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Kia Seltos – Expert review

Kia Seltos – Expert review

Snapshot: The Seltos has the onus of launching the brand ‘Kia Motors’ in India and it’s a car that simply shines bright. Rivals should be worried.

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The Seltos enters a highly competitive SUV segment, where the Tata Harrier, MG Hector and the Hyundai Creta already have established themselves as strong contenders. The Seltos is essentially based on the next-gen Creta, which itself will arrive early in 2020. So can the Seltos carve out a niche for itself and can it deliver on two main fronts. Gain foothold in the car buyers mind and also deliver in establishing brand Kia in India. From the looks of it, a good-looking car like the Seltos can easily win hearts. So here is the answer to this question.

Exteriors

The Seltos has a very similar footprint to the Creta. It is marginally longer and wider than that car. The front end is dominated by the heavily sculpted headlamps which get multiple elements in them. You also get Kia’s signature Tiger grille which accentuates the bold stance of the car. The side profile with its squared out wheel arches and stylish looking alloys adds to the sense of visual flair. The small quarter glass window at the back adds to the airy feel inside. The rear isn’t as dramatic as the front-end though and you get squared out lamps with a large chrome bar running in the centre. Overall, it is a car that looks well balanced. It is neither too big nor small in shape and size and this bodes well for sales.

 

Interiors

Get ready to be blown away with the quality of interiors on the cabin of the Seltos. The car has high quality interiors and a plush feeling inside the cabin. The highlight is the 10.8-inch touchscreen system, which is really nice and easy to operate with a high-resolution display as well. You also get Heads-up display, which is a feature found on cars twice the price. The Seltos is a connected car. Kia offers the UVO app which houses all the commands for the car. You can switch it on, turn up the AC and do a host of other stuff with this app.

 

The top-of-the line GT version of the car gets red stitching on the seats as well which adds to the sporty feel inside the cabin. Buyers will appreciate the quality inside the cabin as well. All the switchgear feels nice and is solid to operate. Rear occupants will love the amount of legroom on offer. It is a wide car too so having three on-board at the back isn’t an issue in the least. The boot at 433-litres is bigger than the current Creta’s by around 33 litres but still can’t match the massive 587 litre capacity of the MG Hector. Overall, you will enjoy spending time in the comfortable cabin of the Seltos.

Engine, performance and gearbox

You get three engine options. There is a 1.5 diesel and petrol and both make an identical 115bhp. The third engine is a 1.4-litre turbo petrol, which makes 140bhp. All engines are BSVI compliant from day one and all come with manual and automatic options. We sampled the highlight package of the car in the form of the 1.4-litre turbo petrol which comes with the seven-speed automatic dual clutch gearbox.

The dual clutch version is a delight to operate. The gearshifts are effortless and you won’t be able to tell when the gears are exactly shifting, it is so smooth. Oddly though Kia haven’t given paddle shifters which would have added to the fun element.

The 1.4-litre engine is a hoot to drive with plenty of power available low in the powerband. All you need to do is simply hit the accelerator pedal and the Seltos is ready to leap forward. It feels like a very well engineered car. The cabin isolation is good too with minimal tyre, wind or road noises entering the cabin. Buyers will truly enjoy the time they spend behind the steering wheel of the Seltos.

The manuals we drove too had good refinement from the engines and the clutches were light to operate. The gearboxes will remind you of the current Hyundai Creta in their short and precise throws.

Ride and handling

Kia engineers have found the right mix between a sporty handling and comfortable ride. This is commendable for such a big and bulky SUV. SUVs are known for their handling prowess, but you will truly enjoy the steering feedback on the Seltos. The steering feels direct, precise and very communicative as well on this car. Turn it into sharp corners and there isn’t too much body roll to worry about. The grip levels from the tyres too is good and you will simply love pushing this car around corners all day long.

Summary

They say that save the best for the last. The Seltos is the last big SUV launch of this year and certainly is a good product. It excels at driver involvement, ride comfort as well as solid build quality. Overall, its also very spacious and has the right footprint for the city. We recommend a buy and give it a strong score of 90 out of a 100.

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