Make / Model Search

Quick Test

Car reviews - Kia - Seltos - range


We like
Subtle but highly effective styling alterations; 1.6 turbo drivetrain much more refined; equipment gains of Seltos S and Sport variants; reduced road noise
Room for improvement
Intrusive speed alert system; imperfect safety electronics; hard cabin plastics; urban ride could be smoother; non-premium stereo’s average sound quality

Facelifted MY23 Kia Seltos gets range-wide lift in safety, equipment and refinement

25 Nov 2022



With its clever sizing, competitive packaging and relatively sharp pricing, the Seltos small SUV has been a resounding hit for Kia Australia – and the brand is expecting it to maintain its buoyant 10,000 annual sales with this improved MY23 model.


Positioned between the similarly popular Stonic light SUV and the hugely successful Sportage medium SUV – while neatly complementing the new hybrid/electric Niro – the now three-year-old Seltos has been enhanced with a comprehensive mid-life facelift and will start appearing in Kia showrooms throughout December.


Focusing on appearance, in-cabin technology, standard safety features and overall refinement, the refreshed MY23 Seltos range reflects the previous line-up, though with the ‘Safety Pack’ equipment now standard on the lower S and Sport grades, as well as a front-drive Seltos GT-Line having become a permanent fixture in the line-up.


Previously, the 2.0-litre front-drive GT-Line was a limited-edition variant while component shortages restricted supply of the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine. What this exercise proved to Kia Australia was that many customers simply wanted the top-spec equipment but didn’t want or need a turbo engine or all-wheel drive.


So the facelifted MY23 Seltos range offers the GT-Line with both drivetrains – the 1.6 turbo switching to HMC’s new-generation Smartstream-G engine (as per the facelifted Hyundai Kona), tied to an eight-speed automatic (instead of a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission), with the 2.0-litre front-driver with continuously variable transmission (CVT) carrying over. 


Kia Australia expects the MY23 GT-Line to make up 35 percent of total Seltos sales (favouring the 1.6T), followed by the Sport 2.0 (25 per cent), Sport+ 2.0/1.6T AWD (25 per cent), and Seltos S 2.0 (15 per cent).


Given that situation, the strong-selling GT-Line gets the full facelift treatment, including all-LED lighting at both ends and a red light bar that spans its standard electric tailgate.


Yet even the Seltos S ($31,690 drive-away) now features electric folding mirrors, digital instrument display, air vents and USB-C charging for rear occupants, a front USB-C port, front parking sensors and 16-inch alloy wheels, plus several safety extras (blind-spot collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic assist, safe exit warning and lane-follow assist).


Externally, the MY23 changes are relatively modest, though because they’ve been focused on specific areas, they’ve achieved a significant improvement.


The old car’s fussy rear-end treatment and same-design alloys for both 17- and 18-inch sizes have given way to an edgier and more futuristic, but also more cohesive appearance. The front end gains a broader, deeper grille while the Seltos colour palette sees the deletion of Starbright Yellow, replaced by softly retro Pluton Blue. 


Inside, every model gets Kia’s widescreen instrument/infotainment set-up, though the base Seltos S misses out on the dual 10.25-inch arrangement (it gets a simpler instrument display and an 8.0-inch touchscreen bordered by physical buttons).


The Seltos S is also the only MY23 variant not to feature the new ‘Kia Connect’ telematics service, operated via a phone app, yet continues to be the only Seltos offered with wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.


When questioned about when navigation-equipped cars might no longer require a cord to connect Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Kia Australia general manager product planning Roland Rivero expressed his desire to see a wireless set-up for cars with the “nice” 10.25-inch screens.


But he admitted that “the dispute with the tech giant – we don’t know which one – still is unresolved, and until that (gets) resolved, (Seltos) won’t be moving to wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto for the nav-built ones (variants with factory navigation)”. 

Driving Impressions


Arguably the finest aspect of the original circa-2019 Seltos – its sizing – has matured beautifully into the small SUV landscape of 2023. What was once one of the largest SUVs in its class, almost nudging medium SUV territory, is now a direct packaging rival for Toyota’s roomy new Corolla Cross.


At 4385mm long, 1800mm wide and 1635mm tall, riding on a 2630mm wheelbase, the MY23 Seltos is shorter than the new Toyota (by 75mm) and narrower (by 25mm) but stands 15mm taller and is just 10mm shy of its wheelbase length.


The Seltos also beats the Corolla Cross for luggage capacity in upper-end models and matches it at base level – making the facelifted Kia one the best-packaged of the current small SUV crop.


Mechanically, Kia has upgraded the previous 1591cc turbo-petrol four-cylinder flagship engine to a new-generation 1598cc ‘Smartstream-G’ version – again, exclusively with all-wheel-drive – and has ditched the previous seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in favour of a new eight-speed torque-converter automatic. 


On paper, the improvements aren’t huge. Power jumps from 130kW to 146kW at 6000rpm, while torque remains at 265Nm (from 1600-4500rpm), with the numerical benefit being a 0.1sec improvement in the claimed 0-100km/h time (now 8.4sec).


