Kia Seltos gaining hybrid option - report

Kia's range of electrified SUVs is set to grow, with a report indicating the Seltos will borrow the Niro's hybrid powertrain.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
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Kia’s popular small SUV will reportedly get an electrified powertrain.

The Korean Car Blog reports the Seltos will borrow the hybrid powertrain from the similarly-sized Niro.

The introduction of the Seltos Hybrid is set to coincide with a mid-life update for the car, which has already been spied testing.

Kia Australia confirmed earlier this year a Seltos update was due in 2022.

The Niro, meanwhile, has received a redesign. It’s due here late in 2022, and will continue to come in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric variants.

Technical specifications for the redesigned Niro have yet to be released, but the current Niro Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine making 77kW of power and 147Nm of torque, paired to a 32kW and 170Nm electric motor, for a combined system output of 104kW and 265Nm.

The powertrain drives the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

That’s less power than the current base engine in the Seltos – a naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder with 110kW – but as much torque as in the optional turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder.

The Niro Hybrid also uses between 3.8 and 4.4L/100km on the combined cycle, depending on the variant, which is better than the two Seltos powertrains (6.8L and 7.6L/100km).

The mid-life Seltos update is expected to include the usual tweaks to the headlights, tail lights, grille and bumpers.

Kia Australia has said it’s looking to expand the availability of LED headlights in its line-up. In the Seltos, these are restricted to the flagship GT-Line.

Another possibility for the updated Seltos is the option of a digital instrument cluster, as can be found on the likes of up-spec Hyundai Kona and i30 Sedan models.

It’s unclear whether there’ll be a change to the Seltos’ array of active safety and driver assist technology.

Currently, blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic assist are restricted to the top Sport Plus and GT-Line variants, with Lane Following Assist available only in the GT-Line. The latter is standard across the entire Kona range.

Otherwise, the current Seltos offers the same breadth of safety features in its range as can be found in other Hyundai Motor Group models at this price point.

Kia has been dealing with long waiting times for its up-spec trim levels, including those in the Seltos range.

Sales of the Seltos are down 9.6 per cent year-to-date, and it’s sitting at 8149 sales overall.

That still makes it Kia’s second best-selling model, behind the Cerato and ahead of the (just replaced) Sportage, but puts it behind the Hyundai Kona (12,170), Mazda CX-30 (12,356), MG ZS (16,443), Mitsubishi ASX (13,712) and Subaru XV (8852) in VFACTS’ Small SUV segment.

Kia’s hybrid range is growing in 2022, with the Niro Hybrid to be joined by the Sorento Hybrid. Like its plug-in hybrid counterpart, however, the ‘self-charging’ Sorento is expected to be offered only in top GT-Line trim, at least for now, due to supply issues.

A hybrid Sportage is being evaluated for Australia but has yet to be locked in.

“The business case for the new Sportage Hybrid is still being studied. At this stage we cannot confirm its development for Australia,” said Kia Australia’s General Manager for Product Planning, Roland Rivero, earlier this year.

Though its local hybrid range is small at present, Kia has been offering electrified models for several years.

The European-market Ceed and XCeed both come with a plug-in hybrid. The Korean-market K8 and K5 both offer a hybrid; the latter car’s Optima predecessor was also available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options outside of Australia.

MORE: Everything Kia Seltos

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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