Kia Names Its New Millennial-Focused Compact SUV 'Seltos'

Photo: Kia

The name of Kia’s new compact SUV—which will be unveiled in full later this month—is Seltos, named, according to Kia, after Celtos, son of Hercules. Celtos?

Here’s Kia’s press release:

The name of the Kia Seltos is inspired by Greek mythology and the legend of ‘Celtos’, the son of Hercules. Representing the brave and assertive spirit of Celtos, the ‘S’ in the vehicle’s adapted name implies speed and sportiness.


I had never heard of this particular legendary person, so I Googled, and didn’t come up with much. In some variations of the myth, Hercules had a son named Celtus, the father of the Celts, but in other versions Celtus doesn’t exist at all, or exists as the progeny of someone else. In no version that I can find is Celtus spelled with an o.

Now, I realize I’m speaking as if this shit matters to a brand and I know it doesn’t. Kia’s allowed to name their car any stupid thing it wants to. It’s also allowed to make up whatever dumb backstory it wants for said name. But it would’ve also been fine if Kia had simply said, “We named it this because we had to name it something.”

That might have even helped, in this case, since Kia says this car is aimed at millennials, and nothing says millennials like Greek mythology from millennia ago.

The Seltos has been created for the millennial generation, standing apart from its rivals with a combination of sophisticated, sporty design and the space and capabilities of a traditional SUV – all in a compact package.


I actually quite like Kia’s willingness to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks; the ham-fistedness is entirely the charm. Consider the car that the Seltos will likely slot just above, in terms of size, the Kia Stonic, a subcompact SUV it doesn’t sell here but does sell overseas. That name is a portmanteau of “speed” and “tonic,” which makes about as much sense as Seltos.

Anyhow, will the Seltos actually look any different than Kia’s other non-millennial-focussed SUVs? We won’t get a full look at its exterior till the debut, but Kia did release some images of the inside last month.


Looks like a car? I emailed Kia to see if they could give me some more backstory on Celtos the legend, though you are free to educate me further in the comments.

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Erik Shilling

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.