Kia Seltos – A Review
Will The Kia Seltos dethrone the Segment Leader? We Drive the Kia Seltos to find out.
Photo Credit : Siddharth,
The Hottest and the busiest car segment in India today is in the 10-20lakh bracket, with almost every manufacturer having a product in this segment. The Hyundai Creta with its style, feature loading and build quality is the Benchmark to beat here. Look around and you will see more Creta than any other B Segment SUV. Hyundai’s sibling KIA Motors is entering the Indian Car Market with the Seltos, which is in fact based on the Creta’s platform. Platform Sharing is one thing, we have seen that with the Duster and Terrano as well but will the Seltos be able to Emulate Hyundai Creta’s Success? We at BWAutoworld got a chance to drive the multiple variants of the KIA Seltos and here is what we think.
KIA Motors first showcased The Seltos at the 2018 Auto Expo as the SP2i concept. Post which, multiple sightings of the SUV doing its test rounds have been seen on the interwebz. Let’s then go deeper into this B-segment SUV that will go on sale from the 22nd of August 2019.
At the first look, there is nothing Creta about the Design of the New Seltos. Ok the A-pillar resembles the Creta but that’s about it. This is a subjective topic as we all know but the Seltos is a very good looking car. The Front of the Seltos is where it's at, The design elements in the front of the Seltos give it a very strong and boxy look. The complex LED lighting cluster with Heartbeat LED light bar running on top of the tiger-nose grille gives a very premium and unique look to the Seltos. While driving the Seltos, we noticed a lot of people clicking pictures and we asked a few of them what they thought about the car, everyone agreed it looks good.
A mix of Premium textures are used in the Trademark Tiger Nose Grille of the Seltos, The LED Headlights and the Ice Cube-shaped LED fog lamps look distinctly premium. KIA Motors is offering the Seltos in Two Trim Lines – The HT Line and the GT Line, the latter gets some sporty bits here and there, more on that later. KIA says the HT Line is targeted at people looking for features and comfort while the GT Line is for people who are young at heart. The GT Line also gets red accents in the front and rear diffuser and side body cladding. GT Line gets bigger 17inch crystal cut wheels, while the others get 16inchers.
Each of the Trim Lines gets three variants – eXtreme (Top Spec HTX,GTX), Klass (Mid Spec HTK, GTK) and the Energy (Base Spec HTE, GTE). Kia is also offering a choice of optional alloy wheels if you don’t like the one that comes with the car.
The Rear of the Seltos is not as striking as the front, the rear gets the LED lighting treatment as well. Then there is the diffuser which takes up most of the rear bumper, there are two faux exhaust tips as well.
The Floating Roof design is well-executed here and you can get the Seltos in Dual Tone colour options, which looks superb. Roof rails and Sharkfin antennae are present across the variants.
The Seltos is a premium product and its very obvious once you get inside. The choice of materials used and the plastics are of high quality. KIA offers the Seltos with a choice of interiors along with the Trim lines and variants. The Tech line gets beige leatherette seats while the GT Line gets a sportier black seats with red stitching. The Switchgear and buttons used to offer good tactile feedback. Ergonomics are good and everything is within reach of the driver.
The Driver Seat is electrically operated and the steering can be adjusted for rake and reach, getting into a comfortable driving position was easy. While driving the Tech Line variants the beige interior along with the sunroof brightened up the cabin considerably compared to the GT Line Dual-clutch Turbo Petrol.
The Dashboard of the Seltos is dominated by the 10.25inch infotainment screen, the instrument cluster is also connected to this making it look like one big unit. The unit is also slightly turned towards the driver making operating it a bit easier.
The Seltos comes with a single zone HVAC unit, the Aircon unit in the humid and rainy weather of Goa worked fine and we had no troubles. The Seltos also comes ventilated front seats and with a built-in air purifier which is situated under the armrest, this is the first time a manufacturer is offering an air purifier in a car. The Purifier can be controlled from the big infotainment screen and also comes with three perfume settings. If you are a smoker you are going to love this.
The leather-wrapped Steering Wheel feels nice in hand and houses the controls for audio, voice and cruise control. The Seltos also comes with Auto wipers and Headlamps. Kia has also improved the horn for the Seltos in India. And yeah the horn is loud.
