2022 Kia Seltos review

It’s easy to see why the Kia Seltos has quickly become one of Australia’s favourite small SUVs.

Even in one of the country’s most competitive segments, it stands out with its sharp design, spacious interior, long standard equipment list, and refined drive. You’re not short of choice, either.

All told there are seven models on offer, and the Sport with Safety Pack sits right in the middle of them.

Not quite a base model, not quite a proper luxury specification, the Sport with Safety Pack is meant to slot into the goldilocks zone for buyers who still want some of the finer things, but can’t stretch the budget too far.

Is it the smart spot in the range, or should you try and stretch the budget further?

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the Seltos GT-Line

How much does the Kia Seltos Sport cost?

Pricing for the Seltos was recently raised, as is the case with the wider Kia range.

The list price of the Sport with Safety Pack has jumped by $500 to $31,290 before on-road costs, while the national drive-away price is up $1000 to $33,790 drive-away at the time of writing.

Although it’s more expensive than before, the Safety Pack-equipped Seltos Sport still shapes up well against its competition.

The Hyundai Kona Elite ($31,600) shares its engine with the Seltos, but has a smaller cabin and boot, while the Mazda CX-30 kicks off at $29,390 plus on-roads.

2022 Kia Seltos pricing:

  • Kia Seltos S: $27,290 or $29,290 D/A
  • Kia Seltos S with Safety Pack: $28,290 or $30,290 D/A
  • Kia Seltos Sport: $30,290 or $32,790 D/A
  • Kia Seltos Sport with Safety Pack: $31,290 or $33,790 D/A
  • Kia Seltos Sport+: $33,790 or $36,290 D/A
  • Kia Seltos Sport+ 1.6T AWD: $37,290 or $39,790 D/A
  • Kia Seltos GT-Line 1.6T AWD: $42,700 or $45,290 D/A

What do you get?

Seltos S highlights:

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Reversing camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • 16-inch steel wheels
  • Cruise control
  • Six-speaker sound system
  • Space-saver spare wheel
  • Tilt-and-telescopic adjustable steering column
  • Automatic headlights (halogen projector-type)
  • Auto high-beam
  • Air conditioning

Seltos Sport adds:

  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation
  • Wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • DAB digital radio
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Full-size spare
  • Front fog lights
  • Premium steering wheel and shift knob
  • Full-size spare wheel
  • Single-zone climate control

The optional Safety Pack ($1000, Seltos S/Sport) adds:

  • AEB adds cyclist/junction assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Driver Attention Alert+
  • Electronic parking brake
  • 15-inch rear disc brakes
  • Auto up/down driver’s window (Seltos S)
  • Electric folding side mirrors (Seltos S)

Is the Kia Seltos Sport safe?

When the Kia Seltos was tested by ANCAP in 2019, it received a rating of five stars.

All models received an adult occupant protection score of 85 per cent, child occupant protection score of 83 per cent, vulnerable road user protection score of 61 per cent and a safety assist score of 70 per cent.

All Kia Seltos models come standard with:

  • AEB with pedestrian detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Front, front side and curtain airbags
  • Driver attention monitoring

The optional Safety Pack ($1000, Seltos S/Sport) adds:

  • AEB adds cyclist/junction assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Driver Attention Alert+
  • Electronic parking brake
  • 15-inch rear disc brakes
  • Auto up/down driver’s window (Seltos S)
  • Electric folding side mirrors (Seltos S)

Seltos Sport+ and GT-Line add:

  • Blind-spot assist
  • Rear cross-traffic assist
  • Lane Following Assist (GT-Line)

What is the Kia Seltos Sport like on the inside?

The big drawcard when it comes to the Seltos is space. From the second you open the door it looks and feels bigger than most of its rivals, with plenty of space between the front seats and a properly commanding driving position.

With basic cloth trim and a dashboard almost exclusively finished in black or grey, it’s not the most eye-catching cabin Kia does, but the Sport feels well screwed together and packs essentially everything you’d need. Although the material on the wheel and shifter aren’t real leather, but they don’t feel far off it.

The headline in the Sport is the touchscreen. Where the base Seltos S gets an 8.0-inch display, the Sport gets a 10.25-inch unit that looks properly polished and upmarket. Although rivals are catching up, none can match the amount of screen real estate on offer, and its feature list has hardly any holes.

It’s easy enough to navigate – although the Android-style buttons in the top left corner of the screen can be a stretch – and blends sharp graphics with smooth animations.

Along with satellite navigation, the Seltos features wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s a shame Kia and Hyundai still haven’t solved whatever is holding them back from including wireless smartphone mirroring in cars with factory navigation, but there’s no wireless phone charger in the Seltos Sport anyway.

The amount of storage on offer is good. There’s a shelf under the centre stack large enough for an oversized phone or wallet, along with adequately-sized cupholders between the front seats, and a fairly deep console bin. The door bins are on the shallower side.

