First Drive Review: Kia Seltos Facelift - The Badass Reborn?

Kia Seltos is a successful brand for the South Korean automobile manufacturer, but over the years the charm of the SUV had started to fade away and it needed a major makeover. To match the growing expectations of the customers, the company has launched the facelifted version of the SUV

Photo Credit : Utkarsh Agarwal,

2023 Kia Seltos

The Seltos plays a pivotal role in Kia’s portfolio. It was the first product with which Kia made its entry into the Indian market in 2019. The car was first previewed at the 2018 Auto Expo as the SP concept and it immediately grabbed the headlines because of its unique design and the number of features it offered. Since then the brand has sold over 5 lakh units of the Seltos in India and it currently contributes 55 per cent to Kia India’s overall sales. Globally, 1 out of every 10 Kia cars sold is a Seltos.

Adding to this, now after four years, Kia has launched the facelift version of the Seltos with increments to the exterior, interior, features and powertrain. It is available in three trims and 3 engine options in petrol & diesel variants. In fact, it is one of the only two SUVs in the mid-size segment that offers a diesel option. We drove the 1.5-litre diesel GT Line variant for a day, and here is what we have to say about the car-

The New Design

Compared to the outgoing model, the new Seltos now gets a new front grille that Kia calls it a ‘tiger nose’ grille, a new bumper, tweaked headlights, and a new LED Daytime Running Lamp. 

On the rear, you will notice a connected light bar that runs through the width of the tailgate, which has been replaced by the chrome strip. Furthermore, the turbo-petrol versions also get dual functional exhausts.

Along the sides, the GT Line variant gets the same 18-inch crystal-cut glossy alloy wheels as the X-Line. The sequential turn indicators give the SUV a premium appeal.

Like the outside Kia Seltos facelift gets a few substantial changes on the inside. As you enter the cabin of the Kia Seltos facelift, you will notice a new connected infotainment & instrument cluster display with 8-inch & 10.25-inch touchscreen, depending upon the variant. The huge panoramic sunroof is a new addition and it will definitely attract your attention towards it.

As for the rest of the cabin, the high-quality leather upholstery on the seats with GT-line badging gives a premium feel.


In terms of features, there's a compelling list. You get ventilated seats, dual-zone climate control, front parking sensors, a wireless charging pad, rain-sensing wipers, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, and the list goes on.

The Tech Line misses out on ADAS, auto-wipers, an electronic parking brake and the 360-degree camera while the X-Line further adds the HUD in its list. 

What’s new in the 2023 Kia Seltos?

♦ ADAS Level 2 with 17 features

♦ Additions in Front & Rear Design

♦ Connected Infotainment & Cluster Display

♦ Dual Zone Automatic AC 

♦ Voice Operated Panoramic Sunroof

♦ 18-inch Alloy Wheels

♦ New 1.5L Turbo Petrol Engine

♦ Dual Sports Exhaust in 1.5L Turbo Petrol Variant only

♦ Cooling in Wireless Charger

♦ 1 New Colour Addition - Pewter Olive

ADAS Level 2.0

The biggest addition to the Kia Seltos is ADAS Level 2. There are 3 radars on the SUV, one on the front and two on the rear. This comes with 17 autonomous features like Forward Collision Warning and Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist & Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Leading Vehicle Departure Alert, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist and Safe Exit Warning.

Few safety features include six airbags, 360-degree camera with blind view monitor in cluster, electronic stability control, hill-hold, all-wheel disc brakes and TPMS.

There are a few India specific features too in the car like Hinglish voice commands, an electronic dual shell horn, an updated Air Purifier, and a cooling function in wireless charger.

Powertrain & Performance

Kia has made changes under the hood too. Now in the Seltos facelift, Kia offers a new powerful 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine along with the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel powertrain option. It's an impressive engine which generates a maximum power of 160 ps and 253 Nm of peak torque. 

The new Kia Seltos is available in 3 trims as Tech-Line, GT-Line & X-Line. We drove the 1.5-litre diesel GT Line that produces 116 ps of power & 250 Nm of peak torque, mated to a DCT transmission. There’s also a 6-speed iMT on offer with this one. The engine has been updated to BS6 Phase II standards and it now puts out 1hp more than the previous one, but you can hardly tell the difference. We didn’t get to experience the turbo-petrol engine, but this one surely misses out on that punch. 

While driving the SUV, even on wet roads, feels solid and the brake responds quickly. The suspension on the car does a good job on rough terrains and uneven roads. The 18-inch wheels stick to the ground and gives stability to the SUV even at high speed. The steering wheel is nice to hold and is very responsive.

Fuel Efficiency

Kia claims the 1.5L petrol with manual transmission returns 17.0 km/l while CVT provides a fuel economy of 17.7 km/l. While the 1.5L turbo-petrol engine with a 6-speed iMT returns 17.7kpl and with a 7-speed DCT gearbox returns 17.9 km/l. Lastly, the 1.5L diesel with 6-speed iMT has a claimed fuel economy of 20.7 km/l, while with a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox returns 19.1 km/l.

Body Colour Options

The new Kia Seltos facelift is available in 8 monotone colour options with one new addition - Pewter Olive and 2 dual-tone colours while the X-line trim is available in Matte Graphite finish.Price & Competitors

The ex-showroom prices for the new Kia Seltos start from Rs. 10.90 lakh for the base 1.5 litre petrol HTE variant and goes up to Rs. 20 lakh for the top X-Line variant. The pricing is quite aggressive seeing the current market and its rivals.

The Kia Seltos facelift competes with MG Astor, Skoda Kushaq, Volkswagen Taigun, Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota Hyryder and Honda Elevate in the mid-size SUV segment.

Should you buy the Kia Seltos Facelift?

Well, we drove the car for a day only but as the first impression goes, the new Kia Seltos definitely feels more premium than before. The new additions that have been made on the exterior, interiors & feature additions like ADAS Level 2.0 and a panoramic sunroof gives the car a sophisticated yet modern look. Kia continues to offer a wide range of powertrain & variants in the facelift version too. While driving the diesel variant, you might feel a bit sluggish acceleration but goes smooth once the car attains a certain speed. Overall, the Kia Seltos facelift comes across as a good deal and is worth your money! 


Around The World