In the wake of the national economic slowdown, the automotive industry is looking at bleak times ahead. And at the same time, there has been an all-new car that has ruffled quite a few feathers with its record bookings. Kia, the Korean car maker, on its debut has hit a sixer with the Seltos SUV that started as the SP2 concept just over an year ago.The SUV has ticked all the right boxes from the word go beginning from its looks. The signature mustache Kia grille is flanked by all-LED headlamps and long DRLs. The sculpted bumper houses the LED fog lamps and dollops of chrome making it premium.
Moving on to the side, the new alloy design is certainly striking. It also complements the modern lines of the floating roof and the rising hemline. The Seltos’ boot design deserves a shout out for its excellent proportions, sleek cuts and the faux bash plate that peeks underneath the bumper.
Step inside the Seltos and it immediately feels a notch above. The touch and feel is quality starting with the leather wrapped steering wheel. The top-spec GTX gets two large screens – a 10″ one in the centre for the infotainment system and 7″ one in the instrument cluster. It also gets Heads up Display, another first in the segment along with the 10″ screen.
The seating layout is also quite comfortable with the height adjustable driver seat. The automatic climate control touch panel, window switches, infotainment controls et al are intuitively laid out. Even the rear seats are quite comfortable and you have at least 4-fingers of knee room even if there is a six-footer comfortable on the front seat. The rear seats gets its own AC and control with the cabin air cleaner in the middle displaying the air quality index. The large boot will swallow a good amount of luggage.
Now this is the gist – the powertrain. The Seltos comes with 1.5 litre petrol and 1.5 litre BS-VI engines mated to both manual and. automatic gearboxes. Both the engines are sweet and very refined. This is also true of the 6-speed manual transmissions. There is enough torque for the city grunt while out on the highway, things stay decent till cruising speeds. Just for the record, the petrol produces 115PS of power and 144Nm while the diesel makes 115PS and 250Nm. There is also a turbocharged petrol that displaces 1,400cc and produces 140PS/242Nm. Only the latter is available with a 7-speed DCT.
In terms of ride and handling, the Seltos is taut in its demeanor but not stiff enough to be uncomfortable. The suspension soaks in bumps at low speeds and the taut setup means it will handle well at high speeds as well. The steering is direct and the brakes are lively adding to the overall good driving experience.
Overall, with an introductory price tag of just over Rs 12 lakhs ex-showroom, the Seltos has brought the premium quality game at regular price which explains the popularity it has garnered in such short time amongst the people as well as the experts. For that price, it trumps all competition, even the Jeep Compass and the Tata Harrier apart from its newest rival the MG Hector and the trusted old Hyundai Creta. This one is a must buy if you’re in the market for a premium compact SUV.