2020 Kia Seltos – One name, three faces, which one for Malaysia?

Eric/Feb 07, 2020 06:38 PM

The Kia Seltos made its global debut back in June 2019 as Kia’s entry into the ever-growing B-segment SUV market.

Being a global model, the Seltos is manufactured across several Kia production facilities, including Korea, India, and China.

2020 Kia Seltos front view

Looks the same, but there are some subtle differences

Barring the production facility in China that caters to the domestic market, the plants in India and Korea are responsible for various export markets.

At a glance, both Indian- and Korean-built Seltos models look identical, but upon closer inspection, you will notice some subtle differences.

The biggest giveaway is the fact that the Indian-built Seltos has a shorter front end, as the bonnet shut line ends at where the grille meets, while the Korean-built Seltos’ front bonnet ends before the grille.

2020 Kia Seltos front view

But bonnet shut lines aside, the made-in-Korea US-market Seltos gets a market-specific front bumper, said to improve the model’s off-road capabilities by increasing its approach angle.

A quick Google search proved that the Indian-built Seltos is actually between 55 and 60 mm (bumper dependent) shorter than the Korean-made model (4,370 mm vs 4,315 mm).

Furthermore, the wheelbase of the Indian-built Seltos is 20 mm shorter than models that rolled out of the Korean plant (2,610 mm vs 2,630 mm).

But why the variance in dimensions you ask?

We believe that the made-in-India Seltos is built to conform to different regulations and tax structures, especially in countries where pricing is sensitive.

Then there’s the powertrain – Indian-built Seltos variants get the choice of 3 engines:

  • 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol: 140 PS and 242 Nm
  • 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel: 115 PS and 250 Nm
  • 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol: 115 PS and 144 Nm

As for the Korean-built models, they get these engines (market dependent):

  • 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol: 177 PS and 264 Nm
  • 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel: 136 PS and 320 Nm
  • 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated petrol: 150 PS and 180 Nm

The subtle differences continue inside – Indian-built Seltos variants get a clean, floating-style touchscreen infotainment system, while Korean-built units feature audio control buttons below the display.

2020 Kia Seltos interior

That said, the Chinese-market Seltos gets a unique centre console, which includes a different climate control panel, gear lever, and touchscreen infotainment system. No flat-bottomed steering wheel for the Chinese though.

2020 Kia Seltos dashboard

Australian-market Kia Seltos interior

Closer to home, Kia Malaysia has yet to reveal details about its upcoming Honda HR-V-rivalling model, though judging from the photos taken by Kia dealers, it appears that we could be receiving units manufactured in India, possibly a first for Kia Malaysia.