2020 Kia Seltos vs. the competition: Your other local subcompact SUV options


Fans of the Kia Soul, don’t worry, as the Kia Seltos is here to fill the gap left by the quirky crossover.

Built on the same platform as the Kona from sister company Hyundai, the Kia Seltos engine pushes the vehicle to a respectable 147hp and 179Nm of torque, with gear changes entrusted to an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) system. Meanwhile, a Drive Mode Select feature allows the driver to choose between five different driving modes (Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom) to control the Seltos’ different drive functions including steering response, throttle, and transmission RPM shift points, among others.

Kia Seltos 2021

Inside, the Kia Seltos cabin radiates an ergonomic and intuitive design, beginning with a head-up display that provides vital trip information while ensuring the driver’s eyes are on the road at all times. The roomy interior is made more welcome with comfortable seats and tasteful appointments such as Smart Entry, Push Start convenience (SX only), automatic climate control (SX only), and a 6-speaker, 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

2021 Kia Seltos Interior

Safety-wise, the 2020 Seltos comes equipped with a suite of standard safety features that you would expect to find exclusively in premium luxury vehicles, which would explain its higher price range of PHP1.1 million to PHP1.5 million, offering buyers with three variants to choose from.

Should the Kia Seltos prove to be not your cup of tea, here are your other subcompact crossover options in the Philippine automotive market.

Ford EcoSport (PHP920,000 to PHP1.2 million)

ford ecosport

When you’re shopping for a good-looking subcompact crossover, the 2020 Ford EcoSport is bound to be on your short list. With its stylish silhouette and smartly designed character lines, it’s a natural choice for those looking for a handsome urban ride. Expectedly, the EcoSport is one of Ford PH’s biggest sellers.

The Ford EcoSport saw plenty of improvements in 2018, its last major update. One of the biggest changes that year was the introduction of the 1.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost inline-three engine, along with the introduction of the new façade. The signature hexagonal grille is still there, but Ford enlarged it to the point that it erases the slim grille opening above it, giving the EcoSport front a more streamlined look. A 1.5-liter Ti-VCT, good for 121hp and 150Nm, serves as an alternative engine option. The 1.0L variant shifts solely via a new 6-speed automatic transmission, which is also available in the 1.5L along with a 5-speed manual transmission option.

Cabin-wise, Ford appears to have taken great effort to make the EcoSport interior tasteful and ergonomic, without appearing too flashy. Knobs and controls are all within reach, with plenty of head and leg room to go with its bevy of storage options. The Ford Ecosport interior—boasting a 2490mm wheelbase and 4228mm x 1980mm x 1679mm in dimensions—is one of the more spacious choices in its segment. Infotainment in the upper trims is powered by Ford’s popular SYNC 3 system.

Geely Coolray (PHP978,000 to PHP1.2 million)

Geely Coolray

Launched in the country very recently in the fourth quarter of 2019, the Geely Coolray managed to enjoy immediate success. For power, the Coolray relies on a 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that sends its power to the front wheels, with power topping at 175hp and torque capping off at 255Nm. This power mill relies on a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission for shifting.

Exterior-wise, the Geely Coolray’s design elements look cohesive. Projector-type headlamps, rear diffuser, a Piano Black roof with panoramic sunroof, and a carbon-fiber front spoiler round out the Coolray’s exceptional outside features.

Inside, a black color motif permeates in the cabin, highlighted with silver and maroon (top trim only) accents that express the crossover's sporty nature excellently. Meanwhile, a hexagonal-centric theme dresses up the dash and side panels, giving the entire cabin a sophisticated contemporary look. Leather seats (top trim only), paddle shifters, and a 10.25-inch floating touchscreen infotainment system with QD link Android connectivity and voice control enhance the Geely Coolray's comfort and convenience utilities.

With regards to safety, apart from the standard airbags, seatbelts, and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, the Geely Coolray is also equipped with advanced safety features such as Geely's GPilot system that adds ease to driving.

Hyundai Kona (PHP1.2 million)

Hyundai Kona

The combustion engine-equipped Hyundai Kona (completely different from the EV version) runs on a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Atkinson engine good for 147hp and 179Nm. As you may have guessed, this is the same engine that runs the Kia Seltos. This ICE is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission that sends power and torque solely to the front wheels. There’s a drive mode select feature to keep things interesting.

Inside the Hyundai Kona, an intuitive 7-inch instrument cluster display makes critical trip information visible at a glance, but there’s also the 8-inch head-up display to keep trip details within line of sight. For infotainment, the Hyundai Kona relies on a floating-type touchscreen with built-in navigation system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functions, and even voice commands. All these make the Kona dash a busy place, but fortunately, everything looks well-plotted out.

As for standard safety, the Kona covers all bases including an anti-lock braking system (ABS), six airbags, tire pressure monitoring, and the SuperStructure high-strength steel vehicle chassis that provides better protection for occupants against a crash. In addition, the Hyundai Kona boasts a slew of advanced driver assistance technologies, courtesy of the Hyundai SmartSense safety suite.

Toyota Rush (PHP968,000  to PHP1.1 million)

toyota rush

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) brought a new vehicle to our local compact SUV market with the introduction of the Toyota Rush in May of 2018. Equipped with a fuel-efficient 101hp and 134Nm 1.5-liter VVT-I engine and a choice between a 5-speed manual and 4-Speed automatic (gate type) transmission, the Toyota Rush is “Intended for those who balance work and play extraordinarily well, this new vehicle is built to make waves in the entry-level SUV segment,” according to the number one Japanese car maker.

