daytime running light strips, while the larger main lamps sit below. A wraparound windscreen design, upswept window line and black D-pillar strips give the car a “floating roof” look, and the rear sports broad two-piece taillights joined together by a silver trim piece.
Setting the GT Line apart is a chrome grille with extended daytime running lights, more prominent front and rear skid plates, a chrome window line strip, fake twin tailpipes and red exterior highlights. The range-topping variant also adds LED headlights, fog lights and taillights to replace the EX’s halogen items, plus 17-inch Y-spoke two-tone alloy wheels (with red centre cap trim) instead of the EX’s grey rollers.
Inside, the Seltos features a Mercedes-Benz-aping freestanding display panel, which houses an analogue instrument cluster and a standard eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. There’s also a Sound Mood ambient lighting system that pulses with the beat of the music being played through the six speakers, with six themes and eight colours to choose from.
The EX comes with a flat-bottomed steering wheel, gloss black interior trim and quilted black leather upholstery, while the GT Line adds a GT Line-badged steering wheel, a soft-touch dash with fake stitching, linear red seat stitching and alloy pedals.
As the Seltos is a competitor to the Honda HR-V, it’s no surprise that the dimensions are roughly similar. Measuring 4,315 mm long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,645 mm tall, the Kia is 19 mm shorter, 28 mm wider and 40 mm taller, while its 2,610 mm is identical to the Japanese car’s. The 433-litre boot can be expanded to 900 litres with the 60:40-split rear seats folded.
Standard kit includes roof rails, keyless entry, push-button start, a 3.5-inch multi-info display, cruise control, reverse sensors and a reverse camera. Step up to the GT Line and you get a seven-inch multi-info display, a head-up display, ventilated front seats with eight-way driver’s side power adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Qi wireless smartphone charger and front parking sensors.
Both cars come with identical safety kit, consisting of six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill start assist and ISOFIX rear child seat anchors. Unfortunately, active safety features like autonomous emergency braking are nowhere to be found.
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