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[Behind the Wheel] Facelifted Seltos upgrades compact SUV standards

Test drive session of Kia’s the new Seltos (Kia)
Test drive session of Kia’s the new Seltos (Kia)
Design-wise, the new Seltos is not much different from the old version but in terms of performance, Kia’s facelifted compact SUV has changed so remarkably that it almost seems like a complete reworking.

From the front, it is hard to tell the difference between the new Seltos and the previous version launched in 2019, while the rear has an updated bumper and new tail lightening.

The car’s signature Starmap lighting has been applied across the width of the car and combined with an LED rear combination lamp, giving the SUV a more robust and sophisticated look.

Inside the cabin, Kia tried to go high-tech adding a panoramic display with a 10.25-inch cluster and 10.25-inch navigation that can also be found on the EV6 electric car.

During a 64-kilometer test drive session from Seoul to Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday, the new Seltos would show the view through its rear camera on this display when the turn signal is on.

The new Seltos also offered a very quiet driving experience, as Kia had enhanced the isolation of noise, vibration, and harshness -- one of the weaknesses the old Seltos had been criticized for by customers.

The SUV could speed up to over 100 kilometers per hour effortlessly when driving on a freeway with the help of its 1.6-liter turbo petrol engine that offers a maximum torque of 27 kilogram-meters.

It was easy to take curves smoothly and speed bumps were not jarring, as Kia retuned suspension the old Seltos’ fairly stiff suspension setup.

The SUV was pretty spacious with plentiful head and leg room even in the back seats almost like a mid-size SUV as the automaker has increased the length of the car body by 15 millimeters to 4,390 mm.

The trunk space was bigger than what’s typically seen in a compact SUV, as it is capable of storing up to 498 liters of luggage.

It was also equipped with new safety features that could help newbie drivers park safely and easily such as the surround view monitor and rearview monitor—features that Kia claims are the best in the compact SUV sector.

The price starts at 21.6 million won ($16,600) which is around 2 million won more expensive than the old Seltos.

By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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