We first saw it presented earlier this year in South Korea for the global market, but its presence in North America remained unconfirmed. Now Kia has confirmed its plans with the official premiere of the Kia Seltos SUV for the North American market, held at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday. Meet the automaker’s latest new utility model.
Yes, another SUV. Take note however that this is a compact format, in fact Kia says the Seltos will fit into its lineup in between the Soul and the Sportage. The new addition targets consumers who want a product that’s a least a little bit rebellious, as witnessed by the distinctive exterior styling, the redesigned fascia allowing an approach angle better suited to off-roading and skid plates under both the front and back ends. Add to that plastic wing tips that stretch to the two bumper, and you get a perfect example of the pseudo-sport utility vehicle.
All-wheel drive is available as an option with the SUV, by the way.
The wheels, either 17-inch or 18-inch, are pretty striking in their own right. In short, a pretty eye-catching look for the new Seltos.
Despite the model’s compact configuration, space has been maximized for the passengers. The second-row seats can be even be inclined back. As for the cargo area, Kia installed a floor that can be lowered to increase space, similar to what we’ve seen in the Soul.
Kia also announced a partnership with Bose to ensure proper audio quality from the sound system, which will include eight speakers. As for the multimedia system, the 10.25-inch screen we first saw in the Soul is present here, as is the UVO system.
The base version of the Seltos gets a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine delivering 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, wedded to a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Higher trims come equipped with a 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo engine under the hood, which will offer a healthier 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. In this case power is managed by a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Kia is vaunting the chassis, made of 61% high-strength steel, and the 374 feet of adhesive materials that help further stiffen the whole.
In terms of equipment, the Seltos will come very well-endowed. There are USB ports for the back row, for example, and wireless smartphone charging is available as an option. Another add-on allows for having two devices connected to the multimedia system simultaneously via Bluetooth.
Safety-wise, the essentials are in place form the base version on, and the higher you climb up the trim ladder the more you features you get.
Our first impression from the latest Kia is a positive one, we have to say. Now, on to a test drive in the near-future.