After series of ads and promotions, Kia finally unveiled its first car, a compact SUV in India on Thursday, introducing auto enthusiasts to an incredibly-designed all-terrain drive vehicle. The world premiere of Kia Seltos was held in Delhi, which emphasises the importance of India as a prominent market for Kia.
Kia's Anantapur plant spread across a massive 2.1 square kilometres of land with the production capacity of 300,000 units annually has proven to be a huge step towards the car maker's commitment to thrive in India. At the launch of Seltos, Kia confirmed that it will have 265 touchpoints across spread across 160 cities in India, making it easier for customers to connect with the brand.
The automobile segment is largely driven by loyalty. For a new brand like Kia, it isn't going to be easy to win over consumers, but it has a robust plan in place. Kia is a part of Hyundai Motor Group, a name that most Indians are familiar with. So there's some amount of trust Kia has earned right off the bat.
Coming back to Seltos, the much-anticipated compact SUV by Kia, the competition is intense in the segment. Popular models like Hyundai Creta, Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier and the upcoming MG Hector have all made quite an impact in the space. For Kia Seltos to break the line, it needs more than just what consumers need.
Kia Seltos price in India is yet to be revealed, but it is expected to be around Rs 12-18 lakhs (ex-showroom). At that price-point, Kia Seltos has to be a serious contender with specs that will justify the price and outmatch rivals' offering. Here are the five things that make Kia Seltos a solid buy:
Kia Seltos demo at the launch allowed me to get close to the car but not inside it for the interiors, so don't expect any verdict on how spacious or comfortable Seltos is right now. As far as the outlook goes, Seltos definitely is a head-turner. The front design is my favourite part of the Seltos, complete with its crown jewel LED headlamps, a sleek LED strip connecting over the signature Tiger Nose Grille, 3D multilayer side indicators, ice cube LED fog lamps and the LED DRL and swept back tail lamps.
The dual muffler design on the back gives a sense of more power than the car actually packs, and then there's a bridge chrome line. The humble spoiler with breaklight and the LED tail lamps compliment the overall design. The long-hood and straight shoulder line are saved by a sweeping window line, which gives Seltos a modern look. The SUV sits on 18-inch diamond cut alloys, and have a good breathing room between the tyres and squared-off arches above.
Loved the overall design of Seltos, but I will be perplexed if I have to pick between Seltos, Harrier and Hector.
All that power
What impressed me more than the design of Seltos is what it packs under that long hood. The Seltos will launch in three BS6 engines, two of which will be petrol and one in diesel. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is said to churn out over 140PS power while the 1.5-litre petrol and diesel variants will give about 115PS maximum power. The turbo-petrol variant of Seltos is the showstopper.
Kia Seltos is offered in 3 automatic transmission options IVT, (Intelligent continuously variable transmission) 7DCT, 6AT and a 6 Speed Manual transmission. The car comes in 'Normal,' 'Eco' and 'Sport' modes, which gives drivers varied driving experience.
With great power comes great responsibility. Kia Seltos comes with 6 airbags, ABS, VSM, ESC, traction control system, Brake-assist and hill-assist control as the standard offering. Interestingly, there is a stolen vehicle notification, tracking and immobilization, a 360-degree camera with blind view monitor and driving rearview monitor. There are rear and front parking sensors. All this add to an interesting safety set up in Seltos.
Kia Seltos is equipped with UVO connect, an advanced connected car technology which offers a series of safety and convenience features. It allows drivers to use AI voice command, safety alert, auto collision notification, SOS-emergency assistant and more. There are other features like remote engine start and stop, remotely operated air purifier and in-car air quality monitor. There are 3 smart features, which give an enhanced driving experience and convenience.