2022.10.14 Kia

Evolution of The All‒Rounder: The New Seltos

The New Seltos proves itself clearly why it is the most competitive in the compact SUV market. The strengths of the current model, which have already exceeded the limits of small cars, are further strengthened; And the newly added cutting‒edge technology provides pleasant surprises at various moments.

The Swiss Army Knife, also known as the “MacGyver Knife,” is a portable, multi‒purpose tool that integrates various functions into a small pocket knife handle. It originated from the dagger used by the Swiss Army, and it was widely accepted for outdoor use such as camping, home use, vehicle use, and souvenirs, and it was a great commercial success.

The reason why the Swiss Army knife is called the ‘MacGyver knife’ is that MacGyver himself escaped from all kinds of crises in the famous American TV series from the mid‒1980s to the early 1990s by using various functions built into the product. People have come to appreciate the advantages of this knife, which is small enough to carry in your pocket at all times, yet versatile and practical.

The Swiss Army knife has been loved in various markets over a long period of time and has been expanded to various types, with countless additional functions. Small knife, not the same level as a large knife, but wood saw, awl, scissors, pliers, wire stripper, flat/head screwdriver, glasses screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, cork opener, cigar cutter, ballpoint pen, magnifying glass, nail file, tweezers, toothpick, nail clipper And so on, it has special features. In addition, a digital clock, LED lighting, USB memory, and MP3 features are also available.

The reason this knife came up out of the blue is that this car reminds us of a MacGyver knife. Kia Seltos has provided a wider cabin space than that of a compact car and various utilities by utilizing the advantages of the SUV form. And this facelift model has become the smartest multi‒purpose means of transportation regardless of urban and outdoor environments, while housing a more powerful and flexible powertrain and cutting‒edge technologies.

First of all, you can unlock the door by touching your smartphone to the door handle using the Kia Digital Key 2 Touch. You can even start the engine without a smart key by placing your smartphone on the wireless charging pad. If you leave your smartphone behind, the car even warns you to take it with you. Furthermore, the system also asks about rear‒seat occupants. This car is very attentive to modern people who often make silly mistakes due to their busy lives.

When we returned to our parked car after a while, the indoor fan was running. This is an after‒blow function that reduces air‒conditioning odors and germs, for indoor air quality and comfort for occupants. The full auto air conditioner has an air cleaning mode, and the level can be adjusted while maintaining the automatic mode. The nicest thing is that it automatically shuts off the outside air before entering the tunnel; We don’t have to worry about opening and closing windows every time. It is useful not only for travel to the mountains with many tunnels, but also for city and suburban road tunnels.

The same goes for navigation‒based smart cruise control. It is very convenient to turn on this function in downtown Seoul. It not only adjusts the distance to the vehicle in front according to the set driving speed, but also assists in maintaining the center of the lane, relieving tension from the hand holding the steering wheel to the whole body. The New Seltos automatically adapts to the road speed limit. Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA) warns you if you exceed the speed limit information read by the front camera or navigation system and adjusts the speed to a safe driving speed.

Even on highways with no traffic lights, it is common for cars to stop and go during heavy traffic times. The New Seltos’ smart cruise control follows the vehicle in front and stops completely, and then restarts. It does not restart on its own when the vehicle stops for a long time, but if the driver expresses an intention with a switch on the steering wheel or the accelerator pedal, it starts again and maintains the speed and distance between vehicles as previously set. The feature also alerts the driver that the car in front has started while the driver looks away for a moment.

Of course, to enjoy the convenience and safety of all these features, you may need to select a higher trim or add options. However, The New Seltos has many basic features. These include Forward Collision‒Avoidance Assist that detects pedestrians and cyclists, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist.

In addition to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), electronic parking brake and Auto Hold are also basic options. These provide convenience even when driving in the city where there is frequent signal waiting, and in particular, the driver’s seat is moderately high, which goes with the advantage of the Seltos, which makes it easy to secure a wide view, creating a comfortable city driving environment.

The new 8‒speed automatic transmission of the New Seltos operates smoothly in city driving environments where acceleration and deceleration are frequent, compared to the current 7‒speed DCT (dual clutch transmission). It’s focused on improving ride comfort, so it’s smooth even when you hit the set accelerator pedal abruptly and deeply. Although the new SmartStream 1.6 gasoline turbo engine has significantly increased the maximum output (177 horsepower → 198 horsepower), it is difficult to feel this difference in everyday life because of this powertrain setting.

But things change in the Sports mode. It’s not just the 10.25‒inch cluster screen that turns into sporty graphics. Even at this high speed, gears that use a high engine speed are used, the accelerator pedal is sensitive, and the steering wheel is heavy. Only then can you feel the potential of The New Seltos, which has the fastest stop acceleration performance in its class (0→100km/h 7.9 seconds). Of course, the high power performance of The New Seltos is not about a sports car‒like character, but rather enough power whenever necessary. Suspension is also more flexible than robustness.

The test car had 18‒inch wheels and tires that were unfavorable to ride comfort, and even though it was not a rear‒wheel multi‒link suspension in the four‒wheel‒drive (electronic 4WD) specification, it satisfied both the front and rear passengers. The improved lower body setup, windshield sound insulating film, and reinforced sound absorbing and insulating materials in key areas enhance ride comfort beyond expectations. When driving at high speed, standstill, and even when passing large and small road bumps, noise and impact are low, improving ride quality.

