The refreshed Kia Seltos is here! This is part of a midcycle refresh Kia has done to its existing models to update them and keep them fresh. And why wouldn’t they? The Seltos is the car which gets the majority sales share in Kia’s Lineup and may have single-handedly made the South Korean Outfit beat even its sister Hyundai Creta. With the refresh, Kia India aims for a 10% market share in the passenger vehicle segment. But how good is the refresh? Has it answered the age-old questions of build quality? Are the features useful rather than useless this time? Let’s dive deep into it as by the end of it this vehicle may well be on or not on your shopping list.
Styling is subjective but the new touches aim to add a sporty look to the Seltos. The grille design is tweaked with a new design with a matte black design. The lights are divided into two sections where the upper section is solely the headlight and the lower section is the turn signal. We can only hope that Kia has improved the light throw in comparison to last year. The front lights now extend until the Kia logo which aims at a more luxurious look and at the bottom you will spot the LED Fog Lamp. The front also has Level 2 radar and cameras coming out of the rearview mirror for the purpose which aims to reduce driver exhaustion and increasing safety. The sides are largely unchanged with 18-inch wheels and gloss black accents on the side which add a sporty look and do a lot to increase the aggressive design language. The rear has changed massively with the lightbar and the light itself getting thicker and looks a lot like the internationally-sold Telluride SUV. It is a welcomed change which helps the Seltos differentiate itself from other SUVs.
In terms of practicality, it has the same 433-litre boot space and largely unchanged dimensions because as we said it is a mid-cycle refresh rather than a full redesign. The tailgate is manually closing and there is the sad inclusion of the space-saver 17-inch steel stepney.
The major change is on the inside which now has red stitching on its X Line as opposed to the blue stitching. The seat embroidery pattern also looks a lot more luxurious and it will be offered in three trim levels which are X-Line, GT-Line and Tech-Line. There is also a full panoramic sunroof which extends into the rear seating which is decently comfortable for its size and form factor. The rear seats now have 2 USB-C ports along with a 60-40 split and a manual sunblind with ISOFIX seat anchors. There are also 3 adjustable rear headrests.
But the majority of change is on the front with a dual infotainment system with a fully digital instrument cluster. There is also the Head-Up display. You also now get a different climate control layout as it is a dual zone system as opposed to a single zone system previously. The UI of the infotainment system is unchanged just made a sleeker to move on with the times and it is class-leading. Kia does have the upper hand in designing interiors and that is certainly a big Unique Selling Point of the Seltos which also comes with a flat bottom steering wheel with ADAS controls. This system is a fully automated system which helps the driver not use any brake or accelerator in bumper-to-bumper traffic. A few of the rivals have this feature so it looks good that Kia has introduced it as seen in the Hyundai Verna. All of this is with the characteristic addition of the Air Purifier.
The Kia Seltos is powered by 3 different engines of the same capacity. They are the 1.5-litre Petrol which produce 113 Hp and 144 Nm is available with a Manual as well as CVT transmission, the 1.5-litre Turbo Petrol which produces 158 Hp and 253 Nm of torque is available with iMT which is a manual but without clutch pedal and a 6 speed automatic transmission as well as 1.5 litre Diesel Engine producing 114 Hp and 250 Nm of torque. All of them offer plenty of power for daily tasks and reasonable low-end power for overtaking.
Overall it is a welcomed refresh with more power as well as new features which aren’t useless and will make it a great daily with bookings opening from 14th July. The elephant in the room is build quality and Kia hasn’t communicated about it. the previous gen Seltos scored a 3-star Global NCAP with an unstable shell. All of these features are good but what if you crash? It is not just about safety features such as ABS, Airbags or EBD. In case of a crash, the car should be able to sustain damage and see to it that the occupants aren’t harmed. With all of the pictures of how badly damaged the Seltos get, all we can say is there may be better models if you want a better build quality. It is class-leading in terms of features but the likes of Honda Elevate or Tata Safari may offer better overall quality. With that, we can conclude that Kia Seltos is a Brilliant Daily with a big question mark looming like the fear you have when you are waiting for results after exams.