1. International Driver's License
  2.  / 
  3. Blog
  4.  / 
  5. Looking closely at the long-awaited crossover Kia Seltos
Looking closely at the long-awaited crossover Kia Seltos

Looking closely at the long-awaited crossover Kia Seltos

It is not known how much the people from KIA kick themselves, but it seems to me that they should only do this. For reasons unknown for certain, the company did not launch a full-fledged B-segment crossover on some markets, and the single-wheel drive Rio X-Line and Soul hardly can be classified as such. Meanwhile, in China, almost simultaneously with the platform Kreta, the Kia KX3 SUV was introduced. Since 2016, Creta itself has not only skimmed the cream off, but has become the best-selling crossover and is already waiting for restyling.

KIA makes excuses: on the other hand, Seltos is based on a slightly more modern K2 platform, which makes it related to Ceed and the new Soul. There is a small head start: Hyundai Creta will receive this architecture only later this year. However, knowing the car better shows that the Seltos was designed clearly according to the canons of Creta. Dirty thresholds stick out from under the doors in the same way, the left brush does not reach 2.7 inches to the rack… 

But how much more interesting is the “brother Seltos” in terms of design! Long strips of parking lights are stretched as far as the radiator grille (the main thing is not to think about its price in the event of a minor car accident). At the rear, there is an abundance of parts in matte chrome. And the modern forms of the cabin successfully distract from the abundance of hard plastic. It’s soft only in places that the owner’s elbows touch or feel when buying. You can order as much as a ten-inch screen of the media system, a projection display, ventilation of the front seats, a set of Drive Wise driving assistants, dynamic multi-color backlighting…

But no one will do this: almost all of the above presumes only on the top Premium package. And the common versions are even deprived of a rain sensor. It is especially a pity that the long-awaited remote engine start is also available only with contactless access. With a button on the key fob, the engine can be started for ten minutes, while the climate control will work in the mode in which it was left. However, the heating of windows (including the windshield), seats (the rear cushion is heated) and the steering wheel do not work with remote start.

Seltos is almost 4 inches longer than Creta. Even the Nissan Qashqai is only 0.3 larger. Basically, there is some place at the rear seats, where a tall person easily sits down behind a tall driver, leaving a gap in the knee area of a couple of fingers. There is an increase of 1.5 inches in the wheelbase. But the trunk isn’t deep — the optional full-size spare tire lifts the floor, and the cargo door doesn’t open high enough, about 5’9.

About half of sales will come from the most affordable 1.6 engine, and versions with six-speed mechanical transmission and the classic automatic gearbox are equally well matched with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. More precisely, they did it in June, when their sales began — modifications 1.6 were prepared especially for Russia. The remaining two power units are the same as in the Korean and US markets. The 1.6 turbo engine with the DCT preselective robotized box will remain exotic due to the price. But what about the duet of the old 2.0 aspirated engine and the new V-chain variator?..

In fact, the main problem is the reputation. It is clear that many motorists have heard something somewhere and consider CVTs unreliable. But the advantages of such a gearbox — low cost and high efficiency — are too important for manufacturers. In addition, the CVT Seltos rides quite sanely. The stepped ratio is not simulated in the first third of the gas pedal stroke, but the traction control is understandable. Push harder or hit about 60 mph and the connection is complete. However, the questions of reliability and cross-country ability remain outside the scope of the short first test. Although a car with a real clearance of 6.8 inches measured by me does not call for off-road exploits. 

In terms of drive feel, the Seltos is a little more grown-up, a little more weighty than the Creta. Maybe it’s the effect of the retuned suspension. They say that the original Korean chassis was stiff to the point of discomfort. Therefore, we have original front springs, shock absorbers and front anti-roll bar. All of these are “loosened”, and as a result, the Seltos rolls a little in corners and does not have particular sharpness of reactions to steering actions. Although the mechanism is quite “short”: with a gear ratio of only 12.8:1, the steering wheel makes two and a half turns from lock to lock.

The smoothness of the ride was not a revelation. You can drive on good roads even without discomfort. There is also energy intensity… But in general, the suspension is not soft: for example, Seltos repeats in detail the average waves of asphalt. There is a suspicion that in the outback the chassis will not bring much pleasure from extinguishing pits and bumps. But the acoustic comfort for a budget crossover is not bad. At a speed of 80 mph, you can easily talk under evenly mixed wind and tire noises. On acceleration, the motor declares itself, but its voice is so impersonal that you quickly stop paying attention.

We can say that Seltos as a whole turned out to be evenly mixed. There is none of the failed disciplines. It is expectedly practical and provides average comfort. Driving characteristics are devoid of character. This is the case when you may not read a test-drive article — and the vast majority of real buyers will not do this. They just come to a car dealership with a conditional amount in their pocket and think: it’s beautiful, it’s assembled properly, it’s worth its money, and the manufacturer is one of the market leaders. So you have to take it. I will not persuade you from doing it.

This is a translation. You can read the original here: https://www.drive.ru/test-drive/kia/5e412e78ec05c41e7600013d.html

Please type your email in the field below and click "Subscribe"
Subscribe and get full instructions about the obtaining and using of International Driving License, as well as advice for drivers abroad