The 8‒speed automatic transmission improves not only quietness but also shift responsiveness during high‒speed driving. When needed, you can instantly change gears by touching the shift paddles on the steering wheel without selecting a sport mode. This system makes you forget the advantages of DCT.

The maximum output close to 200 horsepower and the maximum torque of 27.0 kgf∙m, which is flatly exhibited from the low range of 1,600 rpm to 4,500 rpm, are the clear strengths of The New Seltos. Together with the eight‒speed automatic transmission, this not only makes high‒speed driving more comfortable, but can also easily cover the increased number of occupants and luggage in the city.

Its true value became evident as it climbed a long, winding hillside. Cars that don’t have enough power or lack powertrain coordination make a pitiful roar but probably won’t speed up. The New Seltos went as fast as we wanted without any fuss, keeping the engine noise quiet. There was no need to change the driving mode or touch the shift paddles.

The dial‒style SBW on the transmission control panel of The New Seltos amplifies this new powertrain experience ‒ as well as the intuitively designed drive mode switch. Of course, the first impression of the cabin of The New Seltos was made by the panoramic display. We didn’t expect to see a cluster (instrument panel) and navigation screen with two 10.25‒inch digital screens on a compact SUV so quickly; Even though it was only recently that it was first housed in a Korean semi‒large sedan. In addition, the bezel of a suitable thickness is also seamless.

There is no longer a bulging instrument panel cover or navigation at the top of the dashboard. However, if a head‒up display (HUD) specification is added like the test car, additional devices are located in front of the driver’s seat. Previous Seltos also had a combiner HUD; The Seltos, first launched three years ago, advocated a ‘high‒class’ compact SUV that combines toughness and high‒tech. And The New Seltos seems to have strengthened that.

The infotainment system in the panoramic display has a voice recognition control function that controls navigation destination settings, seat heating and ventilation, and air conditioners with natural language‒based voice commands. In addition, The New Seltos also has a surround‒view monitor as an option. You can see 360° around the car to ensure safety, and it is convenient when you want to park beautifully in line with the parking lot line. When the turn signal is turned on to change lanes while driving, the rear view screen of the camera attached to the side mirror may appear on the instrument panel. On the test drive day, when it rained in the dark evening, the advantage was more noticeable. Rainwater flowing from the side window and ambient lights obscured the view of the side mirror, but it was easy to change lanes thanks to the clearer‒than‒expected rear view of the instrument panel.

Among the splendid convenience equipment of The New Seltos, the highlight is the remote smart parking assistant. If you need to park or get out of the car in a cramped space, you can move the car forward or backward simply by pressing the button on the smart key in the absence of the driver. It seems that only new luxury sedans would have such feature, but this is the first specification in its class that The New Seltos, a small SUV, proudly houses.

Even without these extravagant specs, the Seltos has many strengths; The spaciousness and utility are still outstanding compared to the body size. It has a particularly large exterior among similar small SUVs, but even considering that, the cabin space is impressive. In addition, thanks to the proper seat height, getting on and off is good, visibility is easy, and the driving position is comfortable. Even with the seats raised, there is plenty of room up to the ceiling. For reference, the New Seltos is a compact SUV, but it is longer and wider than semi‒medium hatchbacks such as Hyundai’s i30 and Volkswagen Golf.

The specifications preferred by Korean consumers, such as ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel, are also fully housed. The driver seat memory function, Easy Access, and front passenger’s power seat are also applicable. The second‒row floors aren’t very flat, but there’s plenty of legroom and headroom. The reason it boasts spaciousness in spite of its compact body is that it is an SUV. In particular, the recliner seat makes it more comfortable, and the heated seats and second‒row air vents make this the perfect family car.

From the first launch, Seltos emphasized space, such as a loading capacity of close to 500 liters, as its biggest advantage. The trunk space is large, and the height‒adjustable bottom plate and rear seat folding function satisfy various needs. You can carry a lot of luggage or lie down by pushing the front seats forward and making the floor flat. In particular, The New Seltos has a smart power tailgate that makes it easy to open and close the trunk lid. It can also be set to automatically open when you approach with the key, which is convenient even when both hands are full.

Some MacGyver knives have become so large and heavy that they have too many functions at once, making them less portable. Nevertheless, having this tool is reassuring once you experience how useful it is.

The Seltos has been loved for its ample body and interior space, a solid and stylish design that cannot be underestimated, and advanced safety and convenience features that are not like a compact car while maintaining the advantages of compact SUVs. The fact that consumers ‒ regardless of gender or age ‒ prefer this over its competitors explains why Seltos is the strongest player in the market. And The New Seltos, which has evolved in various ways, will thrive even more in the future.

by Min Byung‒kwon (Auto critic)

He is an auto critic who likes cars as much as he is right before he goes crazy. He has worked as an automobile content contributor and online automobil media manager, and has worked as an editor for automobile‒specialized media such as RPM9, Motor Magazine and Top Gear Korea. He is currently creating automotive content on Chabot Mobility ‒ ‘Every Moment with the Driver’.

Photography by Choi Dae‒il, Kim Beom‒seok

HMG Journal Operation Team


Pursuant to the Creative Commons License (CCL) 2.0, all users can copy, distribute, and transmit Information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom, or use it for exhibitions and performances. Please note, however, that all information is protected by copyright. Information users must use the information available on the Hyundai Motor Group Newsroom for strictly private/personal purposes only.

HMG Operation Policy