But Kia says the new 1.6 turbo is half a second quicker in the crucial 80-120km/h rolling acceleration increment (5.7sec versus 6.2) and chops 0.2L/100km from the official combined fuel consumption number (7.4L/100km versus 7.6).


On the road, the biggest difference is refinement. In combination with additional sound-deadening material under the floor carpet, in all door trims and the wheel guards, plus new foam pads in the C-pillars and a quieter exhaust under acceleration, the MY23 Seltos sounds impressively hushed in most situations. Yet it’s the new 1.6 turbo that enhances that impression even further.


Gone is the high-rpm harshness of the previous engine, replaced by a much more subdued tone, and the new eight-speed auto makes the AWD Sport+ and GT-Line variants feel both punchier and smoother – though still without the grunt to make the top-dog Seltos a proper performance model.


Apart from the sound-deadening improvements, nothing has changed on the ageing 110kW/180Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (with simple multi-point fuel injection) on front-drive Seltos models. Tied to a CVT, it appears to offer about as much joy as a broken leg, yet it continually proves to be way more than the sum of its parts.


Overall performance is ample (Kia claims 9.6sec to 100km/h) and while the engine makes its presence known near the 6600rpm ceiling, it’s not too offensive when working hard and doesn’t need to go there all that often anyway. The engine and transmission do such a harmonious job working together that, as in the previous model, the front-drive 2.0-litre is all the Seltos most people will need.


It's also impressively economical, achieving a 7.4L/100km overall average across 1500km of varied driving while drinking E10, with a gently driven best of 5.9L/100km, versus 10.5L/100km in our test GT-Line during the launch.


No changes have been made to the Australian-specific suspension tune of the MY23 Seltos, meaning the same settings carry over from the model’s debut here in October 2019, and that’s no bad thing.


Wearing 235/45R18 Kumho Ecsta tyres, the 120kg-heavier GT-Line AWD feels a bit more planted on the road than a front-drive Seltos (wearing the same tyre in a 215/55R17 size on our test Sport+), with the ritzier drivetrain also adding a dimension to corner-exit poise and thrust.


The 2.0-litre similarly points well, turns in keenly and feels balanced in corners, though all Seltos variants favour supple body control in challenging situations over low-speed plushness. Even on 17s, the Seltos’s ride can feel a little agitated over poor surfaces. And even though the steering is precise and evenly weighted, there isn’t enough fingertip communication to make it feel encouraging. 


In terms of cabin ambience, the MY23 Seltos should be feeling chuffed that the Corolla Cross interior abounds in hard plastics, because that’s what you get here. But the overall design of the Seltos interior seems more cohesive – especially the integration of the climate control into the vast pair of 10.25-inch screens in our Sport+ and GT-Line AWD test cars.


The GT-Line’s striking lighting garnishes, handsome new 18s and premium price ($47,690 drive-away as a 1.6 turbo, or $5700 more expensive than a same-engined Sport+) are supported by features such as heated/ventilated electrically adjustable front seats (with driver’s memory), an eight-speaker Bose stereo, wireless charging, a glass sunroof (unless you opt for a black-painted roof), ambient lighting, a head-up display, and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.


But the GT-Line needs its front-seat ventilation because the upholstery is clammy ‘premium’ vinyl – at least it’s perforated – and both front seats are mounted higher than the all-manual versions on other models, which may not be to all tastes. Being a model with factory navigation, it also needs a cord for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.


The Sport+ misses out on electric seat adjustment and Bose audio (which is a pity because the six regular speakers are merely adequate). But you score a lower driving position (with manual height adjustment for the driver) on cloth seat centres with vinyl edging – all of which somehow feels more holistic.


Vision is excellent, rear-seat room plentiful (with a two-position backrest), and even the centre-rear seat is okay (unlike the vinyl trim beneath), with rear air vents and a pair of USB-C charging points adding to the utility in the MY23 Seltos.


What ultimately lets it down, though, is not the design or the overall look – it’s the cost-cutting. From rock-hard plastics everywhere to rough-feeling carpet that stops well short of covering the toeboard/firewall area, the Seltos continues to betray its price point.


Even small but important features like only having a driver’s auto up/down window, or not having any kind of luggage cover, cheapen the vibe, which is a shame. And then there’s the new ‘Intelligent Speed Limit Assist’ feature that defaults to on every time you start the car and beeps infuriatingly as soon as the Seltos goes 1km/h over the limit – even with adaptive cruise engaged on the legal speed! At least it’s relatively easy to turn off.


The MY23 Kia Seltos is a good car done better. It’s completely conventional in its make-up (there won’t be a hybrid version in this generation) and will thrill no one, yet there’s a warm satisfaction in its design cohesion, its usability, its likeability, and its overall value for money.


Year-to-date in 2022 (Jan-Oct), Kia Australia has achieved 7803 Seltos sales, which is 5.2 per cent up on the same period in 2021 – all pre-facelift models.


In 2023, Kia Australia expects the facelifted MY23 Seltos to achieve 10,000 sales. 

Quick Test

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new Seltos

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here