Kia Seltos 1.4 T SX Review
Son of a Herc!

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
21 Oct 2020

There is a drive mode adjusting knob which you twist to milk a sportier engine response from the Seltos, but in most cases, the ‘Normal’ driving mode is mostly sufficient...

The new Kia Seltos sits between the Stonic and Niro, though it does seem to look bigger than the latter, as it is among the tallest in its class.

KIA’s new compact SUV is offered in three flavours here, the base vanilla EX model; the SX, which we feel is the one to go for; and the range-topping GT Line, where added dressy plastic bits adds to inspiration for more pace... inspiration, not potential.

If you are one who likes a more traditional SUV form, the Seltos has all of that. A layered and upright front end with its signature Tiger Nose grille, an almost straight roofline and a tall ride height are part of its design brief. Compared to similar SUVs, the Seltos does have a slightly more commanding road presence. The SX and GT Line models are fitted with larger 17” alloys, while the basic EX gets smaller 16” rims.


The two more costly SUVs are both equipped with a massive (and luxurious) 10.25” touchscreen display which features six theme choices, while the EX model makes do with a smaller 8” screen. All infotainment units are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The SX also has a wireless charging pad, a huge plus since you can easily keep your mobile device juiced up throughout the day.

A multifunction steering wheel, which has infotainment and cruise control toggles, at your fingertips; together with a head-up display are intended to help you keep your hands on the wheel and eyes trained on the road.

One of the reasons why we do say that the SX model is the one to go for, is because it comes with ventilated front seats, which adds comfort to your journey. Speaking about seats, we like how well-stitched they are. The dashboard which also carries this stitched leather theme, is actually simply moulded plastic, and in my opinion is quite a clever touch, since it would be exposed to harsh sunlight for much of the car’s lifespan.

Unlike some SUV’s which have been styled coupe-like, with a sloping roofline, the near-straight one on the Seltos means that the average adult will find ample headroom at the rear, and they will also benefit from rear-facing air-conditioning vents.

A 433 litre boot with a low loading sill, trumps the Suzuki Vitara’s 375 litres. The rear seats fold almost flat in 40:60 fashion, freeing up more space for larger items. The boot floorboard can also be dropped for added carrying flexibility.

The Drive

The Seltos is powered by a 1.4 litre turbocharged engine which delivers 138bhp and 242Nm, the latter which peaks at 1,500rpm. Drive to the front wheels is provided by a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. While the transmission may not be ‘Volkswagen’ quick, it does deliver smooth, seamless and responsive gearshifts. There is a drive mode adjusting knob which you twist to milk a sportier engine response from the Seltos, but in most cases, the ‘Normal’ driving mode is mostly sufficient. Fuel consumption is rather spot-on, with us able to post 15.3km/l, not too far from their factory-claimed 15.9km/l.

We also like that the Seltos rides well with just the right amount of suspension play while cruising. The only complaint we have, and this is quite a significant one, is how it jolts over smaller humps in car parks, which can get rather annoying.

That said, the Seltos does have good road manners even around the bends, and you will come to appreciate the well insulated cabin.

Our Thoughts

The Seltos has a spacious interior, ideal for the family with fully-grown kids, or one the kids can grow into.

As mentioned earlier, the best of the pack to us is the SX model which may cost a $9,000 premium over the EX; and for that, you do get fancier 17” rims which are of the least importance here, and a larger infotainment and instrument screen. The more important features are the wireless charging pad… and those front ventilated seats, which make a huge difference to your daily driving comfort.

In Summary

We Like

Well-built. Comfortable interior. SX equipment adds even more convenience and comfort. Decently good and practical boot space.

We Don't

Jolts annoyingly over small humps.


The KIA Seltos is impressive on build quality. Some of the equipment matches those found on cars a class above. We like that KIA had opted for a dual-clutch transmission, instead of the group’s new IVT (CVT) transmission, which does the job of ensuring a decently engaging driving experience for a family SUV.

Car Loan Calculator - Kia Seltos 1.4 T SX

SGD 172,999 (4 Aug 2022)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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