Colin-on-Cars – Road Review: Kia Seltos 1.5 CRDi Ex+

Populist opinion and movements are an immensely powerful force that, sadly, often drive change on emotion rather than a considered and logical thought process – in the automotive world ICE bears the brunt of this, especially a growing ‘dissing’ of diesel.

It’s a tough call for a true petrolhead but I have no issue with the idea and evolution towards fully electric vehicles or hybrids. Equally, I believe there is space for ICE and there is still room for improvement in terms of exhaust emissions.

The advances made over the last decade in diesel technology have been notable and I cannot deny an affinity for diesel because of the torque on offer that makes it so suitable for slow speed traffic crawling in urban and city environments.

A while ago I tested the petrol version of the Kia Seltos and now have had the opportunity to spend some time with the 1,5-litre turbo-charged diesel version and have come away comfortably impressed with its all-round abilities and demeanour.

The Seltos CRDi is powered by Kia’s new-generation 1 493 cc UII common-rail direct injection engine, featuring a variable geometry turbo-charger. This engine delivers 86 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque between 1 500 r/min and 2 750 r/min.

Acceleration to 100 km/h is completed in 11,5 seconds, with a maximum speed of 176 km/h. CO2 emissions in the combined cycle are 134 g/km on models equipped with a manual transmission and 151 g/km in automatic variants – the version I tested.

The Seltos, which – at 4 315 mm long, 1 800 mm wide and 1 630mm high – is notably larger than most of its segment competitors that include the Honda HR-V 1.5 Comfort, Opel Crossland X 1.2 Turbo and the Suzuki Vitara 1,4T GLX.

The Kia Seltos CRDI is available in a choice of two specification levels that mirror its petrol-powered siblings. EX models are available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission, while EX+ models are only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features include air-conditioning, automatic headlight control (including an ‘escort’ and ‘welcome home’ function), electrically adjustable side mirrors with integrated indicators, steering wheel-mounted remote controls, power windows, cruise control, and an 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates a radio with RDS, linked to six speakers.

The latter includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smartphone mirroring, as well as Bluetooth connectivity with voice recognition and has charging USB ports for front and rear passengers. A full-sized spare wheel is standard.

The EX+ specification also includes an upgrade from cloth upholstery to leather upholstery (including leather trim on the door panels), while the electrically adjustable side mirrors gain an auto-folding function and there is a centre console armrest with an integrated storage box.

All models are equipped with six crash bags as standard: one for the driver, one for the front passenger, two side bags for the driver and front passenger, as well as two side curtain bags that stretch across the length of the cabin.

All Seltos models also feature ISOFIX child seat anchors, anti-lock brakes, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), as well as rear park distance control sensors and a reverse camera with dynamic guidelines, integrated into the vehicle’s touchscreen infotainment system. Central locking and an immobiliser are also standard across the range.

EX+ models gain Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist Control (HAC).

While it may not have the kind of looks that would make the Mona Lisa smile, the Seltos is far from an eyesore on the road and, for me, fortunately eschews some of the over-fanciful cut lines in the styling favoured by some designers – apart from the small rear windows that look as if they put there when the stylist realised there was an unfilled space.

Squarely planted on the road it does inspire confidence and the raised seating position obviously provides a good look at the road further ahead, especially on our many roads where the potholes are held together by bits of tar.

Seating is supportive, comfortable, and rear leg and headroom is more than adequate for full-size human beings and the 433 litres of luggage space will swallow the monthly grocery run or enough family luggage for the annual holiday.

A bit like Clark Kent, it is mild-mannered on the road. Never intentioned as a robot dragster it eases up to speed but will maintain that at fuel-sipping levels all day long and my test average across all road types came in at 5,6 l/100 km, giving it a tank range around 880 kilometres.

It also has a braked towing capacity of 1 000 kg.

Put through its paces on my regular test route it responded well with no unwelcome surprises, even when pressed harder than likely in normal use. There is a bit of front-end plough-on in tight corners as was expected but, again, nothing sudden or terminal.

Overall, it is a car one can easily – and quickly – grow to love.

As with all Kia models, all Kia Seltos models ship as standard with Kia’s Unlimited Kilometre, 5-year warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance), and also include a 5-year/90000 km Service Plan.

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