Search CarGuide.PH

November 15, 2019

2020 Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Kona vs Honda HR-V vs Subaru XV

With the Seltos, Kia Philippines thinks they have one of the hottest rides around and who could blame them? The sub-compact crossover segment is absolutely lit with choices and everyone, and we mean everyone wants a piece of the action—including Chinese brands you probably haven’t even heard of.

But of course, Kia’s not going that route. Leave the sub-million crossovers to the JACs, GACs, BACs, DACs, and whatever “ACs” there are in the world. Instead, the Seltos is targeting market space occupied by more premium choices—you know, against the likes of the Honda HR-V, Subaru XV, and its platform twin, the Hyundai Kona.

Let’s see how it stacks up.

Sporting a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine from Hyundai/Kia’s “Nu” family, the Seltos makes 149 horsepower and 179 Nm of torque—figures that are actually very comparable with the rest of the segment, including the Honda HR-V’s 1.8-liter mill. The Subaru XV’s 2.0-liter Boxer does edge the rest in grunt, but that’s negated by having to carry close to 200 kilograms of more weight because of its all-wheel drive drivetrain.

Apart from its drivetrain advantage, the Subaru is the only one in this group to offer independent suspension at all four corners and even vented disc brakes, too. It also has the largest tire size in the group at 225/55 R 18s, while the rest ride on exactly the same size of rubber: 215/55 R 17s.

Exterior-wise, the Subaru XV is also largest in this group, sports the largest wheelbase, and has the highest ground clearance, but it’s quite surprising that the Seltos (and the Kona) matches the Subaru in overall width and height.

Despite its exterior size advantage though, the Seltos does manage to optimize its interior very well. Aside from having best-in-group front and rear headroom, it does beat the Honda HR-V in terms of front leg and rear shoulder room. Compared to its mechanical twin though, the Seltos trounces the Kona in all but front leg room.

Priced at P 1.498-million, the Seltos (at least in SX trim) is the second most expensive model. Yet, a quick scan through the standard features shows it doesn’t really stand out in any department. Its convenience features are matched almost line-by-line to the Honda HR-V RS! At the polar opposites of this group are the Hyundai Kona at P 1.188 million and the Subaru XV at P 1.668-million. But it becomes a case of “you get what you paid for” with the Kona not even getting leather seats and reverse camera/sensors. On the other hand, the Subaru XV is the only one here with collision avoidance tech (Subaru EyeSight), powered driver’s seat, and a sunroof!

Feel free to nerd out with the rest of the specs below.


  1. My Sparkles got Apple Car play and android auto. Also, it's adaptive cruise control. Also got change lane warning, and blind spot detection assistance. It's an Impreza compared to HRV being a city.

  2. The most hotly contested SubCompact SUV in the market are no longer dominated by the Japanese or American vehicles as you mentioned. It will be Korean versus Chinese cars soon. Representing the Left Corner,the Chinese made SUVs namely MG ZS,Geely CoolRay, the new Comer GAC GS3, JAC S4 and the incoming unknown Small SUVs of Chery product. On the right corner, the Korean made Ssangyong Tivoli, Hyundai Kona and the allnew rugged Looking Kia Seltos. The advantages of the Chinese Cars are it's Hi tech features, better Looking design plus most of all Very Cheap selling prices.

  3. I'd go with the Honda HR-V, have a 2012 Subaru Forester 2.0I-L and it's was a decision we regretted. We also had a 2009 Hyundai Grand Starex & it was a headache to scratch out the Subaru & both the Korean brands.

  4. Got the XV with eyesight. Nothing bad to say about it. Its safety features is one of the best in its class.

  5. Hi Guys, why do most of the cars, SUV sold in the Phil. don't have any AWD and TURBO trims or options unlike here in the U.S. Like in India the brand new 2020 KIA SELTOS GT LINE Trim loaded and have AWD & TURBO options, High Tech INFOTAINMENT (10.25" screen), Bose Audio System with dancing LED lights on speakers if you like it. Also, MAZDA CX-5 2.5L the only best they had in AWD no Turbo (why?) with a price tag of about P1,950,000 but no Turbo (Bummer). This 2020 Mazda CX-5 in the U.S. TOTL Signature followed by GTR models are equipped with advanced tech (Snow, Ice, Rain or Shine) capabilities, Napa leather seats and other packages you like to put in your car or SUV before you buy it. Here in America all car brands do have all options, accessories and even if you're not happy of what's offered by the dealership you can build your own car online to order it with just a click! And it's cheaper here than in P.I. By the way,vehicles here in the U.S. are not mainly for personal status but rather necessity to go to work, shopping, vacation, visit friends and family or go fishing or anywhere you want to go.

    1. It depends on the manufacturer. Some spec their products because of a cost target...if they add too much options, it'll bring the price up.

      Sometimes (and you'll be surprised how often that reason comes up), the spec isn't available for our market. It's available for markets like the US, but not for PH market.

      We don't get the CX-5 2.5 Turbo, but we do get the diesel. I got to drive the turbo and I feel that the performance of the diesel is at par without the fuel efficiency penalty.


Feel free to comment or share your views. Comments that are derogatory and/or spam will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to moderate and/or remove comments.