What is it?
The Seltos GT Line is the flagship variant of Kia’s all-new small SUV, offering a host of active safety features and a sporty 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with AWD traction and locally-tuned multi-link rear suspension.
As well as being surprisingly fun to drive, it’s spacious, generously equipped with a scrolling list of creature comforts and advanced safety technology that we’re yet to see in any other Kia models.
The Seltos GT Line is priced at $41,990 driveaway.
What’s it like to live with?
The Seltos GT Line is one of the more practical and comfortable small SUVs on the market with a 2630mm wheelbase that translates to generous 965mm rear legroom and a 433 litre boot that’s just a few litres shy of the class-leading Honda HR-V’s 438 litres.
The interior design is highlighted by a sleek new dashboard layout dominated by a cinematic 10.25-inch floating infotainment screen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay.
The user-friendly infotainment system allows for a split screen to view and operate different functions at once, and you can sync two phones via Bluetooth at the same time to receive calls through one and play music through another.
The ‘Premium’ faux leather front seats are heated and ventilated and have 10- and eight-way powered adjustments for the driver and front passenger respectively.
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The reclining back seats are also comfortable and the rear of the cabin is well isolated from road and wind noise. There are ISOFIX anchor points by each door, and three top tethers to fit up to three child seats.
The Seltos GT Line has the most advanced active safety suites of any Kia that includes: Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, which detects a car coming from the side when reversing and automatically brakes if necessary; Safe Exit Alert that warns occupants of traffic (including bicycles and motorcycles) before they open their door into the road, and Driver Attention Alert+ that detects signs of fatigue and alerts the driver if the vehicle in front moves away from a stop situation, such as at traffic lights
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Then there’s Lane Following Assist which controls acceleration, braking and steering and can track vehicles and road markings ahead to keep the car in-lane and a safe distance from any cars in front.
That’s all on top autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, advanced smart cruise control, and ‘Driver Attention Alert+’ that detects signs of fatigue and alerts the driver if the vehicle in front moves away from a stop situation, such as a set of lights.
The Seltos GT Line shares its 1.6-litre turbo engine and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with the sprightly Cerato GT. In the slightly heavier Seltos this powertrain has a relatively thirsty combined official fuel economy of 7.6 litres/100km.
The GT Line packs in every feature available in a Seltos, including a sunroof, interior mood lighting, eight speaker BOSE premium sound system, fast wireless phone charger, head-up display, LED headlights, fog-lamps and daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, and bigger 18-inch alloy wheels.
Apart from accessories the only extra cost option is $520 for premium paint. You can also opt for two-tone paint, with Cherry Black roof, for no additional charge, though you do lose the sunroof.
The Seltos comes with Kia’s seven-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.
What’s it like to drive?
Like most Kia models, the Seltos has been tuned for Australian conditions, and an opportunity to drive Australia’s newest SUV through the Queensland Sunshine Coast hinterland suggests Kia Australia’s engineering team have exceeded expectations.
Driving the 1.6-litre turbo, AWD GT-Line between Gympie and Noosa was a surprisingly delightful experience, with remarkably little body roll and the all-wheel grip combining to fool the Seltos into thinking it’s a hatchback.
It's comfortable too, with the suspension largely untroubled by road imperfections except for the odd jarring through 18-inch rims shod with sporty 235/45 Kuhmo Ecsta tyres.
The electrically assisted power steering, which has also been set to suit local conditions, feels just right. It’s easy to steer but brings you a good sense of connection with the road, which is satisfying and inspires confidence.
The punchy 130kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo provides more than enough power for highway driving and negotiating hilly terrain, and the seven-speed dual clutch automatic was rarely out of step.
Is it worth the cost?
The Kia Seltos is available in four specification grades S, Sport, Sport+ and GT-Line. The S ($25,990 driveaway) and Sport ($29,490) are 2.0-litre FWD only, with the Sport+ plus priced at $32,990 for the 2.0-litre FWD version and $36,490 for 1.6-litre turbo AWD.
READ MORE: Kia Seltos pricing and features
This makes the GT Line’s $41,990 drive away price seem rather steep, however its $5500 premium over the Sport+ AWD brings all the above mentioned kit over an already impressive features list, which makes it pretty good value if your budget stretches that far.
Pros: Ride and handling, safety tech, standard features, interior space
Cons: Thirsty turbo, harder 18-inch wheels