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Read and compare reviews on the Kia Seltos 2019-2020 Model from top New Zealand automotive journalists on trusted websites.

NZ exclusive test: is the new Kia Seltos an SUV game-changer?


Sitting in the supermarket parking lot or suburban driveway, the Kia Seltos appears to be a largely inevitable, conventional, ordinary compact crossover. But, make no mistake — this is one of the most bold vehicles of 2019.

There’s nothing inherently wild about it of course. The styling is contemporary, possibly a little fussy in places. The list of available features is predictably long. But, the more that you observe the Seltos, the more you get the impression that it’s a vehicle that Kia are desperate to smash out of the park.

The $25,990 starting price is aggressive to say the least; clearly concocted to try and undercut all the major mainstream players. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about the aging Ford EcoSport or (heavily discounted) Holden Trax, the recently updated Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX, or the funky Toyota CH-R and Hyundai Kona … this is cheaper than the lot. In some cases, by a big margin. Combined with the onslaught of Seltos marketing, and it’s understandable why the Seltos represents the brand’s most successful new vehicle launch in its Kiwi history. Kia’s words, not mine.

To say that this is a high stakes release for Kia is a grand understatement.

First drive road test review: Kia Seltos


If you were to argue that there’s a lack of styling innovation in the SUV world, we wouldn’t disagree. There’s only so much you can do by joining two boxes together.

But compact SUVs seem to be where carmakers are happiest taking chances. It’s happened in the premium sector with out-there stuff like the BMW X2, Jaguar E-Pace and especially Volvo’s “tough little robot” XC40.

There are things stirring in the mainstream segment now, too. Case in point is Kia’s new Seltos, which looks appealingly idiosyncratic. It’s not pretty… but it does look pretty cool.

If you’re confused by all of Kia’s SUVs, you’re not alone. Seltos is officially “compact” but it’s probably bigger than you think. It’s 35mm longer than the brand’s electrified Niro SUV, although the wheelbase is 70mm shorter.

Same difference in wheelbase compared with the medium-sized Sportage, although that model is of course quite a bit longer than Seltos.

But the newcomer has a larger boot than either and that rear seat really is quite generous. So even if you’re looking for a budget-priced medium SUV, don’t discount the compact Seltos.

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