By on June 4, 2019

Leaks of Kia’s new Seltos — a small crossover intended for global sale before 2020 — made their way around the web this week. However, we spent most of our time wondering how much of an accident they actually were. Seemingly on display for a promotional shoot, the Seltos was left uncovered on city streets with its name prominently displayed in large, capital letters. While we’re not accusing the company of encouraging viral marketing, it certainly could have been more careful about keeping the crossover under wraps.

Kia was also quick to issue a response to the leaks by officially announcing the model’s existence and ideology on Monday. This is a car for the masses, but dialed in to engage directly with “youthful, tech-savvy buyers” and named after one of Heracles’ children. Clearly, the Koreans have their finger on the pulse of today’s youth market — as most teens are dying to engage with one another over ancient Greek myths

The closest approximation we could find to “Celtos,” the figure the South Korean manufacturer claimed to have named their newest crossover after, was Celtine — a woman who is referred to as Celto in some versions of the expanded Heracles myth. However, her son with Big H was named Celtus. Perhaps Celtos is waiting to be discovered in some long-forgotten tome. But it isn’t worth enrolling in a college-level course on Greek mythology to lord something absolutely trivial over an automaker. We’ll just take just Kia’s word for it.

And, if you’re wondering why it’s spelled with an S, the manufacturer said that was done to better connect the vehicle with “speed and sportiness.”

The important thing is that the Seltos has been officially confirmed, with the company suggesting that deliveries should begin in South Korea before the end of 2019. Subsequent markets, which should include North America, are expected follow promptly.

Looking extremely similar to the SP Signature concept (below) and its own design sketches (above), the pint-sized Seltos has a lot of unique touches — most of which involve promoting its muscular image and can-do attitude. It’s a lifestyle vehicle, aimed at reeling in youthful buyers by letting their imaginations run wild. Sure, it has faux metallic skid plates and a roofline prioritizing style over utility. But that’s all part of the magic. Kia knows what’s hot right now and has added a contrasting roof to help us make that case. Goofs aside, we think it’s coming together exactly as planned and could end up being an important model for the brand.


While nobody has seen it yet, the Seltos is also supposed to get a boldly designed cabin with a broad offering of technological inclusions — which encompass a 10.25-inch touchscreen and the same “Sound Mood Lighting” we’ve already seen on the Soul. The rest will remain a mystery until Kia officially debuts the vehicle later this month.

However, it would be reasonable to assume it’ll come equipped with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter and turbocharged 1.6-liter engines Kia already offers. A CVT and dual-clutch transmission are almost guaranteed. Considering one of the Seltos’ most-likely competitors will be the Subaru Crosstrek, an all-wheel-drive variant would make plenty of sense.


[Images: Kia]

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14 Comments on “Kia Confirms Seltos, Explains Name, Says Official Debut is Just Around the Corner...”

  • avatar

    Well I guess it’s better than MKA, MKB, MKC, MKD, MKE……..

  • avatar

    I read it like
    sell to @$$

  • avatar

    Kia builds some nice looking cars then saddles them with CVTs and small turbos, with no optional drivetrains. That’s where cars really lose me is when I have no choice

    • 0 avatar

      1.6T is pretty potent, and snappy with the DCT. This vehicle being as small as it is (pending curb weight numbers) will be reasonably potent.

    • 0 avatar

      Huh? They just started using CVTs this year, later than pretty much every other automaker. And as CVTs go, they’ve easily made one of the most “normal” feeling.
      As for the small turbos, I…don’t know of any manufacturer that isn’t doing that? Speaking of, my parents bought a Sorento specifically because it came with a plain-old V6 and standard automatic.

  • avatar

    Sure sounds like a great name for a snack food, you know, Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, Seltos…

  • avatar

    I like the 2 tone paint, dislike that it looks like Geordi LaForge, would be more interested of it had a well sorted torque converter automatic.

    • 0 avatar

      you know, you sound like someone who’s never driven a GTI with DSG…

      1.6t with DCT? Sounds intriguing, if you’re into that format of a vehicle.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a GTI with a DSG as a rental several years ago. Was okay.

        I constantly struggle with DCTs. There were the horror stories with the abortion Ford foisted upon the public (though reports are that toward the end of the run they’d sorted it). I recall VW having trouble with the DSG, at least early on. I’m not sure if the Koreans have sorted theirs and don’t suffer the same issues.

        • 0 avatar

          The original DCT isn’t that good in the 1G Veloster, and the early 2nd Gen DCT in the Tucson has some issues, but it’s since been figured out.

          I lurk in some Hyundai forums including the Sport forum, and seen very few complaints.

          I have two Hyundai DCTs. Both are great gearboxes and neither have given us a problem. Which is far better than the powershift we had in the “16 Fiesta we owned. Yes, we had one. So we know.

        • 0 avatar

          If by “same issues” you mean complete transmission failure, no, the Hyundai/Kia DCT doesn’t suffer from the same problems.

  • avatar

    A stupid name. If you’re going there, why not just call it Mentos, and get a marketing tie-in?

  • avatar

    When I first saw the name, I thought of seltzer water.
    Which means the Schweppes Tonic Special Edition is just around the corner!

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