Chick's car? No way. The 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line is so much more
"I think it's actually a really good car for chicks, maybe a cool car for mums," smiled this author's wife as she sat in the passenger seat after our first drive of the 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line (AWD).
While it was a bit of a backhanded compliment, she wasn’t wrong per se. But after driving Kia’s stunning new small SUV around suburban Sydney for a week, she certainly wasn’t right either (and she would entirely agree with this statement).
The Seltos features three drive modes (Eco, Normal and Sport), with Eco mode providing maximum fuel economy, as you might expect, and was ideal when attempting Sydney's traffic car park that is the peak hour commute.
That typically stressful situation, because we all love that commute, actually becomes much more manageable with Kia’s new offering, thanks to its ability to keep you cool, comfortable and in control. The Seltos feels bigger and taller than it actually is too.
Normal mode is more engaging, and yet still feels refined and very comfortable driving through city streets, on open highways, or country roads. Select Sport mode and feel the 130kW engine pick up, with 265Nm of torque on tap to pull you along.
It will certainly get you moving. With a 50-litre fuel tank and fuel consumption of 7.6-litres/100km, it also offers great fuel economy, on the open road and in the city.
It was pleasantly surprising, that after driving all week through city traffic, along with a nice leisurely, yet spirited, drive through the national park, we still had more than 200km worth of fuel in the tank.
The Seltos features LED headlights, three slim stripped turn signals and daylight running lights, all of which define a lighting signature that enhances the cubical presence of Kia's new small SUV.
The flowing light that continues around the entire vehicle from the front of the car creates a perception of light illuminating the silhouette of the Seltos. The design flows through to the rear end of the car, and into three diamond shaped tail lights.
The 10.25-inch HD touchscreen display initially had us asking "what do all these buttons do?", but after a quick poke around it's actually very intuitive and easy to use, with an array of information at your fingertips.
A premium Bose sound system, complete with sub-woofer, has been designed for a musical experience incorporating mood lighting. Your music really will awake your senses and make you want to sing at the top of your lungs.
We particularly enjoyed playing with the lights as the sun set, choosing from the eight different colour settings and six themes, and watching the lights change within the car as they pulsed to the beats.
There's a wireless charging shelf located below the touchscreen, and an ultra large eight inch head-up display to help you keep your eyes on the road. The instrument cluster is clear too, with all the vehicle and driving information displayed in an easy-to-read design.
One of the features we appreciated was the friendlier voice notifications. Unlike our experience with other cars, the announcements tended to be more like a friendly heads up from an assistant, rather than a chastisement from an angry teacher.
In fact, it's all very intuitive. For example, you can set up the navigation and see your directions turn by turn through the HUD, or if you creep a little too close to the road lines you'll hear an audible tone.
That's the lane keep assist, which will also turn amber as you feel a slight pull from the car to help keep you in the centre of your lane. The heated and ventilated seats inside the cabin provide the ultimate comfort too. There's even a heated steering wheel.
The engineering that has gone into setting up the suspension package in the Seltos provides simply incredible handling and steering feedback, tailored specifically for the Australian roads.
With the GT-Line’s all-wheel drive and 7-speed automatic dual clutch transmission, accompanying the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine, it provides a ride that is smooth, refined and comfortable for the driver and passengers, with power on tap when you need it.
The 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line packs plenty of space inside its compact frame, despite being slightly smaller than its main rival, the Subaru XV. At 1,393-litres (with the rear seats laid flat), it's almost double that of its Japanese opponent.
An impressive 433-litres with the rear seats in their upright position means you will easily fit a pram or a good number of boxes in the boot. It has a braked towing capacity of 1,250kg, with maximum tow-ball download at 130kg.
The GT-Line boasts a large array of safety features, including ABS brakes, electronic stability control, downhill brake control, hill-start assist control, front and rear parking sensors and a parking sensor dash display.
You'll also get a reverse parking camera with dynamic parking guidelines, auto dimming rear-view mirror, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assistance, and lane keeping and lane following assistance.
Add in autonomous emergency braking, driver attention alert, and six de-powered airbags (which are designed to reduce the risk of injury), and you've completed the package.
It all rides on 18-inch five spoke alloy wheels that complement the Seltos' distinct design styling. With a tyre pressure monitoring system, you can also keep an eye on the Kumho Ecsta HS51 rubber.
It's available in Starbright Yellow, Neptune Blue, Mars Orange, Steel Grey, Gravity Grey, Cherry Black and Snow White Pearl, as well as two-tone Clear White with a Cherry Black roof, and Starbright Yellow with a Cherry Black roof.
The 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line (AWD) will set you back $41,990 drive away, with a 7-year warranty and 7-year capped price servicing program. Scheduled maintenance is recommended every 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first.
Our 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line (AWD) was supplied by Kia Australia. To find out more, contact your local Kia dealer. Pictures courtesy of Mushroom Owl Photography.
This story was first published as 'Auto Review: 2020 Kia Seltos GT-Line' on Exhaust Notes Australia.