Kia Seltos HTX Plus 1.5 Diesel First Drive Review

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  • 9.69 - 16.99 L
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Kia Seltos HTX Plus 1.5 Diesel First Drive Review - CarTrade

author image Ajinkya Lad
Thursday 03 October 2019

This is the Kia Seltos, and it has got the boisterous charm to lure buyers away from its competitors. So, what we have here today is the top-spec diesel manual in the Tech Line (HTX+) trim. It gets a 1.5L BS-VI compliant engine, which will soon make its way into various Kia-Hyundai cars in the future. But can it deliver what's expected of it? Let's find out.

Kia Seltos
 

 

Exterior

Much has been spoken about the design of the Seltos, so I'll keep it brief. Kia has gone for a conventional two-box design, with a long bonnet, muscular haunches, and squared-out wheel arches. Breaking the monotony is the knurled finish on the tiger nose grille, body claddings and the faux skid plates on both the bumpers. A chrome strip runs across the lower part of the window beltline, all the way onto the D-pillar, which gives a floating effect to the roof.

Kia Seltos

The headlamps, taillights and even the turn indicators are all-LED. It gets heartbeat-shaped DRLs and the vertically-stacked 'Ice Cube' LED fog lamps to elevate the upmarket feel of the car. These 17-inch alloys on the Tech Line are rather plain in appearance, and we would've loved the dual-tone design of the GT Line here.

Kia Seltos
Interior

Interiors of the Seltos are well-crafted and a lot of thought process has gone into designing it. Besides, it’s a modern tech-fest here. The interior quality and fit and finish is top-notch. Apart from the partly leather-wrapped dashboard, there are a lot of hard plastics all around the cabin, but even then, it all exudes quality. All the toggles and switches have a positive tactile feel to them, and there's hardly anything to fault here.

Kia Seltos

The front seats are well-bolstered and cushy, and provide good support to the back. There's good under-thigh support as well. What's more, the driver's seat is also eight-way electrically adjustable. You sit fairly high, and this offers a commanding view of the surroundings. Moving on, the rear seats offer ample knee and legroom, and even the head and shoulder room is more than sufficient. However, we found the under-thigh support to be lacking. That said, rear-seat passengers do get a two-step recline function and there are individual headrests for all three passengers. What's more, you also get sun blinds for the rear windows, which make the experience cosier.

Kia Seltos

At 433-litres, there's ample boot space on offer. And that, combined with a flat loading bay and a 60:40 split for the rear seats, makes the boot quite practical.

Kia Seltos

The flat-bottom steering wheel is nice to hold, and gets tilt and telescopic adjustment. That said, the party piece here is the 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which has crisp graphics and good touch-response. It displays a plethora of driving information, and lets you access the various connectivity features or change the settings. The Seltos is packed with features to the brim. You get auto headlamps, an eight-speaker BOSE music system, wireless charging, and cooled front seats. What's more, it also gets a built-in air purifier and a seven-inch colour MID. Safety kit includes dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, stability program and traction control. That said, it misses out on some features from the GTX+ trim, like six airbags, blind-spot assist, front parking sensors, a 360 degree camera, HUD and rain-sensing wipers.

Kia Seltos

Then there’s UVO Connect. For the uninitiated folks, UVO is a suite of smart-connectivity features that lets you control the various functions of the car with voice commands. You can make a call, change the air-con temperature, set geo-fencing, setup navigation, and much more. Further, there's also a UVO button on the IRVM which, once pressed, lets you talk to a human who can help you with your needs. And if that isn’t enough, there are also one-touch SOS and RSA services to choose from.

Kia Seltos
Performance

Kia Seltos is available with two petrol engines and a diesel motor, and every powertrain is available with a manual or an automatic transmission. We are driving the 1.5-litre CRDi VGT diesel, which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. This BS-VI compliant motor makes 114bhp and 250Nm.

Crank up the engine, and you are greeted to the creamy nature of this motor. There's barely any diesel clatter, and you'll be impressed with its refinement. The engine is quick off-the-line and it has a strong mid-range. And although the torque is available from as low as 1,500rpm, the motor comes into its own, only post 2,000rpm. Start pushing the engine above 2,500-3,000rpm, and it starts getting vocal. That said, it doesn't feel gruff or coarse, at any point.

Kia Seltos

You'll also like the fact that the engine is very tractable in city limits, and the strong midrange means you don't have the need to perform frequent downshifts in heavy traffic. Out on the highway, the strong midrange helps in stretching its legs without feeling out of breath. You just need to tap on the accelerator to make a quick overtake. It gets a gearbox that’s sleek to operate, has well defined gates, and offers short throws. The clutch, although light, has a long travel action. And then, there’s the steering, which is light at city-speeds, but weighs-up decently at highway speeds. However, it isn't very quick and lacks any sort of feedback. It also feels dead off-centre.

Kia Seltos

There's an underlying stiffness to the car, which is actually good. It inspires a lot of confidence while taking corners, and the stiff chassis offers good grip levels too. Ride quality, however, is inconsistent. Now, the low-speed ride is plush, and the suspension makes short work of mildly-broken surfaces and road undulations. In fact, rebound damping of the front shocks is rather well-calibrated. However, over sharp bumps or deep ruts, the Seltos struggles. The suspension sends jolts inside the cabin, and it can especially be felt at the back seat. Add to that, the high speed ride isn't exactly forgiving either.

NVH levels are on par for the course and the cabin is well-insulated. Its only when you are going fast that some amount of wind noise filters into the cabin through the A-pillar.

Kia Seltos
Specifications
Make Hyundai Nissan  
Model Creta Kicks  
Fuel Diesel Diesel  
Variant 1.6-litre MT 1.5-litre MT  
Engine Capacity 1582 1461  
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 126@4000 109@3850  
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 260@1500 240@1750  
Gears  Six Six  
Length mm 4270 4384  
Width mm 1780 1813  
Height mm 1665 1651  
Wheelbase mm 2590 2673  
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 55 50  
Tyre size 215/60 R17 215/60 R17  
Ventilated Seats No
Leather Upholstery Yes
LED Headlamps Yes
Two Airbags, ABS and ESP with Stability Control Yes
Single-zone Automatic Climate Control Yes
10.25-inch Touchscreen Infotainment System & 7-inch Colour MID Yes
Kia Seltos Competitors
Make Hyundai Nissan  
Model Creta Kicks  
Fuel Diesel Diesel  
Variant 1.6-litre MT 1.5-litre MT  
Engine Capacity 1582 1461  
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 126@4000 109@3850  
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 260@1500 240@1750  
Gears  Six Six  
Length mm 4270 4384  
Width mm 1780 1813  
Height mm 1665 1651  
Wheelbase mm 2590 2673  
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 55 50  
Tyre size 215/60 R17 215/60 R17  
Conclusion

The Kia Seltos is a handsomely-designed SUV that offers premium interiors and is loaded with tech. It drives well, gets many first-in-segment features, comes with multiple engine/gearbox combinations, and there's a version for every budget. And if that weren't all, the diesel engine is a performer, and packs-in a lot of punch too.

Pictures by Kapil Angane

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