Car Audio is an integral part of the driving experience and Kia Motors is offering the Seltos with Arkamys and BOSE sound systems with 7 + 1 speakers(Center Speaker and Subwoofer). There is mood lighting as well but The Seltos has a party trick, you can set the mood lighting to change with the music, Quite interesting feature.
The space inside is the Seltos is very generous considering the Creta Platform. I’m 6 feet tall and with the front seat set to my comfort position, seats at the rear offered ample legroom and under-thigh support. All thanks to Seltos being longer and broader than the Creta.
The Seltos comes with Three Engines and Four Gearbox combinations. Yes! You read that right… There are two petrol engines and one diesel paired with automatic and manual transmissions. All engines are BSVI compatible from day 1, which means the cost of BSVI is factored in already.
6Speed Manual and
1.5 Diesel VGT
6 Speed Manual /
6 Speed Torque Converter
1.4 TGDI Petrol
6 Speed Manual /
7 Speed Dual Clutch
The 1.5L Diesel Automatic variant is very refined and might just set the standard for refinement in the segment. The gearbox is very responsive to throttle inputs and the engine pulls hard. Even while driving at triple-digit speeds and the engine was not all that boomy inside the cabin. While driving in city speeds the engine is almost silent.
The 1.4 TGDI Petrol unit that we drove was like the hyperactive kid of the family. This engine comes with two transmission options 6 Speed MT and 7 Speed DCT, we drove both and lets start with the 6 Speed MT. The clutch is light just like a Hyundai, but this engine is an eager performer. In the manual avatar, the turbo lag is evident under 2000rpm but it is not a dealbreaker. The 7DCT transmission, on the other hand, is just something else, you get driving modes here ECO, SPORT, NORMAL and these are not just namesake. Switch to Sport mode and the steering becomes tight and the gearbox responds faster. The enthusiasts would love this 1.4 TGDI + 7DCT combo. The Company claims the 1.4 TGDI can hit the ton in 9.7 Secs. While the 1.5 Petrol will touch 100 in 11.8secs and the 1.5 VGT diesel will cross 100 in 11.5secs.
Drive and Handling
Being based on the Creta Platform brings a lot of positives to the Kia Seltos, it rides well over potholes and undulations on the road. But we felt that the bouncy rear typical of the Hyundai is sorted here. The Seltos handles Bad roads and potholes with much less fuss, The bigger ones do unsettle it though. It is pretty neutral while cornering considering the fact that its an SUV. The steering is numb but that is alright this is not a sports car. In the Sport mode, the steering stiffens up its more a feel factor which is fine. The refinement levels are very high in all the engine gearbox combos, this is what matters at the end of the day. The Seltos is surely sportier than the Creta and some of the competition. The 1.4 TGDI motor + 7DCT is going to be the enthusiasts favourite.
Features that you get.
1. Heads up Display (HUD)
Yes, you read it right. Gone are the days when an HUD was exclusive to certain german cars only. The Seltos comes with a Combiner type HUD system displaying navigation and speed right in the driver's line of sight. The fonts and colors can be adjusted to ones liking as well.
2. Proper 360 Camera System
The Seltos comes with a 360 camera system which can be switched on whenever you want from a button. Blindspot camera activates as soon as you give the turn indicator a nudge.
3. Active and passive Safety Features
The Seltos comes with Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), ABS, Brake Force Assist, Hill-start assist and front and rear parking sensors. Apart from these, there are 6 airbags, ISO FIX mounts offered.
4. UVO Connect
Connected Cars is the Present and the Future, Kia Motors has put the internet inside the Seltos as well, via the UVO Connect application. There is a lot of telemetry, safety, convenience and remote control features available to the user with this application. Kia Motors has also opened a Dedicated Call Center for UVO Concierge
5. 13 Color Options
8 Monotone Colors and 5 dual-tone colors
Should you buy it?
So is the Kia Seltos going to disrupt the Segment? Kia Motors has gone full throttle with the Seltos, Three Engines, Four Transmissions, Two Trim Lines, Choice of interiors, Choice of Wheels, Connected features and a lot of segment-first features. The high-quality interiors and premium look surely make the Seltos stand out in the crowd of SUVs under 20lakhs. KIA Motors has also managed to open 260+ customer touchpoints before the official launch of the Seltos. The Prices will be revealed on the 22nd of August. Considering the full package that The Seltos offers, it gets a big thumbs up from us.