LOS ANGELES – Kia’s SUV lineup is set to grow again with the introduction of the Seltos, a subcompact SUV revealed this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show that will slot in between the Soul and Sportage.
In case you’re wondering, the Seltos name is derived from Greek mythology – Celtos was the son of Hercules and father of the Celts.
At any rate, Kia chose Seltos as a means of positioning the crossover as a strong and capable vehicle for both on and off-road use. The 2021 Seltos, which should arrive in Canada sometime in the second half of 2020, is based on the Signature SP concept first revealed at the Seoul Motor Show in South Korea last March.
Turns out the production Seltos didn’t fall far from the Signature SP concept tree. From a design standpoint, the Seltos bears a near identical resemblance to the concept. An upright stance with a high 183 mm (7.2-inch) ground clearance, sharper front departure angle, front and rear skid plating and black wheel arch cladding suggests the Seltos will have more off-road capability than the average subcompact crossover.
Kia wants the Seltos to appeal to the fashion-conscious as well, hence red centre wheel caps, 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels, optional two-tone roof and available chrome beltline trim.
On the powertrain front, the Seltos will be built on the same platform as the Hyundai Kona, and as result it shares engines: standard 2.0-litre 4-cylinder (146 hp / 132 lb-ft.) and optional 1.6-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder (175 hp / 195 lb-ft.). The 2.0-litre is mated to an intelligent variable transmission (IVT), while the 1.6-litre is paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (shared with Kona). Front and all-wheel drive models will be offered.
In terms of the interior, the Seltos boasts 1,778 litres of cargo space (with rear seat backs folded down), which is greater than what the Subaru Crosstrek and Toyota RAV4 offer, despite both being bigger vehicles.
With respect to design and equipment, the Seltos is in line with other Kia vehicles of late – sleek, sophisticated and loaded with standard and available equipment. Canadian-specific trims and packages haven’t been announced, but the Seltos can be outfitted with a 7-inch instrument cluster screen, Fractal pattern Bose speakers with six colour schemes (similar to sound connected mood lighting found in the Soul), 10.25-inch hi-res touchscreen infotainment display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 8-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging, three USB charge ports and more.
Kia’s Drive Wise suite of advance safety technology (blind spot collision warning, blind spot collision avoidance assist, driver attention warning, forward collision-avoidance assist, highway driving assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist system, safe exist assist, rear occupant alert and more) will also be offered on the Seltos.
Refreshed 2020 Niro on the way
In addition to the Seltos, a refreshed 2020 Niro was also shown in Los Angeles. Changes include new headlights, grille and wheels, along with a revised interior that includes a redesigned 7-inch cluster display with new graphics, 8-inch standard touchscreen display, and optional 10.25-inch infotainment
touchscreen with harman / kardon premium audio. Paddle shifters, active regenerative braking, electronic parking brake and mood lighting in six colours will also be available.
Powertrains and physical dimensions are unchanged from 2019. The Niro plug-in hybrid will receive the same updates as gasoline-powered models. Specific Canadian packaging changes and pricing have yet to be announced. The 2020 Niro is expected to go on sale early next year.