Kia Seltos: The latest entrant in the Mid-size SUV segment.

Author: Ritin Paul

Enthusiasts would have already got glimpses of the Seltos prototype, what one can now witness is the road ready version of Kia’s Seltos. This marks the debut of Kia, the Korean car manufacturer in the Indian market. It comes at a time when there is a hot battle in the mid-size SUV segment. It will be stacked up against the Creta, Hector, Harrier, and the Jeep Compass.

The Seltos brings in a new gen character with its underpinning and its engine, which adheres to the BS6 norms. For starters, the styling and features heavily go in favor of the Seltos to be a hit amongst Indian customers. There are quite a few duties that the Seltos would be obliged to do, for instance it would be responsible to make a footprint for Kia as a brand to compete in the Indian market space. It also comes at a time when automobile sales have seen a sharp decline. A lot then depends on the Seltos to rake up the required volumes for brand Kia and mark a good impression on the Indian customer. The Seltos will be offered in multiple variants, 16 to be precise.

Exterior: Dimensionally similar to the Creta (a bit bigger), it does have the presence and stance of an SUV. The butch appearance upfront with the Tiger nose grille will certainly be appreciated by Indian customers. That accompanied with detailed headlamps and a stylish bumper makes the fascia of the car very appealing. What is most impressive upfront is the attention to detail, be it the – full LED headlamps, the LED indicators, or the ice cube fog lamps. There is also a sleek LED strip which runs from the headlamp to the snout of the car which highlights the wide persona of the car.

The Seltos GT Line features crystal cut alloy wheels, GT Line badging and red accents on the bumper. The 17 inch wheels go well with the overall proportions of the car. The C pillar and the floating roofline merge well at the rear. The rear is neatly done with a rugged persona, thanks to the scuff plate and a stylish rear bumper. Attention to detail is a priority here and that can be noticed by the intricately detailed rear lights which look very neat and sophisticated adding to the “premiumness” of the Seltos.

Interior: The Seltos is poised at a commanding height making ingress and egress easy. Enter the cabin and you will be welcomed by quality interiors. It is top notch and way above its competition. The interiors certainly feel more up market than the Creta. Everything seems perfect, the seats are comfy and fit and finish of materials is top notch. The GT trim gets an all-black layout, whereas the Techline gets a black and beige layout. The infotainment system is placed high, the base variants get a 8.0 inch infotainment system whereas the higher variants gets a 10.25 inch touch screen.

The touch screen is quick to respond to your finger tips and hosts a bucket load of functions. The back of the car is a good place to be too. Space is adequate allowing for decent headroom and legroom. The rear seat allows for three people to be abreast and it scores high on practicality too. One can find bottle holders, cup holders and a storage bay below the front armrest. The 430 litre boot offers decent luggage space and the 60:40 seats can be tumbled down to create more space.

Features: There are a host of features in the Seltos – an electric sunroof, ventilated front seats, a powered driver’s seat, a 400W Bose sound system, front and rear parking sensors, wireless phone charging and ambient lighting. There is also an air purifier to keep a check on deteriorating air quality. The 10.25 inch infotainment system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Kia’s e-sim based tech calls for a host of additional functions like – live location, geo-fencing, panic notification and remote engine start/stop. The top variant gets – Rain-sensing wipers, head-up display, a 360-degree camera and blind-view monitor.

Drive: It is a driver focused SUV, the engine behaves very well in an urban setup. The Seltos has n offer – two petrol and one diesel engine all of which adhere to the BS6 norms. They come mated to an auto or a manual transmission, depending on the trim you choose. The engines are refined and performance is upbeat. The smooth gearshifts and a well weighted clutch make it easy to drive in start – stop traffic. At low speeds the suspension absorbs bumps well and high speed mannerism is appreciable.

The car comes in 3 driving modes Normal, Eco and Sport mode. Sport mode is the one in which the Seltos loves to be in, it acts as a stiffer and better tuned car. Body roll is noticeable but never will the Seltos allow you to lose confidence in its maneuverability. The Seltos comes in three traction control modes – Mud, Snow and Sand.

Should you have one: Well, if the styling, features and drive does not entice you, the prices surely will. With a starting price of Rs. 9.69 lakh it sits right in the middle of the mid-size SUV segment. Yes Kia is a new marquee in India, after-sales network is unknown but being in the same umbrella brand of Hyundai Motor company and knowing how Hyundai has fared over the years, the Seltos will surely lure in buyers to get an experience of the Badass in Seltos.

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