Kia Seltos First Look Review:
The Kia Seltos has done a fantastic job to keep the production car’s design so similar to the prototype that was unveiled at the Auto Expo. 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 pieces is 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 callipers 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 to spot on with the sporty theme.
How is it on the inside?
The theme follows on the inside as well. Kia wanted to follow three important parameters for the interiors namely, elegant, premium and hi-tech. And they have pretty much got it to spot on. The all-black theme with silver inserts looks great with the 10.25-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system being the silver lining. It looks and works great with crisp colours and is very responsive at the same time. Depending on the variant you get either an Arkamy’s sound system or the brilliant Bose unit.
The Seltos also get Kia’s UVO to connect which is a Bluetooth based remote control mobile app to control the AVNT system. This helps with car tacking, car location sharing, remote start-stop, remote aircon control, tyre pressure monitoring and then some.
Even the climate control layout with its wide display looks fantastic. The chunky steering gets a flat bottom to add to the sporty nature and looks and feels great. The Seltos also gets a world’s first Smart pure air purifier located ahead of the centre armrest.
Getting in the driver’s seat feels great thanks to the ell contoured seats. They will provide adequate support for long drives and keep you in place when you decide to get a little enthusiastic. Overall, even though the interiors have a familiar ‘Korean’ feel to it, they look and feel for a car in this segment and just like the exteriors, Kia has hit bulls-eye when it comes to the interiors.
How does it drive?
The Seltos gets a multitude of engine options to choose from. First up you get a 1.5-litre petrol engine that belts out a 115 bhp and 144Nm of torque. This engine gets the choice of a 6-speed manual gearbox or an IVT (CVT in Kia Speak) transmission. Considering the restricted nature of the track, we could not exploit any of the engines fully but got an idea about what they are going to be like.
Then it was the GT line’s turn with the very promising 1.4 T-GDi engine. With 140bhp on tap and 242 Nm of torque coupled a twin-clutch 7-speed DCT gearbox, you also get driving models to choose from along with three traction modes. Driving the car, the difference in performance is immediately noticeable compared to the 1.5.
How does it perform?
Acceleration is crisp and the engine is also very free-revving. The twin-clutch gearbox isn’t as responsive as a VW DSG gearbox but still better than all other automatic options available. The difference in driving modes is also apparent with sport mode increasing the urgency. The few corners in the track, the Seltos handled well with controlled body-roll and more than decent flickability. The steering doesn’t have too much to offer in terms of feel but weighs up well once you activate sport mode. Acceleration feels even more energetic and with the positive shifts, one can really exploit the engine and have a ball while at it. It’s a pity that the manual version does not get the driving modes and as a result, the steering feels a little too disconnected for a car boasting this level of performance.
The diesel engine is very refined too and with torque available from low rpm’s, performance is more than adequate. Even in the fifth gear, the Seltos diesel pulled cleanly from as low as 50 mph which speaks volumes about its drivability.
Kia’s Future Plans:
As compared to Creta, the Seltos is more sporty intent. In comparison, the diesel, with a heavier engine boasts better damping and rides better than petrol.
As mentioned above, the intent of the drive was to give an idea of what’s in the store. Kia has an extremely strong plan and they are making it sure their plans are executed with the right products. With smashing looks, premium interiors, a bucket load of features and excellent powertrain options to choose from, the Seltos feels like the ideal product for Kia to kickstart its innings. And with prices expected to be between Rs. 11-17 lakh, the competition better be worried.
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