2023 Kia Seltos Sport+ review

The 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+ would have to be one of our favourite small SUVs, if it weren’t for one incredibly annoying feature…

It’s only in the last four or so years that Kia has really started to bulk out its range of SUVs. Before 2019 and the arrival of the Kia Seltos small SUV, the extent of high-riding wagons from the Korean manufacturer was either the Kia Sportage mid-size SUV or the Sorento large SUV.

In 2023, Kia now offers six SUVs – in petrol, diesel or electric flavours – which it continually keeps fresh with facelifts, new tech, new powertrains, and extra features. It’s clear these new models have become integral to the brand’s success locally.

The most recent reprisal is the 2023 Kia Seltos, which rejoined the small SUV segment in the latter half of 2022 with a fresh face, eyeing-off top-selling rivals such as the MG ZS, Mitsubishi ASX, and GWM Haval Jolion.

We’ve traditionally rated it well against those alternatives, but we’ve sampled the mid-level specification 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+ to see how the new generation is getting on.

How much does the Kia Seltos cost in Australia?

The Kia Seltos remains one of the brand’s most affordable SUVs, sitting one rung above the Stonic light SUV and one below the Sportage medium SUV. Buyers searching for an efficient alternative might also consider the Kia Niro Hybrid or Niro EV, which is a similar size.

It recently underwent a midlife facelift that updated the 2019 release with a new interior, more features as standard, more power, and a new transmission for turbocharged model grades. However, prices have increased as a result.

Spanning four model grades and two powertrain options, the Kia Seltos is priced from $31,690 drive-away and tops out at $47,690 drive-away.

The $38,490 (drive-away) 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+ we’re testing is powered by the base engine, a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit, which comes mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Buyers at this Sport+ level can alternatively choose to upgrade to a turbocharged 1.6-litre unit, which comes with all-wheel drive, for an extra $3500.

On the whole, the Sport+ variant is $2200 more expensive than it was in pre-facelift guise.

You can tell a Sport+ variant (over the cheaper Sport grade) by its keyless entry system, adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist, electric parking brake, LED interior lighting, rear centre armrest, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Key details 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+
Price $38,490 drive-away
Colour of test car Gravity Grey
Options Premium paint – $520
Drive-away price $39,031.84 (Melbourne)
Rivals Hyundai Kona | Mazda CX-30 | Toyota Corolla Cross

How much space does the Kia Seltos have inside?

Kia has brought subtle tweaks to the 2023 Seltos’s cabin, most obviously in the display stakes where you now get a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster in place of the analogue dials of old. This effectively gives the cabin of the Seltos Sport+ a wide display panel stretching from the infotainment screen right across to the driver.

But overall, the Seltos’s interior experience remains as spacious and practical as it has always offered since launch. There are simple buttons to change your air-conditioning settings, a normal gear selector to slot it into drive, and a host of storage options for your odds and ends.

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Space in the front row is commodious for even tall drivers and passengers, with good seat adjustment allowing a comfortable perch for viewing out over the bonnet.

Materials used up front are fair for the price, with hard plastics covering the doors and hard-wearing cloth seats (with faux leather bolsters) providing soft comfort under your backside. There are some whacky design points that stand out for the wrong reasons – the plastic speaker housings look as though they’ve been pre-kicked in and dented.

Myriad storage spaces are on offer, such as the handy little key slot next to two cupholders, a shelf below the dash, and a wider storage tray below that. The door bottle holders are large enough, but aren’t lined with felt. Of course, there’s also a glove box and a centre console bin.

Back in the second row you’ve got a similarly comfortable amount of space for passengers to get familiar with. There’s excellent foot room, more than enough space for your head, and knee room is decent too. Amenities-wise, you’ve got a single USB-C port in the centre plus a single map pocket. There’s also a centre armrest that folds down to reveal a pair of cupholders.

The boot contains 433L of stowage capacity. The entry-level Seltos has 468L, though this is because it only comes with a space-saver spare wheel, whereas the Sport+ comes with a full-size spare.

2023 Kia Seltos Sport+
Seats Five
Boot volume 433L seats up
1393L seats folded
Length 4385mm
Width 1800mm
Height 1635mm
Wheelbase 2630mm

Does the Kia Seltos have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The Kia Seltos Sport+ is equipped with a 10.25-inch infotainment screen that can run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These two smartphone mirroring systems can only be used through the USB-A outlet, not the USB-C port right beside.

In any case, the functionality of Kia’s own system is fairly simple, with a clear layout of icons depicting various menus and functions. It can be a bit finicky to change certain safety settings with these options buried three layers deep within the system. You’ll understand why this is annoying after reading the safety section of this review.

The system has its own satellite navigation system that presents nicely on the screen, while you can also access digital radio stations (DAB+) within the car’s own software.

In front of the driver there is now a fully digital display that shows information such as speed, engine speed, fuel economy, and navigation information.

Is the Kia Seltos a safe car?