Now on its second generation, the Toyota Rush has evolved into a sportier and sharper-looking vehicle than its predecessor, starting with the more dynamic front fascia characterized by the hourglass figure radiated by the upper and lower grille. If not downright handsome, it sure makes for a curious front fascia. Other noteworthy exterior features include roof rail, rear spoiler, LED headlamps with line guide, and a fin-type antenna.

Though the Rush cabin isn’t really made for eliciting oohs and ahhs, the overall interior feel is modern and stylish. Space is good, but the third row on the G-Variant might be cramped for full-sized adults—not that the rest of the options here fare any better. That said, the E variant doesn't have a third row—an important shopping consideration if you’re looking for more space for cargo.

For infotainment, Rush buyers can expect a 7-inch touchscreen with Weblink Connectivity for Apple and Android devices. Occupant protection is ensured by a bevy of safety features including multiple airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control, hill start assist, and Toyota’s signature anti-lock brakes.

Suzuki Vitara (PHP1.04 to PHP1.16 million)

Suzuki Vitara

The Suzuki Vitara is one of the first compact SUVs to come out in the country—it’s been around since the 1990s, so it’s got some pedigree to back it up. The latest model, which launched in November of last year, is a completely-built-up unit from Magyar Suzuki Corporation in Hungary. Driven by a 1.6-liter engine that delivers 115hp and 156Nm of torque, this popular crossover is available in two variants, both with 6-speed automatic transmission.

A unibody construction helps maximize interior space, especially when compared to the preceding model. A two-tone paint finish further gives the model an elevated European feel. Buyers also get to enjoy a panoramic sunroof, with reportedly the biggest opening area in its class.

The small SUV's practical exterior extends to its interiors, delivering straightforward and easy-to-use features that aren't confusing and distracting to operate.  Both Suzuki Vitara GL Plus and GLX variants come with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports an AM/FM radio as well as Bluetooth, USB, Aux, and Android connectivity. Meanwhile, the higher Suzuki Vitara GLX grade boasts of a more luxurious touch and a darker theme to the design, with the leather seats matched with suede highlights for added elegance.

Honda HR-V (PHP1.3 to PHP1.51 million)

Honda HR-V

In the Honda HR-V's engine bay lies a 1.8L SOHC i-VTEC engine that outputs 140hp and 172Nm of torque. The Honda HR-V’s engine comes standard with an Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), which ensures smooth shifts while helping with fuel efficiency.

The updated Honda HR-V has a redesigned exterior enhanced by the Solid Wing Face design that dresses up the grille and front bumper.

The Honda HR-V also has plenty of storage spaces to go around, with four bottle holders and three cup holders—more than enough for any day’s worth of travel for vehicle’s full capacity of five people, including driver. Meanwhile, the spacious boot space also allows you to carry more luggage, so this car makes a great choice for small Filipino families who frequently go on road trips.

In addition to the leather-wrapped interiors that exude a plush sporty design, the Honda HR-V also offers power-adjustable rearview mirrors with integrated turn indicators, power windows, powered central locking, and a nifty multi-view Reverse Camera with Guidelines.

Mazda CX-3 (PHP1.32 million)

Mazda CX-30 2020

The latest version of the Mazda CX-3 is powered by a 2.0-liter SkyActiv-G gasoline engine that dishes out 150hp and 195Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a SkyActiv-Drive 6-speed automatic gearbox with Sport Mode that sends power solely to the front wheels.

The layout of the Mazda CX-3 makes every effort to ensure everything is within the driver’s easy reach. The addition of a new armrest further provides enhanced driving comfort. Meanwhile, the standard SkyActiv-Vehicle Dynamics with G-Vectoring Control delivers a more balanced and relaxed driving feel by adjusting power delivery and shifting vehicle weight on initial turn-in and throughout the corner. Rear passenger convenience and confidence is enhanced by a stowable padded center armrest with cupholders.

Other standard interior features include leather steering wheel, fabric-upholstered seats, push start/stop engine, and a 7-inch infotainment screen that runs on MZD Connect. Although Bluetooth connectivity is available, sadly, the system isn’t compatible with either Android Auto or Apple Carplay apps.

Mitsubishi Xpander (PHP1.01 to PHP1.13 million)

Mitsubishi Xpander Malaysia Spec

When it comes to style and flair, few crossovers can measure up to the Mitsubishi Xpander. From its futuristic Dynamic Shield front fascia to its sophisticated and well-placed character lines, the all-new Mitsubishi Xpander certainly looks prettier than many other vehicles in its class. The LED position lights and combination tail lamps are easy on the eyes, and the 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels make a great introduction to the sleek and tasteful exterior.

With four variants available, including the top-ranging Cross variant, all Mitsubishi Xpanders are equipped with a 1.5-liter inline-four 16-valve DOHC MIVEC engine that delivers 105hp and 141Nm of torque. A modern dashboard welcomes the Xpander’s occupants, placing great emphasis on ergonomics for everyone—the driver most especially. The high user-friendliness is matched by the use of high-quality plastic and fabric materials that help the Mitsubishi Xpander cabin look particularly upmarket for the price point.

Photos from Kia, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Geely, Honda, Mazda, Suzuki

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