Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Kia Seltos 2023 review: GT-Line long-term | Part 3


You've heard of the seven-year itch, right? Well, in the motoring world it's more like three-months, which is enough time to wave off the new car honeymoon period, and really get into the warts and all of long-term life with a vehicle.

As it happens, three months is exactly how long I've just spent behind the wheel of this Kia Seltos GT-Line, the most expensive grade of one of the most popular small SUVs in the country.

So come with me as we go beyond the brochure and get to know this plucky little Kia, and figure out just how high the Seltos GT-Line should be on your shopping list.

But first, a quick recap – just in case you haven't read my earlier instalments (which you definitely should).  Our vehicle is the all-wheel drive Seltos GT-Line, which is just under $48K drive-away in NSW, which isn't chump change.

But you do get lots of nice stuff. There are fancy 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as LED lighting, a sunroof, an auto-opening boot, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, climate control with rear vents, a wireless charge pad and a pretty nifty head-up display.

Cabin tech is handled via the twin 10.25-inch colour screens, perfect for beaming your wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto onto.

The Seltos is still a very good thing in a not-so-small package. (image: Andrew Chesterton) The Seltos is still a very good thing in a not-so-small package. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

Honestly, since the invention of proper phone mirroring, you never really use the in-built system at all, and with Google Maps, you can pretty much forget about in-car navigation systems, too.

Kia's design team has also done a good job giving the Seltos a little premium polish, and in my opinion it's among the best-looking vehicles in its class, especially in top-tier guise.

A lot of that is down to the LED light treatment, with the body-wrapping light lines at the front and back giving the Seltos a cool signature.

Our vehicle is the all-wheel drive Seltos GT-Line, which is just under $48K drive-away in NSW, which isn’t chump change. (image: Andrew Chesterton) Our vehicle is the all-wheel drive Seltos GT-Line, which is just under $48K drive-away in NSW, which isn’t chump change. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

I compared the night-time look of the GT-Line with a $200,000-dollar Range Rover Sport I had a couple of weeks back, and I reckon the Seltos had it beat.

But the Seltos' best and most-used asset over the past few months has been the fact that it is a small SUV that isn't that small.

We've been through the dimensions previously, but in the real world it means a back seat where you'd put adults you actually like, and a boot that is Tardis-like enough to swallow everything you might need for a week away.

There are fancy 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Andrew Chesterton) There are fancy 18-inch alloy wheels. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

I'm 175cm, and I can very comfortably sit behind my own driving position, with clear air in front of my knees and above my head, and there are rear vents and charging points to improve the back seat experience further.

The one thing I haven't been able to get my head around, though, is the fuel use. Granted, a lot of my life is spent in the urban jungle, but still, the 12-odd litres per hundred kilometres I've averaged over the course of this adventure is much higher than I'd like to see (especially in a world now awash with hybrids and the like).

I found I was topping up the 50-litre tank (with now very-expensive petrol) far more often than I'd like to.

We've been through the dimensions previously, but in the real world it means a back seat where you'd put adults you actually like. (image: Andrew Chesterton) We've been through the dimensions previously, but in the real world it means a back seat where you'd put adults you actually like. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

There is a less-powerful, more fuel-efficient engine option available (a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder paired with a CVT), but I haven't driven it yet. Still, I think it would be worth test driving to see if you can save yourself some money off the RRP, and at the petrol station.

Fuel use aside, there's plenty to like about the way the Seltos drives. I've found it can be a little lumpy in the lower gears while still warming up on a wintery morning, but it quickly settles into a pretty cruisy groove.

The fact this an actual transmission, and a mostly pretty smooth one, is a perk in the world of CVTs, too, with none of that droning, and while not a rocket ship, the turbo-petrol delivers more than enough grunt to get the Seltos up and moving.

The fact this an actual transmission, and a mostly pretty smooth one, is a perk in the world of CVTs, too, with none of that droning. (image: Andrew Chesterton) The fact this an actual transmission, and a mostly pretty smooth one, is a perk in the world of CVTs, too, with none of that droning. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

We've been in the city and out on the open road, so I can tell you overtaking moves are dispatched easily enough, and highway speeds are a breeze, meaning this city-friendly GT-Line is set up for adventures outside the city, too.

Kia's ride and handling program has again worked wonders for Australia. The steering and ride is a really nice mix between sporty and supple. And by that I mean it's not uncomfortable, but you can feel what's going on beneath the tyres.

That's important, I reckon, because you don't want to feel too disconnected from the world when you're driving, right?

It features a boot that is Tardis-like enough to swallow everything you might need for a week away. (image: Andrew Chesterton) It features a boot that is Tardis-like enough to swallow everything you might need for a week away. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

There aren't too many loose threads to pick at here. The Seltos is predictable, easy to drive, easy to see out of and easy to park.

That said, that damned speed recognition warning and its incessant chiming can get straight in the bin. I know I've ranted about it before, but it is annoying, and you do need to switch it off every single time you start the car.

But if you can deal with that, you'll find lots to like here.

There is a less-powerful, more fuel-efficient engine option available (a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder paired with a CVT), but I haven't driven it yet. (image: Andrew Chesterton) There is a less-powerful, more fuel-efficient engine option available (a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder paired with a CVT), but I haven't driven it yet. (image: Andrew Chesterton)

Acquired: April

Distance travelled this month: 738km

Odometer: 3551km

Average energy consumption this month: 12.5L/100km

Still is a super-solid offering in the small SUV segment, the Kia Seltos delivers plenty of size and style for your investment. If it was me, I'd at least drive the front-wheel drive version — which isn't just cheaper but uses less fuel, too — before making my decision, but Kia's city-friendly SUV remains a good thing in a not-too-small package.

$44,900

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.