Fresh look unveiled for popular SUV

Fresh look unveiled for popular SUV

Kia’s popular Seltos has received a mid-life tweak.

A fresh new look is complemented by improvements in comfort, engineering and equipment, increasing its appeal in the compact SUV segment.

But the updates come with price increases of between around five and seven percent.

The entry-level S model is now $31,690 and features 16-inch alloy wheels, a partially digital driver display, a blind-spot alert, a rear cross-traffic alert, and a safe-exit alert, the latter of which warns occupants of approaching vehicles when parking makes vehicles aware. There are four USB ports (one USB-A and three USB-C) evenly distributed between the front and rear seats.

The Sport ($35,390) is a big step up, with 17-inch wheels, a larger 10.25-inch driver display, and a matching 10.25-inch infotainment screen that integrates satellite navigation, but the wireless connection to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes the entry-level model redundant. It also has a full-size spare tire.

The new Kia Connect feature allows you to use your smartphone to remotely lock and unlock the car, send navigation destinations from your phone to the car and access real-time data feeds.

The Sport+ adds partial leatherette as well as smart key input. It also has forward-facing adaptive cruise control radar, as well as a more advanced automatic emergency braking system with cyclist detection. The handbrake lever is replaced by a button, freeing up more space in the center console.

At the top of the Seltos tree is the GT-Line ($44,590), which features a power driver’s seat with memory, heated and ventilated front seats, cell phone charging, a panoramic sunroof, Bose sound system and more faux leather features. a heated steering wheel, a head-up display and a power tailgate. It also has a rear luggage cover, which is conspicuously absent from other classes.

The Seltos is available with two engines.

An unmodified 2.0-liter four-cylinder produces 110 kW and 180 Nm and drives the front wheels via a CVT automatic transmission. Available in all four trim levels, it’s an honest engine that benefits from the quick responses of the continuously variable transmission.

If you drive it harder, the top-end is a little rougher, but the CVT’s ability to quickly adapt to driver commands means it can usually roll around if you rely on the mid-rev pull.

The flagship 1.6-liter Turbo, which costs another $3500 for the Sport+ and $3100 for the GT-Line, also adds four-wheel drive to the equation. It absorbs an additional 16 kW and now has an output of 146 kW and 265 Nm. The seven-speed dual-clutch car, which was criticized for being jerky in city traffic, was replaced by a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission.

The maintenance intervals drop from 15,000 km to 10,000 km for the turbo engine and the maintenance is slightly more expensive.

There are slight performance and efficiency benefits, but the biggest improvement is in slow-speed maneuverability. The new gearing engages more evenly and makes fast throttle applications smoother. The compact turbocharged engine has plenty of torque, which is fun when you pick up the pace.

There’s occasional sluggishness in Regular Drive mode, but Sport builds revs for quicker reactions. All-wheel drive makes it easier to use the extra boost, especially out of corners where you can drain the power sooner.

Kia added some insulation to quiet the cabin. You still hear tire and engine noise, but it’s more muffled than before.

The Seltos confidently points into corners, letting the rider know what’s happening on the ground while recovering from bumps quickly and effectively. It’s a well-stocked package that’s easy to live with.

The GT-Line’s wider, lower-profile tires enhance cornering dynamics with only a modest compromise in ride comfort.

It’s officially a compact SUV, but the Seltos is among the most accommodating in its class. There’s plenty of room up front, while the seats hug each other well. New rear vents are a bonus, headroom is generous, and there’s acceptable kneeroom in the second row.

The updated Seltos improves a successful formula, although you pay more for these improvements.

JUDGMENT 4/5

Tech and design changes enhance an already impressive – and roomy – Seltos package.

KIA SELTO SPORT+ 2.0

PRICE From $38,490 by car

WARRANTY/SERVICE Seven years/unlimited mileage, $2072 for 5 years

SAFETY Six airbags, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot assistant, rear cross traffic warning, exit warning, driver monitor, emergency call system

ENGINE 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, 110 kW/180 Nm

THIRST 6.9L/100km

SPARE PART full size

BAGGAGE 433 liters

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