Like an opening batsman who knocks out a ton and becomes an overnight sensation on his maiden match, the Kia Seltos was met with a rousing response and set the brand on an unprecedented popularity path. Since then, Kia has launched various other models but the Seltos remains the brand staple and the new facelifted version promises more than a refresh. They’re calling it a “reinvention”. Is it though?
Kia Seltos review
The peoples SUV
Well design-wise, the tiger-nose front grille has changed form and now the DRL signature extends into the grille as opposed to residing along the top bar. The LED headlights themselves have a more intricate pattern too and even the ice-cube like fog lights have four elements instead of three. It’s the side profile that looks the most familiar since nothing really has changed there but around the back, you can instantly see where the bulk of the design work has gone. An all-new lightbar, tailgate design along with a sportier apron with integrated dual exhaust tips, which are functional make this is a very attractive derriere for sure!
Peek inside and the BMW-like connected screens instantly give it a more premium look, with two 10.25in screens mounted behind a seamless and single pane of glass. It almost looks like a single piece of screen and is superbly finished and placed at the right height, keeping in mind the steering wheel curvature and line of sight. The digital cluster features different graphics for the main rev counter and speedometer dials, corresponding to the different drive modes.
The biggest headlining feature on the facelifted Seltos is its ADAS level-2 suite of active safety features which include Forward Collision warning and avoidance, lane keep assist and departure warning, rear collision avoidance, blind spot assist and smart cruise control. Collectively, 17 autonomous features help you stay in your lane or aid in avoiding an unforeseen event. One radar up front, two at the back and a dedicated camera for ADAS stitches all this information together in a split second to take corrective action. In addition, the Seltos also gets 360-degree parking cameras to make it easier to live with in crowded cities.
Boasting of a full-sized panoramic sunroof also gets the Seltos the street cred it always deserved but never got. Indians hate the heat but also love a massive light source, go figure! Much of the interiors besides the dual screens remain similar but the centre console does get a more premium looking concealed cupholder slider, electronic parking brake and dual-zone AC controls that work well while on the move. In fact the row of hard keys and a physical volume knob are much appreciated for making quick changes without fidgeting around with your digits.
Convenience features like cooled seats, air purifier, 8-speaker Bose sound system and the Kia Connect app continue to make life easy. A long list of Hinglish commands have been added to the mix, so you can weave in “sunroof kholo” into a casual conversation with your co-passenger! There’s the addition of Alexa home-to-car voice commands too that allow you to monitor key vitals of the car from the comfort of your couch. With all this tech, the lack of wireless phone mirroring is surprising! You do get fast-charging USB-C ports front and back along with wired Apple CarPlay via the USB-A port.
Kia has taken this opportunity to even add some perks like auto windows on all doors, more colours to the ambient lighting, solar glass for the windshield and windows, sage green upholstery on the X-line and more. Not that the Seltos needed more, but the long list of feel-good features can help swing your decision in its favour in the showroom.
As before, three distinct lines will be on offer, comprising of more than 15 different variants overall. The GT Line is the sportiest and the one that we were driving for this drive, featuring the new turbo petrol engine that churns out 160bhp and 253Nm of torque. It’s a capable engine that can reach double the highway speed limits without breaking a sweat, but it’s not the enthusiasts choice. It sounds strained while reaching for the redline and the turbo lag is noticeable. The 215 section tyres, on new 18in wheels generate significant amount of road noise, especially on cemented surfaces, but for relaxed city driving or highway cruising, it’s perfectly fine and well mated to the 7-speed DCT which we were driving. Minor tweaks to the suspension set-up has altered the dynamics of the Seltos and it rides beautifully over bad patches and undulations, even at high speeds. It doesn’t pitch or roll like the earlier generation car and inspires confidence to push even harder. The steering has more weight which is noticeable at lower speeds.
ADAS features like lane-keep assist and blind spot monitoring are invaluable on a daily basis but even smaller assists like safe exit warning will surely come in handy, warning you not to open the door if the Seltos detects a passing car or two-wheeler. Forward collision avoidance is best kept off within city confines, especially if you’re commuting in bumper to bumper traffic.
Stylish, comfortable and brimming with tech, the 2023 Kia Seltos is bound to keep its status as the staple in the Koreans portfolio, although this time around it also has competition from the Germans. At least in terms of performance, where the TSI engine in the Skoda and VW SUVs is miles ahead. But where the Seltos reclaims votes is in the overall package of features, comfort, space and lower cost of maintenance. It’s a car that is easy to live with, will pamper you with features not available in other cars costing twice as much even and feels much more luxurious than its competitors. That’s exactly what the majority of the SUV-buying population wants and the Seltos delivers!
Just the right amount of refresh needed to add a spring in sales, the Seltos is properly kitted out and puts emphasis on comfort.
|4-cyl turbo petrol
|7-speed DCT w/paddle shift