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

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]

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  • 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!

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.