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Korean automotive marque Kia still stayed true to its erstwhile slogan “Power to Surprise” when it announced recently that it would adopt a new one, “Movement that Inspires” along with the new logo, paving the way for a future global transformation.
And when it comes to movement, one particular Kia vehicle owner has made the most of his cockpit time last year, despite the limitations brought on by the pandemic.
RJ Miranda, 35, who owns clothing line Carpe Diem Concepts and is operations manager of the Tiendaan Mobile App, bought his Seltos LX AT Feb. 10 last year, just before the community quarantines took effect. Now, approaching just the first year of ownership, RJ has already logged over 17,000 kms.
Before RJ chose to buy the Seltos LX, he also checked out the Mitsubishi Xpander, Geely Coolray and the new Honda Civic.
“I chose the Kia Seltos LX because I wanted something that checked all my preferences— the design language, which looks like a ‘baby Rover’ that stands out from the rest, the powerful (but not scary powerful) yet economical 2.0 engine, the size, the space inside the cabin, the budget—while maintaining a level of exclusivity. It was unlike other cars that all looked the same,” RJ explained.
It also helped that RJ had previous ownership experience with another unique Kia model, the Soul.
“It’s not that I’m a Kia guy, but the Soul and Seltos ticked all the specific criteria I was looking for in a car,” he said.
RJ stressed that his research on Kia revealed that it was already one of the top brands worldwide, and in 2020 was awarded the top mass market automotive brand for six consecutive years. He added that Kia ranked number one in the industry by J.D. Power in the 2020 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).
Then, when Kia in the Philippines was taken under Ayala Corp’s wing as part of AC Motors in January 2019, RJ’s decision to go for a Kia was bolstered.
“Kia Philippines has not let me down with their excellent service, from reservation to aftersales,” RJ said.
After driving over 17,000 km in his Seltos, RJ said that the vehicle has been a “great daily driven car”, with the look that “won’t go old fast.”
The Seltos, he observed, has been “very easy to drive, maneuver, and park. You have the power when you need it (with the Sports mode) and still be fuel efficient at the same time. The minimalist interior—from instrument panel to switches, control knobs and the very responsive touchscreen panel—is well laid out and very easy to use and operate.”
He also remarked that going in and out of the vehicle was “very easy.” Despite the compact size, the Seltos cabin and cargo are “surprisingly comfortable and spacious.”
For his wish list, RJ said, “If there’s something that needs improvement on the Seltos, for a base model that costs just above P1 million, I would say it should have LED lights all around, some useful ports for the back passengers, a pop up sunglass/eyeglass case, and most importantly, the usual manual door locks.”
A weeklong lend-out of a 5-seater Seltos LX AT offered me a chance to experience what RJ has obviously enjoyed doing all year long, and I would have to agree on all his points.
The exterior design is striking and timeless. Inside, the cloth seats (thank God not animal skin) are comfy. The dashboard instrumentations aren’t cluttered, yet all the information I need for the drive (fuel economy, trip meter, speed, fuel range, tachometer, temperature gauge, etc) can be quickly seen.
In ultra-heavy traffic with average speeds crawling below 10kph, the Seltos yielded 5.3 km/liter. In my combined highway and city runs, 10 km/liter. Additional drive and trip information are provided on the 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with Bluetooth Handsfree, Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity. The rear camera display with rear view driving function could still improve in resolution, though.
The antilock brake system, Isofix child anchor and child lock come as standard for this variant.
RJ and his Seltos LX could very well personify Kia’s brand transition from just surprising the market to now inspiring it through movement. This well-traveled businessman has made his Seltos a statement of both practicality and status, a wide spectrum that Kia claims its roster of vehicles also possesses.
RJ sums up his sentiments about the carmaker: “Truly, Kia has come a long way, and with every vehicle they release, Kia is ‘Killing It Again’! You can count on the brand to always push boundaries.”
The Kia Seltos comes in three variants: The 2.0 LX AT (P1.098 million); the 2.0 EX AT (P1.198 million), and; the 2.0 SX AT (P1.505 million). All come with the 5-year or 160,000km warranty.

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