Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

KIA Seltos goes the distance with new a diesel derivative

KIA has come a long way from its cheap and cheerful offerings to what can be considered quite premium these days. The brand has a wide range of vehicles on offer and one of their most recent offerings – the Seltos has been given a frugal turbo diesel engine. I joined KIA Motors South Africa to find out just how good their newcomer is on a drive to help support local business in and around Tzaneen.

The Seltos in detail

The KIA Seltos was introduced into the South African market in November 2019 and has since become a popular option within the highly competitive compact SUV segment. The Seltos offers a unique and eye-catching design, especially when viewed from the front. The Seltos is also notably larger than most of its segment competitors at 4315 mm long, 1800 mm wide and 1630mm high.

After spending a few hours inside the Seltos I can conclude that the interior is a rather nice place to be. It feels well put together and the addition of Apple CarPlay and  Android Auto via the 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system is a bonus. Interior space is also worth mentioning, as is the 433-litres of luggage capacity.

Under the bonnet is KIA’s new-generation 1,493cc UII common-rail direct-injection engine, which features a variable geometry turbocharger. This CRDI unit develops 86kW of power and 250Nm of torque. One of the most impressive aspects of this motor however is the fuel consumption. I managed to achieve 5.7l/100km over a distance of 375km on the first day of our trip with a remainder of 602km to go before empty.

The new KIA Seltos CRDI is available in a choice of two specification levels that mirror its petrol-powered siblings. EX models are available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed automatic transmission, while EX+ models are only available with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Our trip

Our trip saw us depart from KIA Silverlakes in Pretoria towards Tzaneen in Limpopo. The journey would see us follow the N1 highway towards Polokwane before departing the highway and joining the R71. The Seltos handles highway trips with ease and the low down torque makes overtaking effortless.

Our first stop along the way was the Zwakala brewery nestled in Magoebaskloof. Zwakala means ‘come closer’ and the brewery has received a few rewards for their beers. They have grown both locally and nationally and in 2019 their Lager was awarded the Best Light Beer in the Country. Zwakala also features a restaurant as well as offers a wedding venue. Zwakala also hosts numerous social gatherings and events such as running events and music festivals. It is definitely worth the visit when in the area.

From there we headed to our overnight halt which was at the Fairview Hotel. This pristine property was founded in 1996, and currently boasts a collection of two hotels, the four star graded Fairview Hotel and Conference Centre, and the five star graded Village and Spa at Fairview. The Fairview Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the Tzaneen area, Magoebaskloof, Haenertsburg and surrounding areas. Activities are endless and visitors can choose from scenic hiking trails, boat trips on the Tzaneen and Ebenezer dams, bird watching in the indigenous forests, a game of golf, treetop canopy tours and much more.

The next morning we headed out to experience how Gin is made at the Old Packhouse Distillery which supplied handcrafted and incredibly tasteful beverages the night before. The distillery is situated on a farm near Tzaneen and produces artisanal Gin. Only the finest ingredients are used in their handcrafted small-batch gin which has also won numerous awards. One can visit their website and place an order for their products which, if Gin is your thing you should consider.

Our final stop before hitting the road home again was the somewhat Pilgrims Rest like town of Haenertsburg. This one street wonder of a town is somewhat of a time capsule, giving a sense of what life was like in early 1900. The bookshop and museum is a must-visit. I was fascinated by some of the artefacts donated and discovered in the area which date back to the Boer War and even before.

Final thoughts

I love going on trips which take me to hidden gems and this was one of them, much like the Seltos itself you get more than what you bargained for. Navigating the gravel roads around the tree plantations in the area the 190mm of ground clearance offered by the Seltos means that you can venture off the beaten track when so desired. Should the Seltos be on your list when looking for a vehicle within the segment? Yes, I think it should, as should the places that we visited. 


As with all KIA models, all KIA Seltos models ship as standard with KIA’s industry-leading Unlimited Kilometre, 5-year warranty (inclusive of roadside assistance), and also include a 5-year/90,000km Service Plan.

  • KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Manual                          R 380,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.6 EX Automatic                     R 398,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX Manual                R 410,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX Automatic           R 428,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.6 EX+ Automatic                   R 416,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.5 CRDI EX+ Automatic         R 446,995
  • KIA Seltos 1.4 T-GDi GT-Line                    R 471,995

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