Korean giant Kia Motors ranks amongst the ten biggest automakers in the world. They have a huge portfolio of cars ranging across almost all segments but when it came to their first car for India they decided it’ll be something the world hasn’t seen before. And so the SP2 concept came into existence. We first saw the car at the Delhi Auto Expo in 2018 and a few weeks back the company revealed the production version to the world and called it the Seltos. And this week finally we could get behind the wheels of the much awaited car in a very windy, wet and beautiful Goa.
The Seltos is based on the Hyundai Creta (Kia is a part of Hyundai group globally) but one look at it and you realise it just looks so different. There is extensive use of LEDs on the front that includes the crown jewel headlamps, the heartbeat DRLs and the ice cube shaped fog lamps. The signature tiger nose grille is there with a lot of chrome and likeable patterns. SUV traits like roof rails, sunroof, cladding and square wheel arches are all there. On the rear a chrome bar is integrated very well into the large tail lamps which are split in nature. In addition to this a spoiler and faux dual exhausts make the rear look more premium. Every variant of the Seltos will come in two trims—tech line and GT line with the latter getting red accents at many places on the outside amongst other things.
If there’s a single biggest thing Kia can take pride in when it comes to the Seltos it is the cabin of the car. Everything is big here be it the seats, the infotainment screen, the instrument cluster or the steering wheel. Seats come with black or beige options and you can choose patterns based on the trim you decide to buy. The 10.2-inch touch screen is high on quality and provides a lot of information including a 360 degree parking camera. The instrument cluster too gives useful data and has an integrated screen that has a blind view monitor which is a very practical indeed. In addition, the Seltos also gets a wireless charger, 400 watt Bose surround sound system, climate control and ventilated seats. The UVO connectivity system gets 37 smart features under five distinct categories i.e. navigation, safety and security, vehicle management, remote control and convenience. Some of the highlights here are stolen vehicle tracking, remote engine start & stop and geo fencing. You can also connect to the system using your smartphone or also use it through Kia concierge services. Kia also claims have made a world first smart pure air system that keeps the cabin AQI low along with providing some nice fragrances. The second row is more than decent on space and boot at 433 litres also isn’t too bad.
The big news is that all the engines the Seltos comes with are BS-VI compliance much before the regulations come into place in 2020. Equipped with Smartstream the newly developed third generation engine ensures high efficiency and powerful performance. There are 2 petrol engines, the 1.4 litre mill being the most powerful of the lot churning out 140 PS and 242 Nm. It comes with 7-speed DCT and manual options and the former is able to give great driving pleasure. The 1.5 litre petrol isn’t as spirited and is more suited to city conditions. Both these engines give a mileage of around 16 kmpl according to Kia. The most economical and torquey of the lot though is the Diesel engine that churns out 115 PS, 250 Nm and its fuel efficiency crosses 20 kmpl. The biggest highlight of this diesel engine is its quietness as it feels very refined and hardly any noise gets into the cabin.
Ride & Handling
The suspension is tuned very well on the Kia Seltos. It is neither too soft not too stiff and provides the right balance to take on the challenges thrown at it by the Indian road conditions. The dimensions too do not come in the way of a stable drive and the Seltos is able to provide good handling. You can also choose between “Normal”, “Eco” and “Sport” modes depending on how spirited or economical you want your drive to be. There are multiple grip controls too where drivers can choose from mud, wet and sand modes based on surface. Prominent safety features on the SUV include 6 airbags, vehicle stability management and hill-start assist.
The Seltos is a great first car for Kia in India where almost every attribute works so well for it. It score high on design and features and just gives the driver every single engine and gearbox option possible. The company is also starting with 265 touch points across 160 cities the most by any auto brand making debut in India and that is important for buyer confidence. We will get to know the prices in the next couple of weeks but one thing is certain; looking at the Seltos Kia’s second car for India will have a tough act to follow.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars