Having driven the Kia Stonic for a while in Europe, I was quite interested to see what the Kia Seltos in the US would be like. On paper their prices seemed to be similar and their sizes seemed to be as well based on the photographs.
I must admit I was not prepared for the big surprise. The Kia Seltos is such a different vehicle than the Stonic is. The size of the Seltos is much bigger, both in length but especially in width. Much more in line with the American market of course, and the width is something you do use here, for comfort as well as practically. That width wouldn’t make it a very practical car in Europe.
Also the design language is very different between the two. The Seltos is very much aimed at the American market with an in-your-face presence and down the road graphics that will definitely draw attention in the US. The overall look is clearly very KIA, but it is interesting to find how Kia caters to each market in a different way. It is more than the typical GM/Ford type of badge engineering with their various brands, These are completely different vehicles. Not a cheap route for Kia to take at all.
I was able to utilize the trunk space of the Seltos as well in a very positive way. Arriving from my Europe trip I had a large suitcase, and hand luggage case and a computer bag as personal item. I was quite hesitant to see if it would all fit in the trunk, but I very much did. That left me with plenty of space for myself, my passenger and for reasonably sized adults on the rear seat. I did not feel cramped at all.
The interior was well up to par too, with this level of equipment there really wasn’t anything missing that I really needed. Getting into the Seltos it was very easy to find my way around the cockpit. All the switchgear was in the logical position, mirrors were easy to adjust and my seat allowed for easy adjustment in my comfortable position.
The first driving impressions worked out very well too. Getting out of the tight-ish parking garage and maneuvering into LA traffic and onto the busy freeway all came natural in the Seltos. I was immediately at home with the car and it’s dimensions. I think that is a really important factor since you don’t want to be bothered with trying to find what you need in a car for a week.
In all, the week I spent in the Seltos doing very practical short trips as well as longer trips with people on board, was a very reassuring and comfortable one. The car is definitely value for the money, with a clear design and excellent fit and finish. Comparing the Seltos with the EU targeted Stonic was indeed comparing apples to pears. Lesson learned.