KIA Motors is driving in its game-changer global SUV Seltos to India. The official launch is on August 22 when the prices of the ambitious, benchmark-setting Seltos lineup will be revealed. Ahead of the launch of the most-awaited car of the year, Kia Motors India organised a media drive in Goa where a feisty bunch of auto connoisseurs put the machine to the grind on the wet tarmacs and tracks around North Goa.
We will take you through the Seltos inside out, but what must be said before is that as a package, Seltos will make the rivals fret. Seltos is lustily packed with top-notch features, some of which are segment first. Designed with an eye on the Indian conditions, KIA cleverly positions Seltos in a highly competitive segment, with a promise to surprise.
With cyclonic winds dumping the decade's heaviest showers around famed Goan beaches the all-new KIA badass SUV was champing at the bit.
The bold, sporty and distinctive styling of Seltos stood out even as dozens of the SUVs lined up at the porch of W Goa. With cyclonic winds dumping the decade's heaviest showers around famed Goan beaches the badass was champing at the bit. Multiple drives on the rain soaked Goan outbacks and beach side tracks overrun by slush revealed the marque's spunky drive feel. Whether you drove the fun 7DCT, the turbo petrol manual or the torque converter diesel you were left wanting more of wheel time.
KIA knows that its launch vehicle in the challenging Indian market will be running into stiff competition and unkind evaluation by a customer base pampered with multiple options. KIA does have a late mover disadvantage in this segment. At various price points and model trims the Seltos will come face to face with a wide array of rivals in the market, such as MG Hector, Tata Harrier, Renault Captur, Hyundai Creta, Jeep Compass and Nissan Kicks.
At various price points and model trims the Seltos will come face to face with a wide array of rivals in the market, such as MG Hector, Tata Harrier, Renault Captur, Hyundai Creta, Jeep Compass and Nissan Kicks
It's here that you realise that Seltos has the ultimate deal bending capabilities. It offers something for everyone who aspires to buy into the fast expanding premium compact SUV segment. Unlike its myriad competitors this compact SUV undeniably stands out for its great practicality, inviting features, futuristic connectivity and delectable engine and transmission options.
Engine and transmission
Seltos comes with three engine options -- Smartstream 1.5 litre petrol, Smartstream 1.4 turbo charged petrol and the 1.5 litre diesel VGT. And unlike many of its rivals, Seltos offers automatic modes in both petrol and diesel. And a pleasant surprise is that the automatic transmission comes in three different technologies - IVT (Intelligent continuously variable transmission) for the 1.5 litre petrol engine, DCT (dual clutch transmission) for the 1.4 litre turbo petrol motor and the traditional torque converter automatic for the diesel mill.
Seltos is offered in both Tech Line and GT Line options. While the Tech Line comes with 1.5 petrol and diesel engines, the sportier and more plush GT Line comes only with 1.4 turbo-petrol engine. The 1.5 litre petrol model delivers 115 bhp and 144 nm torque, but those who want a sportier ride can opt for the 1.4 turbo petrol model that churns out 140 bhp and 242Nm torque. The dual clutch transmission in this model is an absolute delight, offering seamless, effortless power delivery and a muffled, throaty grunt that turns out as a charming invisible companion.
The most amazing feature that you notice inside the KIA Seltos is the Smart 8.0 Heads Up Display. In India HUD is available only in the luxury segment now, in cars that cost upwards of Rs 40 lakh
It surprises though, that KIA has saved some of its premium creature comforts for the manual version of the 1.4 litre turbo petrol model, positioning it as the top end trim in the GT Line. In the diesel, the car is offered in both manual and automatic transmission. The traditional torque converter is great drive too but ends up a tad below the superior drive feel you get in the seven-speed DCT in petrol.
Though Seltos comes across essentially as refined urban SUV -- and drives handsomely like one -- it doesn't just play catch up with the likes of Huyndai Creta. It is not offered in AWD, but barring that, the car does offer a ruggedness that beats the meeker-looking competition on the road.
