Delhi - After a prolonged teaser campaign, Kia has finally pulled the covers off its Seltos compact SUV, which looks set to give the Korean carmaker a formidable presence in the compact SUV market, where it will slot beneath the Sportage.

Kia Motors South Africa expects the newcomer to reach local showrooms in the first quarter of 2020 and our vehicles will be sourced from Kia’s brand new factory in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Kia has yet to release pictures of the cabin, although previously posted teaser sketches give us no reason to doubt Kia’s promise of an alluring design and high-quality materials.

Aimed at the millennial generation, the Seltos is packed with gadgets too, available features including a 20.3cm Head-Up Display, an eight-speaker Bose premium audio system and ‘Sound Mood Lighting’. The latter pulses to the beat of the music, its soft light emanating from the panels in the doors, including a unique 3D-patterned surface. The system offers eight customisable colours and six themes.

The central command centre is a 26cm touchscreen infotainment system with advanced split-screen functionality and certain markets get a UVO Connect telematics system that uses a SIM card to provide live data such as traffic info, weather forecasts and points of interest.

Engines and gearboxes

Engine options will differ between markets, with South Africa’s line-up yet to be confirmed, but Kia’s international media website lists a 1.6-litre direct injection turbopetrol that produces 130kW, a normally aspirated 2-litre with 110kW and a 1.6-litre turbodiesel rated at 100kW.

However, during the Indian press conference mention was also made of a 1.4-litre turbopetrol and 1.5-litre turbodiesel, with outputs yet to be specified, and these are probably more likely contenders for our market.

The gearbox options will also vary between countries, but in addition to traditional manual transmission, there different autobox options, with Kia mentioning a seven-speed dual-clutch unit, six-speed torque converter auto and a CVT continuously variable transmission.

The vehicle’s driving characteristics can be tailored to the mood through three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport.

“Seltos is aimed at youthful, tech-savvy buyers and is packed full of our most cutting-edge technology and safety equipment,” said Kia CEO Han-Woo Park.

“The Seltos is an important car for Kia as it will play a central role in the expansion of our global footprint, and especially in a priority market like India. We’ve adapted our strengths in design, quality and technology to fulfil the needs of customers in the Indian market.”

Watch this space for SA prices and specifications closer to launch.

IOL Motoring