The Kia Seltos has been unveiled, we've driven the prototypes and now we finally get to drive the production version of Kia's first Indian entrant, the Seltos. Read below to learn more about what is it like?
India is a very important market when it comes to design and Kia has studied that well. We’ve already seen the car before and we think its one good looker. It’s the front that garners most attention thanks to the width. Then there’s the tiger nose grille as Kia calls it which gives it a very aggressive look. But the real party piece are the two layer crown jewel headlamps and the very interesting DRL’s.
On the sides it’s the 17-inch alloys that stand out, especially the crystal cut alloys with the red calipers on the GT line variant. The rear follows the sporty theme with the heartbeat LED tail lamps and nicely designed twin faux exhaust outlets. Overall, the Seltos looks fantastic and Kia have got it spot on with the sporty theme.
As for the interior, Kia wanted to concentrate on high tech features and superior quality and i believe they have pretty much got it spot on. The all-black or white theme with silver inserts look great with the 10.25-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system being the silver lining. Let me just add while we are on the topic of the infotainment system that it looks and works great with crisp colours and being very responsive at the same time. Depending on the variant you get either an Arkamys sound system or the brilliant Bose unit. You also get mood lighting which works in conjunction with the music system.
The chunky steering gets a flat bottom to add to the sporty nature and looks and feels great. What is also a first in India is the 8-inch heads-up display which pops up in a very cool manner. The Seltos also gets a world’s first Smart pure air purifier located ahead of the centre armrest.
Getting on to the back bench, there’s more than enough legroom and seating three people should be comfortable thanks to its wide girth. Even the boot space at 433-litres is the best in the segment. Overall, the cabin looks and feel great for a car in this segment and just like the exteriors, Kia have hit bulls-eye when it comes to the interiors.
To offer a wide range of options to its customers, Kia offers as many as three engine options to choose from and you get a manual and an automatic gearbox to choose for every engine. This one is a 1.4 turbo petrol with a 6-speed manual transmission. It revs freely towards it’s redline and there’s a real kick once the rev counter goes past 3000 rpm. The fantastic engine aside, the Seltos could do with better clutch feel and a slicker shifting gearbox considering the engine just begs to be flogged, but we think the 7-speed DCT variant should be a more able match for this engine.
As for the ride and handling package, the Seltos is aimed to offer a sporty drive and it shows. The steering feel is a little vague but the Seltos changes directions quickly and surprise you with the agility on offer. We must add that the steering feel on the diesel variant was a tad better and weightier too.
We drove the Seltos on potholed city roads and the smooth highways and it dealt with most conditions quite well. The petrol variants are set up slightly on the stiffer side and we think that’s more to do with the Seltos’ more sporty intent. In comparison the diesel, with a heavier engine and possibly revised spring rates boasts better damping and rides better than the petrol.
Kia has done its homework well and with the Seltos is aiming to cement its place in India not only as a manufacturer of good quality products but also as an aspirational brand. Now it only needs to add a value for money tag by pricing the Seltos competitively and if it does...we think the competition will have a lot to worry about!
Photo Credits - Kapil Angane