KIA also gives multiple driving modes. Your can choose between 'Normal', 'Eco' and 'Sport' modes as well as various grip control features such as mud, wet and sand modes in higher trims. The suspension is on the stiffer side, offering great handling. The braking is effortless, not any shudder being felt even at moderately high speeds and wet conditions. The car grinds to a halt from 100 km to 0 in only about 40 metres, aided by all four disc brakes. Safety is paramount with six airbags and advanced stability features like ABS and ESC. Seltos also offers real time tyre pressure monitoring system, remote vehicle status with info on engine, AC, fuel, tyre pressure etc. It also has live car tracking with the UVO app.
The ambitious positioning of Seltos hasn't cost the marque the advantage on the practicality front -- read the mileage part. Seltos will give most of its rivals a run for their money in this department. Kia says Seltos 1.5 liter petrol manual model will deliver a mileage of 16.4 kmpl. This FWD engine churns out 115 bhp and a peak torque of 144 nm. Mated with the IVT automatic transmission, the same mill offers 16.3 kmpl in Seltos. On the other hand, the 1.5 diesel with manual transmission delivers 20.8 kmpl while the six-speed torque converter automatic gear gives 17.8 kmpl. These are impressive numbers for a car of its size.
A looker by all means
Seltos stands out for its sophisticated design that draws on pure line SUV DNA. Of course it isn't a full size SUV and doesn't pretend to be one either. For perspective it's slightly on the bigger side when compared with Hyundai Creta. And it sits pretty well below the Tata Harrier and MG Hector. It has the stance of a bold SUV with a rather upright front end, negligible front and rear overhangs and aggressive but elegant front fascia defined by the tiger nose grille, heartbeat LEDs and ice cube themed fog lamps. A muscular air dam design, coupled with red accented skid plates in higher variants, gives it an unmistakeable SUV appeal. The R17 crystal cut alloys with red calipers (in the GTLine) give Seltos a sporty feel.
The Seltos interior (Watch video)
Seltos boasts of a truly futuristic cabin loaded with plenty of creature comforts. The most amazing feature that you notice inside the KIA Seltos is the Smart 8.0 Heads Up Display. In India HUD is available only in the luxury segment now, in cars that cost upwards of Rs 40 lakh. KIA doesn't give this very attractive feature in all variants of Seltos though. The 1.5 litre turbo petrol manual as well as the 7DCT that we drove have this feature. With navigation prompts on the heads up display, the driver gets the enhanced, undisturbed line of vision. Another great feature, probably a segment first, is the indicator-linked video display in the 7 inch screen at the centre of the instrument cluster. The moment you activate the turn indicators the video pops up right in front, leaving you with the luxury of linear vision.
And the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is elegantly designed. It also offers split screen feature that lets you fiddle with more than one task at a time.
Seltos is an intelligent combination of great tech and creature comforts. The 8-way electrically adjustable driver seat and leather wrapped steering wheel pamper the driver. While the leatherette seats that come in all black and beige give a premium feel at the outset, a whole lot of stitched leather components across the dash as well as soft touch materials in ergonomically important patches add to the premium experience. Another great feature is the ventilated driver and passenger seats and the smart Air Purifier that give Seltos the plush edge. An electric sunroof, rain-sensing wipers and blind-view monitor are some of the other features in the higher GTLine.
Seltos is a connected car like no other, drawing from KIA's 20-year legacy in this technology. The UVO app, Kia's eSIM-based connectivity feature, offers the Seltos as many as 37 smart features. AI powered voice recognition, remote engine start with AC and Smart Pure Air on, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting, geo-fencing and live location are some of it.
Where it pips a bunch of rivals to the post
KIA Seltos is the first car in its segment that offers BS VI compliant engines at the launch. Unlike many of its rivals in the market the engines aren't 'BS VI ready' but conform to the strict emission standards right from from day one. That apart, Seltos, which derives its name from Greek god Celtos, displays an intelligent attempt to capture the market with a great blend of practicality, luxury and futuristic features. Seltos is one car that has obviously scaled the high entry barrier with ease and panache.