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Unlike the Hyundai Creta, which has a very radical styling that polarises opinions, the Kia Seltos has conventional looks that have a much wider acceptance. However, akin to its mechanical twin, this C-SUV has a bold stance that helps it with a higher street presence. The highlights of the front end include full-LED headlamps with a LED DRL light bar on each headlight unit that almost extends to the centre of the grille. This gives the Seltos a pretty unique look in the dark, but the lower variants miss out on this arrangement and instead come with projector headlamps with smaller DRLs.
The Kia Seltos looks quite handsome even in the side profile and things like an upward sweeping belt line, dual-tone paint schemes and diamond-cut alloy wheels help the SUV look modern and attractive. The rear-end looks good, too, and rounds off the well-styled exterior appearance. Also, the Seltos is available in Tech Line and GT Line styling trims. The latter brings in a lot of red accents that can be found on the skid plate, side skirts and brake callipers along with a more attractive set of alloy wheels.
The Kia Seltos does not have the very futuristic and unconventional look of the Hyundai Creta but it is surely among the more handsome cars in its price segment. The GT Line and X-Line add a touch of sportiness to the design to help the Seltos stand out in the crowd
Inside, the fuss-free, simple yet elegant design continues, which, together with the high quality of materials, bestows the cabin with a premium ambience. In fact, the cabin of the Kia Seltos feels so well put together that it ends up giving some costlier cars a run for their money. The top-spec trim comes with a full quote of 6 airbags, connected car technology, an electric sunroof, ambient lighting and more. It also offers enough space in both rows while the top-end trims have plenty of equipment on offer.
The highlight of the dashboard is the wide-screen 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment unit nestled around the same gloss black panel that holds the instrument cluster. The arrangement reminds us of some much costlier cars and goes well to further enhance the appeal of the interior. The steering wheel is a flat-bottom unit whose rim feels good to hold, especially with the leather wrap on the higher versions. The Tech Line trims get a dual-tone light cream-dark grey colour theme, with the seats getting white colour upholstery. This further elevates the sense of space but is tough to maintain in the dusty environments of many Indian cities.
On the other hand, the GT Line versions get an all-black colour theme with black leather upholstery for the seats. It also offers aluminium sports pedals to pump up the sportiness quotient. Irrespective of the variant, the seats are well bolstered and sufficiently comfortable. Plus, the armrest is wide enough for both the occupants to comfortably rest their elbows on. The top-spec GT trims even offer an 8-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat that makes it quite easy to find the most convenient driving position.
The occupants in both rows won’t complain of lack of headroom, shoulder room or legroom. In fact, even with three occupants in the rear seat, things never get cramped for anyone. The large greenhouse, together with the wide cabin, prevents things from getting claustrophobic. The Kia Seltos comes with 433-litre of boot space, which is exactly what even the Hyundai Creta offers. Besides, the loading lip isn’t too high and it’s easy to load/unload big pieces of luggage. Moreover, there are plenty of storage spaces strewn across the cabin to help you store the knick-knacks.
The Kia Seltos offers a premium-looking cabin that is brimming with features and has enough space for 5. The 433-liter boot space is one of the bigger ones in the segment which can accommodate a lot of luggage. Driving posture to is very easy to find.
Like the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos is available with three engine options – 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol, 1.5-litre turbodiesel, and 1.4-litre turbo-petrol. All the engine options are available with both manual and automatic transmission options. Of course, our pick of the lot is the 1.4-litre unit that outputs 140 PS and 242 Nm. It comes mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as an option and a 6-speed manual as standard. Meanwhile, the 1.5-litre petrol unit offers 115 PS and 144 Nm, and the oil-burner outputs 115 PS and 250 Nm. While the former can be purchased with a CVT, the latter is available with a 6-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.
The 1.4-litre turbo-petrol mill offers strong performance with minimal turbo-lag. There’s enough grunt on offer even at 1,500 RPM and this helps the Seltos charge forward at a high velocity. The dual-clutch transmission does the job of selecting the right gear for you while the driving modes – Eco, Sports and Normal – let you choose the best settings based on your driving. There are even 3 traction control modes - Snow, Sand and Mud to help you tackle tough road conditions.
Meanwhile, the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol motor isn’t as quick but definitely feels very smooth, especially with the CVT. This is the engine-transmission combination to choose in case your driving is mostly restricted to the urban confines. The CVT offers jerk-free performance in stop-go traffic while the smooth engine offers a relaxing drive experience. Finally, the diesel motor is the one to have if you’re someone who has a monthly running of over 3,000 km. It’s a fairly refined unit that offers a strong performance. In all three variants, the NVH is well-controlled and there’s little that we find against any of these motors.
The wide range of engine and transmission options available on the Kia Seltos help you choose the best possible combination to suit your driving style and conditions. Option of a Diesel AT will appeal to those who intend to a lot of highway cruising.
While the segment-best ride quality has become a trademark of the Hyundai Creta, the Kia Seltos goes on to impress with its sporty dynamics that specially appeal to the driving enthusiast. Unlike the softly-sprung cousin, this C-SUV has a rather stiff suspension setting that goes on to offer plenty of driving pleasure while still keeping the occupants comfortable over broken patches of roads. True, you’ll miss the plushness that the Creta offers but unless you’re travelling on sharp undulations, the passengers won’t complain of discomfort.
Update: for 2022, Kia has tweaked the suspension and the Seltos now offers a more comfortable ride.
True, the ride is definitely towards the stiffer side, things don’t get too uncomfortable unless you drive over really sharp undulations at low speed. Also, the Seltos offers great high-speed stability and the body roll is minimal in spite of the height. The steering is sharp enough and doesn’t have any vagueness towards its dead centre. Moreover, the great high-speed stability and the confident handling work together to further enhance the feeling that you’re driving a car that’s from a segment or two above. The top-end variants get disc brakes on all four wheels, which provide with a very strong braking force.
The Kia Seltos isn't as comfortable as the second-gen Hyundai Creta, but better dynamics make it more fun to drive. The responsive steering along with a strong set of brakes make for a very confidence inspiring driving experience in the Seltos.
The Australian-spec Kia Seltos bagged a full 5-star rating at ANCAP but the Indian version tested by Global NCAP could manage only a 3-star score. A big reason for this disparity is the less usage of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) in the SP2i platform of the local version as compared to the SP2 architecture of the model sold abroad.
Right from the base trim, Seltos gets four airbags, TPMS, front seat-belt warning, ABS with EBD, brake assist, ESP, hill-descent control, child safety lock, speed sensing door lock and more. Meanwhile, the GTX and GTX+ trims come with a 360-degree view camera, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill Hold Assist and more.
The Indian Kia Seltos does not boast a full 5-star safety rating of the version sold abroad but comes with a handful of passive and active safety features at least on the top-end trims. A 3 star GNCAP rating with an unstable bodyshell is a cause for concern though.
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