The second row is a mixed bag. On the plus side, there’s lots of legroom and headroom for passengers. It puts a Kona in the shade for space comfortably, and the wide-opening rear doors and tall windows make this one of the best small SUVs out there for families with tight parking spaces.

It’s just a shame Kia reserves air vents for the Seltos GT-Line. You also miss out on USB ports, a fold-down central armrest, or even map pockets behind the front seats.

All the bones of a cut-price family SUV are there, but the lack of some fairly basic amenities mean the Seltos can’t follow through on its potential. Hopefully at least some of these issues are rectified with the mid-life facelift we’re expecting to launch either later this year or early next.

There are ISOFIX points on the outboard rear seats, and top tether mounts on all three.

Boot space is a claimed 433 litres, which expands to 1393 litres with the 60/40 rear seat bench folded flat. There’s a full-sized spare wheel under the floor, which will make rural buyers happy.

The base Kia Seltos S has a more impressive 468L with the rear seats in place, but only features a space saver.

What’s under the bonnet?

The bulk of the Kia Seltos range in Australia is powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 110kW of power and 180Nm of torque.

It’s mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) driving the front wheels. The Seltos 2.0L FWD consumes a claimed 6.8L/100km on the ADR combined city and highway cycle.

The flagship GT-Line comes with a peppier 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine with seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and AWD, which is also available as an option on the Seltos Sport+.

The car has a 50-litre fuel tank and needs only 91 RON regular unleaded fuel.

How does the Kia Seltos Sport drive?

The Seltos drives like a bigger, more grown-up car than you might expect. It’s a polished little crossover, especially with the base engine and transmission.

It might look underdone on paper, but the 2.0-litre petrol engine gets off the mark quickly enough, and doesn’t rev to the moon as soon as you ask for more than glacial performance. Kia has done a good job tuning the CVT to feel like a conventional automatic when you accelerate, which in turn makes the Seltos quite a pleasant car to drive.

The engine itself is smooth at low speeds, although it can be coarse when you really get up in the rev range.

Tempted by the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine offered higher up in the line-up? Although its more generous outputs might be appealing on paper, the basic engine is our pick of the two. Not only will you save money when you sign on the dotted line, you’ll save cash at the bowser as well.

Ignore the Sport in the name, this Seltos isn’t even remotely sporty to drive – and it’s all the better for it. With chubby tyres and a comfortable suspension tune, it does an excellent job filtering out scarred city streets. It’s still nicely tied down on the highway too, settling quickly over crests.

It feels light enough on its feet if you’re feeling racy, with solid enough body control. Although all-wheel drive is nice to have, even on wet roads the front-wheel drive Sport feels nice and planted.

Of all the small SUVs out there, the Seltos is arguably one of the best if you’re covering long distances. Road and wind noise are kept at bay, and the engine hums away below 2000rpm at the legal limit in Australia.

Kia and Hyundai’s adaptive cruise control system is smooth enough, although it’s not quite as solid as it should be when it comes to speed if you aren’t following another vehicle, and the lane-keep assist does a good job keeping you between the white lines.

The lane-centring system takes a more hands-on approach, steering to stop you moving around in your lane. It’s way too grabby for my liking; thankfully it can be turned off using a hard button on the wheel, and stays off once you’ve pressed it.

The fact you have to pay extra for adaptive cruise and a more sophisticated autonomous emergency braking system in the S and Sport remains the biggest knock on what’s otherwise a well-equipped car. Safety shouldn’t be optional.

While we’re talking safety, the halogen headlights in all but the top-spec GT-Line are average at best. If you’re spending lots of time in the country it’s worth looking into the GT-Line (or a few of the Kia’s rivals) with LED headlights, because the dull, narrow beam on the Sport isn’t what you want if you’re likely to regularly dodging wildlife.

They also look naff, but that’s besides the point.

How much does the Kia Seltos Sport cost to run?

Kia offers seven years of capped-price servicing in addition to its seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

The Kia Seltos 2.0-litre requires servicing every 12 months or 15,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.

When equipped with the 2.0-litre four, the Seltos has an average cost per service of $402.

CarExpert’s Take on the Kia Seltos Sport

The Seltos remains one of the best small SUVs you can buy. The amount of space it offers is close to unmatched for the money, and it drives with a level of polish you won’t mind in many of its rivals.

The Sport trim level has essentially everything you need, provided you opt for the Safety Pack. The 10.25-inch infotainment system in particular makes it worth the extra money over a base Seltos S, which feels a bit barren inside.

It’s a shame Kia still makes you tick an options box for the full range of active driver assists.

Equipped with the pack, the Seltos Sport is close to a class leader.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Everything Kia Seltos

Source: CarExpert Read More