For those that don’t know, don’t worry I had to look it up, the Korean word for yes is Ye (I believe it’s pronounced yeah), and yeah yeah is the feeling I got when reviewing Kia New Zealand’s new Seltos 1.6L Turbo Limited.
Of course, I’m not the biggest fan of reducing a motor’s cc’s but it’s a whole new world out there, Burger King is making meatless Whoppers and cc’s are in the crosshairs for virtually all carmakers. Mind you, when you gain an extra 20kW of power, an extra 85Nm of torque and a turbo over the new Seltos’s 2L siblings, who am I to start complaining!
That’s right my friends, Kia’s new small SUV has been given a 1.6L DOHC T-GDi D-CVVT engine that now produces 130kW and 265Nm and strapped it to a 7-speed double-clutch transmission. The result is the most powerful ride in the Seltos range and gears that change quickly (and change). It’s also all-wheel-drive so now you can venture a little off tarmac without fear of having to call someone to tow you out of the mud.
The 1.6L Turbo Limited is the top of the range Kia Seltos right now and that means it comes loaded with just about everything Kia has in their toy cupboard. As you scroll down the ‘included’ list for the model, it’s a veritable ‘who’s who’ of driver and safety aids. From the A, B, C’s (Apple & Android, Adaptive/smart Cruise Control, Bose Sound System, Blind Spot Detection, Cyclist detection, Cross traffic, Camera) to Z, ok no Z’s but it does have a Driver Attention Alert system in case your eyes become heavy. And it’s 5-Star ANCAP.
My review model came in white with 18-inch alloys. Contrasting black and chromes featured on areas such as wheel arches, sills and skid plates front and rear, and although it’s a typical SUV shape, it’s had various cosmetic treatments to ensure it’s far from dull. I like the grille surround, it’s bevelled and tactile and chrome effect insert that allows the roofline to float really makes a difference. LED’s light the way ahead and the DRL’s offer a unique visage at night.
Oddly, although the 1.6L Turbo is AWD, it has same turning circle as the FWD, which makes it good for around the town but of course, it’s a far more confident drive when out in the country. It has a downhill descent control button that means you hand let the Seltos manage off-tarmac hill descents and hill hold should you need to rest when climbing.
Having the use of the Seltos for a week meant we (as a family) could thoroughly review its attributes. The wife liked its ride height and ‘burb handling whereas I found the seating position just a little too high – felt a little ‘driving on’ than ‘driving in’. The head-up display was welcomed by both of us and the heated/ventilated seats were a big tick for my 10-year old. Wireless charging was again a feature that was embraced by the family and the BOSE sound system was a winner (although my music choice was not). Luggage space is a class-leading 433L and 1,393L when you drop all seats and meant that even with a ‘healthy’ weekly shop, no-one was left with groceries on their laps.
With some alone time, I had the chance to wind up the turbo and I have to say it’s not bad at all. Admittedly the Seltos is no sub 5s sportscar but in Sports mode and with the revs riding high, it’ll happily stretch its legs with the best of them. The 7-speed DCT (Double Clutch Transmission) is a welcome addition, even though the IVT (Intelligent Variable Transmission) is great in the other models and the AWD offers confidence in the corners.
The Kia New Zealand Seltos 1.6L Turbo Limited really earns its place at the top of the Seltos tree. It’s more vibrant, more versatile and more ‘yeah yeah’ or is that Ye Ye.