Kia Confirms Seltos, Explains Name, Says Official Debut is Just Around the Corner

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
kia confirms seltos explains name says official debut is just around the corner

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jun 05, 2019

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

  • Blackcloud_9 Blackcloud_9 on Jun 05, 2019

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

  • Tassos Unlike Tim, I don't use this space as a wastebasket for ANYTHING BUT a proper used car.If you seriously need a car AND you are as destitute as Tim's finds imply, HERE IS A PROPER ONE FOR YOUR NEEDS:You can probably get it for only $4k, WITH Leather, Factory Navigation, plenty of room and a V6. even considered getting it myself as an extra reliable car.
  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.