Kia Seltos Roadtest Review – Badass is here

Kia Motors is all set to enter the Indian auto market with their very first offering – the Seltos. Kia Motors has some huge plans for India and the Seltos is just the beginning and they want it to be perfect. The Korean car maker is late for the party but wants to ensure they have a flawless takeoff into the Indian auto market with the Seltos. We drove the Seltos on some really wet and extremely beautiful roads in Goa to bring you this roadtest review of what is termed by Kia as the car which is ‘Badass by design’.

Food for Thought

The Kia Seltos began its life as the SP Signature Concept in the 2018 Auto Expo, and since then has seen a lot of attention. The Kia Seltos becomes the 1st vehicle to come with BS-VI ready engines from day one. Designed by Byung Chul-juh, the Seltos has garnered more than 23,000 bookings in less than 3 weeks of bookings’ opening. The Seltos will be manufactured at the Kia Motors Ananthpur plant where production is in full swing.

Exteriors

The Kia Seltos will be available as the Tech-Line and the GT-Line trims, and we drove both of them. The Kia Seltos looks extremely dynamic and trendy from any angle at first look. The SUV has a very upmarket, striking styling and road presence. The face gets the unique Kia Tiger Nose grille with the broad face, surrounded by thick textured chrome surrounds engulfing the diamond styled grille. The wraparound headlights adorn crown jewel styling and get a white LED glow in them. The headlights also get a very unique heartbeat LED DRL in them. The headlights extend themselves into the front grill in form of a slim design LED strip that runs just below the bonnet sill. The front bumper has a smart chiseled styling and houses the very differently styled ice cube design white LED fog lamps.

The Seltos also gets a faux skid plate, adding to the overall SUV styling. The hood is longish and gets a strong character line running around it. The side styling on the Seltos gets highlighted by fiber cladding around the wheel arches, chrome door garnish and chrome belt around the windows that end on the C pillar just behind the quarter glass. Door handles get chrome finish, while the roof-rails make the Seltos look taller. Electric sunroof is also part of the equipment on the top trims of the Kia Seltos. The rear styling on the Seltos is highlighted by a thick chrome band that runs across the bootlid, neatly integrating into the unique design heartbeat LED tail lamps.

The bootlid gets character lines that make the rear look muscular and flexed. The rear bumper houses stop reflectors placed horizontally at an angle along with faux dual muffler and skid plates on it. A large rear spoiler with stop lamp and shark fin radio antenna is also a part of the package. The Seltos has the Bharat 6 emblem placed proudly on the boot lid.

You also have the GT Line variant of the Seltos that gets a special GT badge on the front grille, red lining on the skid plates and side garnish in red on the outside. The Kia Seltos drives on Goodyear Assurance 215/60R17 spec tyres mounted on R17 Hyper metallic finished alloys on the Techline, and R17 Crystal Cut alloys on the GT-Line Seltos.

Interiors

Like its striking exteriors, the Seltos gets an equally glamorous and loaded cabin. Step inside and you realize the level of premium comfort and features the vehicle comes loaded with. The dashboard and door pads get a dualtone shade in black and beige color on the Tech-Line, while the GT-Line gets an all black cabin with red stitching. The dash also gets a special styled crashpad, but the highlight of the Seltos is the 10.25 inch touchscreen infotainment system. This unit comes loaded with features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Kia UVO, FM, Navigation, screen for the 360 degrees camera etc. The instrument cluster also has a 7 inch color display screen that not only reads out all the tell tales, but also doubles up as the compass, tyre pressure monitor and blind spot display when using the turn indicators.

The steering is a three spoke design with the GT-Line getting a flat bottom steering. Both, the normal and flat bottom steering with metal inserts, feel extremely chunky and premium to grip and also come with the MFD control buttons neatly laid on them. The Kia Seltos comes with a segment 1st 8 inch electric Heads-up Display screen. The seats get leather upholstery with the Tech-Line getting beige colored ones with either honeycomb or tube pattern, and the GT-Line getting special GT inscribed on the seats. Driver seats come with full electric adjust and the front seats also get cooled ventilation option on them. Rear seats get three adjustable headrests and also two settings for inclining the back angle as per comfort.

