By : RACHNA TYAGI
Kia India recently celebrated its 1 millionth ‘Make in India’ production units by rolling out its New Seltos. The Seltos has contributed over 50% to the production milestone with over 5.3 Lakh units. No mean feat that! That’s not all, the fact that so many Indians were eagerly waiting to book their new Kia Seltos and with the carmaker recording the segment’s highest first day bookings with 13,424 pre-orders of the New Seltos of which 1,973 were done via K-Code, a brand-new industry-first program, sure says a lot about how desirable this product is. So, is the New Kia Seltos better? We drove the SUV from Nagpur to the Pench Tiger Reserve, in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, and back, and here’s what we think of the new and youthful Seltos…
Kia knows that design is a big draw for most SUV buyers and in that department, they’ve really nailed it using their ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy, adding some exquisite elements that makes you go ga ga over its “Badass” design, yet not resorting to something that is so radical that might just make people reject it outright, and that has really worked for Kia India. So, what do the exteriors of the New Seltos look like?
The SUV definitely has road presence and its characteristic tiger nose grille looks bolder and consequently, the new Seltos, looks even more commanding and while we’re not fans of the gnurled finish, there’s no escaping the fact that this SUV does draw a fair bit of attention on our roads, largely due to its unique appearance. We like the way the DRLs adorn the front fascia, merging right into the large mesh radiator grille, which gives the SUV a very distinct and futuristic look. Also, those sequential turn indicators look stunning! The vertical fog lamps which Kia calls Jewel LED, in the body-coloured casing as well as the skid plate, add to the New Seltos’ appeal when viewed from the front. The R17s with crystal cut alloys also add to the new Seltos’ appeal. The rear of the new Seltos looks wide and sports an athletic design. The distinct taillamps, the faux skid plate in a matte silver finish, the dual sport exhausts, as well as the cuts and the creases give the new Seltos a definitive appearance.
Boot space is also not compromised on the new Seltos, and it offers an impressive 433 litres of it, ensuring ample room for your groceries or luggage. So, whether it's a quick dash to the local grocery store or a weekend getaway, the new Seltos, sure is versatile enough for most modern lifestyles.
The dual-pane panoramic sunroof adds a beautiful touch of luxury to the new Seltos. It truly enhanced our driving experience as the rain came down heavily and we drove on without a worry, enjoying the rains as best as we could. Later, when it had stopped raining, the dual-pane panoramic sunroof created a free, open and airy ambience with the light streaming in bringing with it fresh breeze, thereby further heightening our enjoyment of the drive.
Inside, the new Seltos, is sophisticated, and comes with advanced tech. Both black and white as well as the cognac-coloured leatherette ventilated seats with 8-way power (driver’s seat) further elevate the experience of the SUV’s cabin. But what really steals the show is the large dual-screen HD display (10.25-inches each) which adds to the digital-cockpit-like experience which has now been slightly lowered than on the outgoing model, to offer better visibility. While there are lots of physical buttons, the touchscreen experience is also an intuitive one and all info such as entertainment and vehicle settings, amongst others is easily available to the driver. Plus, with the 8-inch Head-Up display, more info, (including ADAS info…. more on that below), is just a glance away, further enriching the driving experience. We were thrilled that we didn’t really have to hunt for USB Type-C charging ports and that way, all our devices were fully charged by the time we arrived at the Pench Tiger Reserve. The SUV’s Bose Premium Sound System with eight strategically placed speakers within the cabin also offered excellent all-immersive sound, thereby making our journey in the SUV even more fun.
There’s also semi-autonomous drive capabilities thanks to ADAS Level 2 technology with 17 remarkable features, and that only goes on to make the competition stiffer vis-à-vis its rivals. The inclusion of radars, both at the front and at the rear, ensures that obstacles and potential hazards are accurately detected so that collision risk is hugely reduced. From forward collision warning and avoidance assist systems, to Lane discipline features, where a small amount of counter steering force is applied to bring the vehicle back on track to leading vehicle departure alert to remind you to stay alert when the vehicle ahead of you starts moving, safety on the new Seltos has been further enhanced via timely alerts and new technology, and all of this plays a big role in preventing potential collisions, offering the driver better control of the SUV. Besides, ADAS, the next-gen in-car features list continues, and other features such as Smart cruise control with ‘Stop and Go’ functionality can also make daily commutes less tiring.
And lest we forget, ‘Kia Connect,’ with its 67 Connected Car Features, provides you with a seamless connected experience that most are desirous of. From remote starting your vehicle to using remote door locking feature to monitoring its status to relying on it for emergency assistance ‘Kia Connect’ ensures that you’re always connected with your vehicle. And with voice commands in Hinglish, interacting with your vehicle has now become an even more personalized experience.
We drove the Smartstream G1.5 T-GDi (Petrol) GTX+ 7-Speed DCT to the Pench Tiger Reserve which was a hugely entertaining SUV to drive. The gearshifts were brisk and smooth, the power felt adequate, even on our highways, and needless to say, the DCT ticked all the boxes. While returning, we drove the 1.5-Litre CRDi VGT (Diesel) GTX+ AT, and even this one offered a fabulous drive with its 6-Speed AT. The drive was extremely refined and the engine pulled beautifully. The ride quality is slightly on the firmer side but thanks to the suspensions, you don’t really feel it much, albeit it does give the SUV a slightly sporty edge. The braking power thanks to disc brakes, at the front, as well as at the rear, ensured that we weren’t on the edge in this Korean SUV.
One thing that we really liked was that this mid-sized SUV was a breeze to maneuver, even in narrow lanes. The new Seltos was nimble and both its engines (petrol and diesel) were really silent and driving both the SUVs back and forth was a fatigue-free experience. Overall, the new Seltos makes a very strong case for itself and we enjoyed driving both the petrol and the diesel SUVs tremendously and they, in turn, offered a very sturdy and comfortable drive.
The new Seltos SUV is a bold and futuristic SUV that stands out not merely because of its design, ride, handling or numerous (18) variants that are on offer, but also because behind a strong product such as the Seltos, lies Kia India’s commitment to India and Indians in terms of not just providing them with an excellent product but also great after sales service. This new Seltos, a powerhouse of advanced technology, and next-generation in-car features, definitely is something that you should check out if you’re looking for something in the mid-sized SUV segment that is not just big on tech but is in fact a great overall package.
The new Seltos can be booked for INR 25,000 and while prices for the new Seltos start at INR 10,89,000 and go up to INR 19,99,900, potential buyers are definitely going to be spoilt rotten when it comes to choosing a variant, considering there are so many. Oh, and while there, don’t forget to check out their new ‘India-Exclusive’ Pewter Olive colour that it now comes in, which definitely gets our vote.