Wifemobile shopping update: after my test drive bonanza earlier this week, the Kia Seltos SX cemented its place as the frontrunner for my wife's next car. She was very excited about what I told her about it, so we made an appointment with the dealer for her to drive it.
The result of the test drive is the Seltos is pretty much exactly what she wants. The size is more manageable for her than her '18 CX-5, which is by no means a big vehicle, but it has a tall long hood that she's gotten sick of trying to place in tight quarters including our garage. The cowl on the Seltos isn't quite so high, and there are a couple ridges sticking up from the hood that help give a sense of where the front of the car is.
Otherwise, the space, features, and drive are right on with what she wants. She was especially impressed with the amount of room inside vs. the overall size of the car and easy handling. The seats are comfier than the CX-5 and the center console is more out of the way of our knees. The 1.6T + DCT combo felt more responsive to her than the 2.5 NA + 6AT in her CX-5. That tracks with the specs, since the Seltos makes 175 hp & 195 lb/ft (at 1500 rpm!), and weighs 3,317 lbs, while her CX-5 makes 187 hp & 186 lb/ft (at 4000 rpm) and weighs 3,655 lbs.
In my test drive jamboree wrap up post, I mentioned the Seltos has start-stop. I've now realized that this is part of the Smart drive mode and (I think) not active in Normal or Sport modes. When we first started driving the Seltos today it was in Normal but when I switched it to Smart the start-stop kicked in. I think this is a pretty dang decent start-stop implementation. My wife has no prior familiarity with start-stop but was impressed by it. We'd probably leave it in Smart mode most of the time.
The only wrinkle here continues to be color choice and the blasted sunroof. The sunroof is not standard on the otherwise-loaded SX trim and instead is in the sunroof "package," which I have no idea why it's called a package, because it includes a sunroof and...nothing else.
We want a Mars Orange Seltos SX, and there are no Mars Orange Seltos SXes with sunroofs available in the US, at least not yet. Zero. Our local dealer doesn't have a Mars Orange SX on their lot, but they claim to be able to get one in a dealer trade within the next couple weeks. So it was either sunroof or get some other color. The 2nd closest dealer to us has a Starbright Yellow SX with a sunroof, but try as we might, we can't bring ourselves to like that color.
We pretty quickly ended up deciding to forego the sunroof, for a few reasons. The biggest is that my wife doesn't particularly give a shit about a sunroof and the interest in it is more driven by me. It's her car, and she says she can do without it.
The other reason is infinitely more interesting.
If you recall, the Chevy Trailblazer made its way onto our shopping list based solely on the two-tone look of the Activ trim, in a very similar orange to the Seltos.
Kia is doing a limited amount of 2-tone color schemes on the Seltos, but not like the Trailblazer above. Buuuuuuuutttttt.....I got to talking with my wife about, hey what if you let me hook up this car a little for you, lemme show you what I can do, and I produced this for her:
She saw this and was like, holy shit yes please I want that. This would involve wrapping the roof and mirrors white, blacking out the satin silver trim that runs below the windows and separates the roof from the rest of the car, tinting the front windows to match the factory tint on the rears, swapping on body-color door handles from a lower trim because Kia inexplicably gives the SX satin silver door handles to make it look "fancy," and Sparco Terra wheels in rally bronze. She is HERE FOR THAT.
Since that's the case, skipping the sunroof "package" saves $700 on the price of the car, and makes it easier for the roof to be wrapped.
Now we just gotta wait for the dealer to get this orange non-sunroof Seltos SX in stock, do the haggling, and it'll be ours. We'll see just how quickly after taking delivery it ends up at the wrap shop.