When the press fleet driver pulled up at my home with a new KIA, I immediately was pleased with the glittering gold paint job that I was seeing out the front door. When I pulled the window sticker out of the glove box, I was surprised to find the name of the paint was “Starbright Yellow”. It brought to mind for me the song by Dan Seals – “Everything that Glitters is Not Gold”, from 1986.
Dan Seals is one of my favorite all-time singers, and is often heard on K96.9 FM radio, including him performing the number one hit that he co-wrote. “Everything that Glitters is Not Gold” involves the song’s narrator and an estranged female lover, now popular on the livestock rodeo circuit. The rodeo star, with her flowing blond hair, is burnished in the singers’s brain and he struggles to deal with his little girl’s curiosity about the ex-lover riding on her horse “with the sunlight in her hair”.
So it is that I had a yellow KIA to test, and along with the distinctive paint, it featured terrific styling. KIA Motors, based in South Korea, is that country’s second largest auto manufacturer, trailing only Hyundai, its one-third owner. As recently as 1986, KIA only produced 26 automobiles, but the total was 658,000 in America last year.
The 2021 Seltos that was brought to me was an SX turbo upgraded all-wheel drive model. Total M.S.R.P. came to $29,485.00, including freight charges of $1,120.00. With the SX, a buyer gets heated front seats, cargo cover, heated outside mirrors, and a Bose stereo. The seating was black leather with room for five and luggage space came to 26.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat. Electronics included the navigation, backup camera, pushbutton starter, proximity keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, USB input, and power seats.
The 1.6 liter turbocharged gas engine produces 175 horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque. With its seven-speed automatic transmission the KIA reportedly accelerates from zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds. Fuel economy ratings are 25-city and 30-highway with a 27 combined reading. I averaged 28.8 mpg with the SX – the gas tank holds 16.4 gallons on this model.
The wheels were 18” ten spoke alloys with red center trim rings. Tires were Kumho 245/45R18 all-season radials. Dual exhausts peeked out from the rear of the SX, and brushed nickel door handles and window trim was on the car. Matching roof rails were on top and deep tint windows were all around the rear.
Ruth and I drove the SX to a Denver destination one afternoon; the KIA’s road manners were fine as were its guidance and road noise. Turning diameter (34.8′) is minimal, reducing stress on the narrow streets in parts of the Mile High City. And the perky turbo engine makes for a fast escape in city traffic after the visit.
The KIA test car turned out to be a bit of a favorite of mine with a generous amount of glitter and audacity.