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Kia PH launches refreshed Seltos starting at P1,198,000

The brand also shares its grand plans for the country for 2024

The updates on the new Seltos may be minimal, but quite noticeable. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

December traditionally is a good month to sell vehicles. By now (or in a few weeks), workers will have received their bonuses. AC Motors, the official distributor of Kia in the Philippines, recognizes this, and it gave possible buyers more reasons to buy a Seltos.

While this may be just an update and not an all-new model, there is enough new stuff about this great-looking crossover. First and foremost are the changes made to the vehicle’s exterior. And while the change hasn’t been that drastic, everything on the front end is new.

Kia’s new design ethos can be seen in this refreshed Seltos. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

The headlamps, although of the same shape as the old ones, now have the brand’s full LED Star Map signature lighting. And so, the grille has also been slightly reworked to accommodate the longer DRLs.

The bumper has been redesigned, too, giving the front end a more modern and aggressive look. The sides remain largely the same, save for the new design of the rims whose sizes vary by variant.

It’s amazing how simple tweaks can drastically change the way this crossover looks. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

The rear end also got some notable changes, including the new taillamps flanking a license plate trim. These come with LED lighting elements, including a lightbar that’s interrupted by the Kia logo at the center. The changes continue to the rear bumper design, where the reversing lamp has been relocated.

The interior has been relatively unchanged, save for a new full panoramic display. This makes the new LCD instrumentation and infotainment screen look like one whole slab. The range-topping Turbo SX variant comes with nifty new features like a panoramic sunroof and a wireless charger.

The familiar interior remains the classiest in the segment. PHOTOS BY RED SANTIAGO

All variants get a new parking distance warning system. The SX also gets some nice additional advanced driver-aid systems like Smart Cruise Control and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.

The engines are smaller, but are more potent. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

The biggest but not the most obvious upgrade can be found under the hood. Gone is the 2.0-liter mill. Now, the EX and the LX variants get a smaller 1.5-liter Smartstream gasoline engine that makes 113hp and 144Nm, paired with Kia’s IVT.

The top-of-the-line variant gets an even smaller but turbocharged 1.4-liter direct-injection petrol engine making 138hp and 242Nm. This and the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission make this Kia a very fun crossover to drive.

Pricing for the new Seltos starts at P1,198,000 for the base LX variant. The midrange EX sells for P1,288,000, while the Turbo SX is the most expensive at P1,688,000. That’s a whopping P100,000 pricier than the previous top-of-the-line version.

Kia Philippines president Toti Zara drops a bombshell at the launch event. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

But the introduction of the new Seltos is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s because Kia Philippines has some very promising plans for 2024 as it intends to launch four new models next year.

While further details are understandably withheld, Kia Philippines president Toti Zara divulged that three of those will be either hybrid or full EV models. One of these three electrified models will be the EV5 crossover.

CEO Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala says that AC Motors is dedicated to helping the Korean brand reach new heights in the country. PHOTO BY RED SANTIAGO

While Kia Philippines’ sales might still be lagging behind established brands in the country, the distributor’s commitment is quite admirable. Perhaps that’s how things are when you have a solid company like the Ayala Corporation backing you up.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.