Kia Seltos 2020 Tech Review: Almost there

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Made in India for the Middle East, the Kia Seltos 2020 is a fresh-looking compact SUV now available in the UAE. Aimed to be a value-for-money offering, the Seltos 2020 brings a decent amount of technology to the table but is it enough?

The Kia Seltos comes redesigned with a wide ‘tiger nose grill’ with ‘diamond-pattern’ work and LED lamps, which definitely gives it a certain recognizability on the road. I definitely would give Kia props for the car’s looks. It definitely turned quite a food heads and got a few people asking me about the car and its affordability.

In our region you can expect to be driving the 1.6 litre version which is decent on the roads of Dubai but that’s not what we’re here to check out. We’re here to find out if this car’s interiors and tech offering is worth your time and money. 

Interior

As soon as you enter the 2020 version of the Kia Seltos, you’re treated with a defining interior. Two-tone colours dominate this ‘GT version’ we’re checking out. From the dashboard, to the doors and seats. Everything is two-tone.

The seats are perforated and comfortable to sit on but seat adjustment is unfortunately manual on all ends. Considering the perforation, I expected temperature control for the seats (which is available in other countries), but alas was disappointed again. 

Infotainment System

Moving along, the most obvious thing in front of you is the 8” infotainment system on the dashboard. Touting split-screen functionality, the display is pretty easy to get a hang off and comes with a fair bit of customization.

The system also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, which is the easiest way to get massive functionality out of these cars right now. I didn’t have any issues while using any part of the infotainment system and customising any functions. As soon as you connect your iOS or Android device, the voice command button on the steering brings up Siri or Google Assistant. A feature I used the most while testing the car. Making a call, adjusting the volume, playing a certain track, getting directions, all made really easy with one click.

One little trick that comes with the car is an optional Sound Mood Lighting, which basically pulses light, from what are ideally non-distracting corners of the car, in the tune of whatever is playing on the infotainment system. Gimmicky but it strangely grew on me. 

Instrument Cluster and Steering

As I drove the car my main interaction was obviously with the steering wheel controls and the main instrument cluster. On the Kia Seltos, the tachometer and speedometer are manual dials with a smaller display in the centre. The display shows you all your interactions with the car including changing drive modes, cruise control and speed limitation, audio playing and such. Its got some neat graphics all through which give a more premium feel to the car as you interact with it.

The steering is ergonimcally built and quite comfortable to use. The button layout on the wheel has the call, voice command, volume and instrument cluster display controls on the left side, whereas the cruise control and speed limitation controls on the right. The controls have massive clicks and heavy presses to them and definitely aren’t as smooth as other cars but nothing unusable about them. 

The rest

The Kia Seltos 2020 comes with other perks such as Push to Start, Drive mode and traction control, Automated climate control and a USB port to connect your smartphone.

The Daily Drive

Initially when I heard that I was getting access to the Kia Seltos I was quite excited. After a bit of research online I realised that this car is a tech powerhouse for a very affordable price-tag. Unfortunately once I sat in the top-spec’d UAE model, I found out that a lot of what it touts in other regions of the world aren’t available here. No heads-up display for the driver. No temperature-controlled seats for the front passengers. No 10.5” display for the center console. There’s a lot of missing internal tech and comfort (offered in other regions), leaving consumers in this region yearning for more, a very common trend in the UAE for most cars that come here. 

That being said after the initial disappointment, I realized that for a car that costs Dh77900 still offers a lot to its customer base. It’s still a great-looking car, with a nominal consumption of petrol and loads of cabin space for its size. More importantly, I wouldn’t take away from the car the important fact that technologically it still offers everything you need to have an enjoyable and safe drive on the roads of the UAE. A typical drive with the Kia Seltos 2020 involved everything from using voice commands to make calls, play music off Spotify or get directions, complete connectivity to my smartphones (both iOS and Android) and ease of use. 

Should you buy one? 

Since this review is completely focused on the technology offered (and not offered) inside the car, I would appreciate if Kia would get working on updating the interiors to offer higher functionality inside the car. That would have definitely made the Kia Seltos an unstoppable offering in the market.

That being said the Kia Seltos (starting at Dh62,900, going up to Dh77,900) is definitely still a decent value-for-money proposition in the market. If you’re a young couple or family or even just a guy like me who loves to drive his friends around, I would highly suggest the car thanks its cabin space, connectivity and edgy modern looks. 

Have any feedback about this review? or is there any car you would like us to check out? Let us know in the comments below!