Kia Seltos: stylish, comfy & irresistible
The Kia Seltos’s has a traditinal stance that would attract the Indian buyers towards the SUV.
The Korean carmaker Kia's first SUV model the Seltos for India is fit to take on the ultra-competitive midsize SUV segment, the Hyundai Creta, Nissan Kicks, Renault Duster and Captur, Tata Harrier, MG Hector and Mahindra XUV500.
The Seltos comes equipped with new generation engines, which are the stringent BS6 emission norms-compliant. The brand offers a 115 HP, 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine, a 115 HP, 1.5-litre diesel, and a 140
HP, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and the 6-speed manual gearboxes are standard fit, each engine gets a different type of automatic transmission option. The 1.5 petrol gets a CVT, the 1.5 diesel is available with a 6-speed torque converter auto, while the 1.4 turbo-petrol can be had with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
I test drove the 1.5 diesel-automatic and 1.4 turbo-petrol-DCT engines in the picturesque Goan terrain to find out what it promises.
The Kia Seltos’ near-vertical front end and upright pillars give it a traditional SUV stance that Indian buyers tend to like and attracts your attention. The grille, large headlamps and stylish bumper give the Seltos a distinctive face and what makes the look even more special is the level of detailing. The full-LED headlights, the streak-like LED indicators and the ‘ice cube’ fog lights are brilliant and there is also an LED strip that runs from the headlights to the snout, accentuating the Kia’s width.
The Seltos will be available in two styles – Tech Line and GT Line – with each having its own trims. Undoubtedly, the Seltos looks well balanced and stands confident on its 17-inch wheels. The car’s tail is neatly done and the tail-light’s LED signature helps identify the Seltos from a distance, while the rear bumper, with its scuff plate is rugged.
The Seltos’ cabin is at a convenient height, the fit and finish is excellent and there are enough quality bits to make you feel it is worth the price. The leatherette seats are rich in look, the flat-bottomed and leather-wrapped steering is great to hold, and the soft-touch panel on the dash only ups the ambience further.
The high-end Seltos gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen, which is slick, well laid-out and handily offers a split screen mode, so you can access two functions at the same time. The touchscreen is the go-to control for most functions. Drivers, however, can operate the basics via the steering-mounted buttons and the voice-activated functions too are impressive.
The seats at the back are comfortable to seat three people. Other features include auto headlights, tyre pressure monitoring system, an electric sunroof, ventilated front seats, a powered driver’s seat, a 400W Bose sound system, front and rear parking sensors, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting. It also offers air purifier with three selectable fragrances. Kia’s eSIM-based UVO connected tech packs in 37 features, including live location, geo-fencing, panic notification and remote engine start/stop (only on automatics). The connected tech works well but its performance is a function of network access, so it may not work everywhere.
The Drive Experience
The Seltos 1.4 turbo-petrol is a delight to drive and feels a cut above the existing petrol midsize SUVs in the country. The engine runs smooth and is quiet on the city roads. The 140 HP and 242Nm engine feels gutsy, and revs quite readily past 6,000rpm. While the Kia’s 7-speed dual-clutch auto is diligent and quick, shifts are sometimes not quite seamless. Unfortunately, the vehicle does not have paddleshifters.
The three driving modes such as Eco, Normal and Sport not only alter engine characteristics but also steering weight though there is hardly any difference between Eco and Normal modes. But Sport mode does spice up the driving experience. The steering wheel is premium, giving a feeling of connect with the Seltos, and turns neatly in to corners.
Driving on city roads and highways, it gives you a feeling of sophistication and poise and confident at all speeds. The movements of the car are well controlled on the whole, with the suspension flattening the bumps and lumps on roads. The 115 HP/250Nm 1.5 diesel engine is also quite refined, providing a good performance you cannot forget. It picks up speed quite easily.
Should I buy it?
After an exhaustive drive, one wonders why you would not buy Seltos. Even though it is a new brand, it is stylish, comfortable, well-built and well-equipped to force you to open your purse. Seltos will be priced between Rs 11 lakh - Rs 17 lakh range but wait till August 22 to take a call.