The Kia Seltos was last safety-tested by ANCAP in 2019 where it achieved a full five-star rating. Under that outdated criteria it scored 85 per cent and 83 per cent for adult and child occupant protection respectively. It scored 61 per cent for vulnerable road users and 70 per cent for safety systems.

Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and curtain airbags are standard.

What safety technology does the Kia Seltos have?

Across the Seltos range there’s a series of active safety measures included as standard. These include autonomous emergency braking (with pedestrian and cyclist detection), lane-following assist, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, safe exit warning, rear cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, and driver attention alert.

These standard systems are bolstered by the additions of intersection support for the AEB system, and adaptive cruise control with leading vehicle departure alert in the Sport+ specification.

While most of the Kia’s safety systems are helpful rather than a hindrance, the traffic sign recognition system is an absolute pain put into practice. It’ll detect and display a speed limit on the dash and beep incessantly if you go over the limit. This wouldn’t be a problem if you don’t go over the speed limit, but the system frequently picks up the wrong speed limit. This can occur when you drive by a service road with a lower speed limit, or it can also pick up 40km/h zones outside of school hours.

The system can be turned off by prodding your way through the car’s infotainment settings, but it’ll turn itself back on again every time you restart the car. It’s incredibly annoying to have to explain the beeping while you’re on a phone call, and can genuinely upset the otherwise pleasant cabin ambience.

How much does the Kia Seltos cost to maintain?

Kia offers one of the automotive industry’s longest warranties – a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre coverage. This is matched by a long seven-year capped-price servicing program, and these visits are recommended every 12 months or 15,000km.

Three years of capped-price servicing will cost $1134 or five years cost $2072.

A comparative insurance premium quote came in at $1198 based on pricing for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances.

At a glance 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+
Warranty Seven years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1134 (3 years)
$2072 (5 years)

Is the Kia Seltos fuel-efficient?

Claims that the 2023 Kia Seltos with a 2.0-litre engine and front-wheel drivetrain can run 6.9L/100km (combined) are about fair, with our usage clocking up a 7.2L/100km recording.

Thankfully, the Seltos can run on the most affordable 91-octane fuel. It features a 50L fuel tank.

Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 6.9L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 7.2L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 50L

What is the Kia Seltos like to drive?

From the outset it will be anyone’s goal to purchase the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine you can also specify inside the Kia Seltos Sport+. But the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo unit inside our tester is no bad thing by any means.

With outputs totalling 110kW/180Nm it’s no one’s idea of swift, but the power fed through the front wheels is more than enough in an everyday setting. It’s responsive to changing accelerator inputs and gives overtaking oomph as needed, while it remains fairly frugal on fuel too.

The main downfall is the continuously variable transmission (CVT) it comes with, which unfortunately succumbs to the usual CVT pitfalls of being overly thrashy and noisy.

As with just about its entire Australian line-up, Kia has applied a localised ride and handling tune to the Seltos. Engineers spent time and effort to ensure the Seltos doesn’t labour over bumps and potholes, while keeping a quiet and composed cabin ambience. All bar some dulled wind noise is kept from making its way through to the interior, which is a solid plus for an affordable SUV.

The Seltos can tend to pick up little bumps and undulations, but the accompanying noise from these sensations isn’t fed through to the cabin. There’s not much feel to the steering, but the small SUV can cut a tidy trace around a bend without feeling overly top heavy or losing its composure.

Driving the Seltos is dulled by the frustrating beeping alerting the driver to a speed limit.

Key details 2023 Kia Seltos Sport+
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power 110kW @ 6200rpm
Torque 180Nm @ 4500rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission Continuously variable transmission
Power-to-weight ratio 80kW/t
Weight (tare) 1375kg
Spare tyre type Full-size
Tow rating 1100kg braked
600kg unbraked
Turning circle 10.6m

Should I buy a Kia Seltos?

Small SUVs are arguably one of the most important battlegrounds in the Australian new car sales race, which means carmakers must be hitting every single target to win buyers.

While the Kia Seltos earns clear ticks for its spacious cabin, easy infotainment suite, and well-tuned driving experience, the overall package is soured somewhat by an overly intrusive safety alert system.

However, if you’re able to look past the Kia Seltos Sport+ specification’s key pitfall, it remains a comfortable, connected, and value-packed small SUV.

Ratings Breakdown

2023 Kia Seltos Sport+ Wagon

7.5/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Budget Direct

Insurance from


Estimate details

Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned that journalists got the better end of the deal. He began with CarAdvice in 2014, left in 2017 to join Bauer Media titles including Wheels and WhichCar and subsequently returned to CarAdvice in early 2021 during its transition to Drive.

As part of the Drive content team, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories.

He understands that every car buyer is unique and has varying requirements when it comes to buying a new car, but equally, there’s also a loyal subset of Drive audience that loves entertaining enthusiast content.

Tom holds a deep respect for all things automotive no matter the model, priding himself on noticing the subtle things that make each car tick. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t learn something new in an everchanging industry, which is then imparted to the Drive reader base.

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