Other highlights of the Kisa Seltos cabin is the unique and segment first perfumed auto air purifier with a 2.16 inch LED display placed at the rear between the front two seats. You have a choice of three perfume diffuser options, Ocean, Lavender and Forest. The display shows the AQI (air quality index) readings in live time and also the fan speed etc. This air purifier can be controlled from the touch screen unit and also via the UVO mobile app. Another key highlight on the Kia Seltos top trims is the Bose music system that comes with 400Watt of sound output from 8 speakers, including a 3.25 inch center speaker and a 8 inch subwoofer.

The sound quality is amazing and typically high end, as expected from a Bose unit. The other trims of the Kia Seltos come with the Arkamys music system. The music system is connected to the mood lighting, which in turn kind of dances on the musical notes, you can also choose between just the ambient lighting or the ambient music lighting.

The Kia Seltos has a overall boot space of 433 litres with a broad and comfortable loading area.

The Seltos has the best loaded cabin in its class, comfort levels are extremely high and the fit finish is second to none, with tons of space available for the occupants across the cabin. Clever use of silver accents and piano black add loads of premium feel to the interiors.

Engine – Transmission – Drive

The Kia Seltos gets 3 engine options, with all engines being BS VI ready from day one. Two petrol and one diesel engines are on the lineup. 1.4T GDI Turbo has a power output of 140Ps and 242Nm of torque mated to 6-speed manual and 7-speed DCT Automatic transmission options. The 1.5 Petrol engine makes 115Ps of power and has 144Nm of torque output and comes with either a 6-speed manual or a smartstream automatic transmission option. The diesel engine on the lineup is the 1.5L VGT motor with 115Ps of power and 250Nm of torque mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed auto transmission.

We drove the 1.4 GDI and the 1.5 Diesel versions. All three engine options are very well suited to the needs and requirements of different buyers. Our pick was the 1.4L GDI Petrol, where the engine feels extremely free revving and responsive. The drive quality is very plush and so is the handling. The steering feels nicely weighted with adequate feedback at all speeds. Pickup and power delivery is extremely good with super smooth shifts on the DCT automatic. The Manual version also offers loads of fun. The DCT automatic trim also gets drive modes to choose from, Normal, Eco and Sport modes can be selected using the dial. Apart from these modes you also get three traction modes to select -Mud, Snow/Wet and Sand mode. Toggling between these drive and traction modes was fun, especially on the wet Goan roads.

The diesel Seltos was no less fun to drive, with tons of torque available at all speeds and great drivability across the powerband. The all disc brake system on the Seltos did its job wonderfully, bringing the SUV to stop without any judder, with braking feedback being very positive and giving a secure feel.

Safety

The Kia Seltos comes loaded with safety features till the brim which include 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, BA, 360 degree camra, front and rear parking sensors, blind view monitor, Hill assist control, ESC, VSM, ISOFIX child anchor to name a few.

Competition

The Kia Seltos enters the Mini SUV segment, where it competes with the likes of the segment leader, the Hyundai Creta, MG Hector, Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV 5OO, Nissan Terrano, Renault Duster, Renault Captur, Nissan Kicks, Maruti Suzuki S-Cross.

Verdict

Kia Motors have made a late entry into India and to compensate that, they have not left any stone unturned with the Seltos. The Korean SUV is loaded to the brim in terms of comfort, convenience and safety features. The Seltos looks extremely trendy and the overall package is second to none currently in the segment. Kia has given three different Engine and transmission options to choose from. The UVO app is very addictive to use and so is the massive and smooth flowing touchscreen, not forgetting the Heads-up display and the air purifier. We are sure Kia Motors have done their homework and will be launching the Seltos at an attractive price on the 22nd of August.

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