An established player on the South African motoring scene, Kia continues to offer a comprehensive range of impressively refined, value-focused products packaged in modern, striking designs. And while the Korean brand was a little late to the party in terms of turning its attention to the burgeoning global demand for SUVs, it corrected that oversight by launching the Seltos in 2020, followed by the compact Sonet a year later.
The Indian-built Seltos has a reputation for offering impressive value and standard specification throughout and is positioned to take on the likes of the VW T-Cross , the Mazda CX-3 and, of course, its cousin the Hyundai Creta.
The Seltos arrived in South Africa in 2019, boasting head-turning looks, good interior space and – with the eventual introduction of a turbo-diesel engine option – a broad selection of drivetrains. The range was topped by a racy GT-Line derivative complete with a contrast-colour roof, red accents inside and out, a liberal use of chrome detailing and striking, crystal-cut 17-inch alloy wheels.
Measuring 4 315 mm in overall length, it's larger than many of its rivals. As a result, there are not only impressive levels of all-round comfort to be enjoyed, but also a claimed 433-litres-worth of available luggage space. The option to lower the rear seat backrest in a 60:40 split offers increased versatility.
The turbocharged 1.4 L engine and its associated dual-clutch transmission fitted to the top-of-the-range derivative remains the best-performing of the available options. However, there's arguably better value to be found with one of the lower-tier drivetrain setups elsewhere in the modern Seltos portfolio.
A significant model refresh, including updates to the car's exterior styling, is due to arrive in South Africa in 2023.
The range-topping GT-Line aside, the Seltos is offered with a choice between EX and EX+ specification. As the primary point of contact between driver and vehicle, the standard inclusion of a leather-bound multi-function steering wheel and transmission lever throughout the range remains a welcome, erm, touch.
All models also gain a rear parking camera setup screened onto an 8-inch infotainment display complete with modern smartphone mirroring technologies. EX trim includes cloth upholstery, while EX+ features leather throughout.
These two specification levels are differentiated from the outside by the fitment of either 16-inch wheels on the EX or 17-inch alloy wheels on the EX+.
Key to the Seltos purchasing decision (again, GT-Line aside) is the choice between a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel unit. Each is available mated with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Kia Seltos EX manual
from R411 995
Kia Seltos EX auto
from R426 995
Kia Seltos EX Diesel
from R441 995
Kia Seltos EX+
from R447 995
Kia Seltos EX Diesel auto
from R477 995
Kia Seltos 1.4T DCT GT-Line
from R507 995
Via Kia's ever-expanding dealership network, the Seltos is sold with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, including roadside assistance. A five-year/90 000 km service plan is included in the asking price.
You can also choose from services like a warranty booster or even the brand's Bumper2Bumper cover that triggers once the standard warranty has expired, can be purchased. This service also gives estimated pricing for replacement parts and lists accredited panel beaters in your area.
With a reputation for affordable, reliable motoring, the Kia brand's current portfolio of vehicles offers something for everyone, from students to those with a young family, or customers looking for the convenience of an automatic transmission in a budget-friendly segment.
The Seltos is sold in South Africa with a full complement of six airbags, including curtain items, as well as ABS-assisted brakes and Isofix child seat anchorage points. It's worth noting that only EX+ and GT-Line derivatives are fitted with stability control.
This reputation for safety and affordability can set you up for comparing great deals on Car Insurance, depending on your own risk profile, of course.