Analysis: Has the Creta finally met its match in the Kia Seltos?

26th Jun 2019 2:36 pm

The Kia Seltos seems quite promising at first glance. But how does it stack up against the venerable Hyundai Creta? We find out.

The Hyundai Creta has been a runaway hit since its launch in 2015. In fact, such has been the appeal of the Creta over the years that there hasn't been a dip in sales despite several price increments. It has long been the mid-sized SUV to beat and the arrival of new rivals hasn’t managed to dent the Creta’s popularity either.

But if there’s one SUV that could challenge the Hyundai Creta’s dominance, it’s the soon-to-be-launched Kia Seltos. As you may know, Kia and Hyundai are sister brands under the Hyundai Motor Company but operate as independent entities and are, in fact, fierce rivals in the markets they operate in.

On first look, Kia seems to have cleverly modelled its SUV on the Creta. The Seltos sticks to script but has the crucial advantage of being the newer SUV. The Seltos is built on a new platform (that will underpin the second-gen Creta that comes in 2020) and also comes powered by new-gen engines that, again, will only come on the next-gen Creta. Add in some class-first features and the Seltos suddenly seems like the challenger we’ve been waiting for all these years. Let’s get deeper into how the two SUVs compare.  

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Dimensions

The Seltos has a larger footprint than the Creta. At 4,315mm in length, 1,800mm in width and 1,620mm in height, it is 45mm longer, 20mm wider, but 45mm shorter than the Hyundai. The Seltos’ 2,610mm wheelbase is a good 20mm longer than the Creta’s too. The larger dimensions should translate into better cabin space, as reflected by the boot capacity which, at 433 litres, eclipses the Creta’s figure of 405 litres. The 190mm ground clearance and tyre size of 215/60 R17 on the top-spec variants of the two SUVs remain identical though.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Dimensions
SeltosCreta
Length4315mm4270mm
Width1800mm1780mm
Height1620mm1665mm
Wheelbase2610mm2590mm
Ground clearance190mm190mm
Boot capacity433 litres 405 litres
Wheels215/60 R17215/60 R17

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Engine-gearbox

Kia has announced that its entire powertrain family will be BS6-compliant right from launch. Interestingly, while the Seltos gets the choice of two petrols and one diesel engine, the current Creta’s line-up includes a single petrol and two diesels.  

Kia’s petrol range starts with a 1.5-litre engine which puts out 115hp/144Nm. On paper, it seems a bit down on grunt compared to the 123hp/151Nm, 1.6-litre motor of the Creta. However, the Seltos' real trump card is its powerful 140hp/242Nm, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine that carries the ‘GT Line’ badging, highlighting its sporty intentions. Though both the SUVs get a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard, the petrol versions adopt very different approaches towards the automatic solutions. Where the Creta gets a ubiquitous 6-speed torque converter unit, the Seltos offers a CVT on the standard 1.5 petrol and a sporty 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with the 1.4 turbo-petrol engine.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Petrol engine
SeltosCreta
Displacement1.5-litre / 1.4-litre1.6-litre
Engine type 4 cyls, naturally aspirated / 4 cyls, turbocharged 4 cyls, naturally aspirated
Power115hp / 140hp123hp
Torque144Nm / 242Nm 151Nm
Emission standardBS6BS4
Manual transmission6-speed MT6-speed MT
Automatic transmissionCVT / 7-speed DCT6-speed torque converter

Shifting focus to the diesels, the Kia gets a new-gen 115hp/250Nm, 1.5-litre diesel engine. In displacement, power and torque outputs, the 1.5 diesel sits between the Creta’s 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre units, making 90hp/220Nm and 128hp/260Nm, respectively. While a 6-speed manual transmission is standard fit on both SUVs, the Seltos and 1.6 diesel Creta also get the option of 6-speed torque converter automatic transmissions.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Diesel engine
SeltosCreta
Displacement1.5-litre1.4-litre / 1.6-litre
Engine type 4 cyls, turbocharged 4 cyls, turbocharged
Power115hp90hp / 128hp
Torque250Nm 220Nm / 260Nm
Emission standardBS6BS4
Manual transmission6-speed MT6-speed MT
Automatic transmission 6-speed torque converter 6-speed torque converter

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Features

Hyundai is known to be generous with features and equipment on its cars, and the Creta too has had some firsts to its name, such as a powered driver’s seat and wireless charging. However, Kia seems set to dial things up to 11 when talking equipment. Both SUVs come packed with the staple kit including LED DRLs, fog lamps, sunroof, infotainment system with smartphone compatibility, wireless charger, automatic air conditioner, keyless entry/go, cruise control, faux leather upholstery and front seat ventilation. The Seltos goes one up on the Creta with equipment like LED headlamps, a massive 10.25-inch touchscreen (compared to the Creta's 7.0-inch unit), ambient lighting, head-up display, drive modes and manually reclinable rear seats. Additionally, audiophiles will be glad to hear about the 8-speaker Bose system in the Seltos. The upcoming SUV even gets Kia’s UVO smart connectivity features. This allows functionalities such as remote engine start/stop, remote climate control operation, stolen vehicle tracking and a lot more. Though Hyundai’s Blue Link system is a lot similar, it is yet to make its way to the Creta.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Comfort and convenience features
SeltosCreta
Headlights LEDProjector halogen
Daytime running lightsLEDLED
Fog lampsLEDYes
Tail lampsLEDLED
SunroofYesYes
Infotainment display10.25-inch touchscreen7-inch touchscreen
Android Auto/Apple CarPlayYesYes
Smart connectivity Yes (UVO Connect) No
Sound system8 speakers, Bose4 speakers, 2 tweeters, Arkamys
Wireless chargerYesYes
Ambient lightingYesNo
Head-up displayYesNo
Automatic climate controlYesYes
Keyless entry YesYes
Push button startYesYes
Cruise controlYesYes
Drive modesYes (Normal, Eco, Sport) No
Terrain modesYes (Wet, Mud, Sand)No
Leatherette seatsYesYes
Front ventilated seatsYesYes
Rear seats with backrest reclineYesNo

On the safety front, the top-spec versions of the Creta cover the basics well with six airbags, ABS, ESC, hill start assist and rear parking sensors and camera. But then again, Kia manages to forge a lead by offering a lot more, including traction control, auto headlamps and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, 360-degree camera, blind spot assist and a tyre pressure monitor.   

Fact is, the Creta is almost four years old in its current avatar, and that's starting to show now.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Safety features
SeltosCreta
Airbags66
ABS with EBDYesYes
Brake AssistYesNo
Traction Control YesNo
ESC YesYes
Hill start assistYesYes
Automatic headlamps YesNo
Rain sensing wipersYesNo
Parking sensorsFront and rearRear
Parking camera 360-degreeRear
Blind spot monitorYesNo
Tyre pressure monitoring system YesNo

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Price 

Having successfully created a buzz around its entry in our market, Kia is expected to launch the Seltos in August 2019 at a sticker price of around Rs 11-17 lakh (ex-showroom). At this price point, it will command a slight premium over the Creta, which itself is among the pricier mid-sized SUVs.

Kia Seltos vs Hyundai Creta: Price
SeltosCreta
Price range (ex-showroom, Delhi)Rs 11-17 lakh (estimated)Rs 10-15.65 lakh

Kia hasn’t revealed warranty info for India as yet but going by its track record abroad, expect it to be a close match, if not better than Hyundai’s 3 year/unlimited km warranty. An area where Hyundai’s two-decade head start in India is sure to play out is sales and service availability. Hyundai has 494 dealer and 1319 service points across India. Kia is on an aggressive drive to widen its footprint in India and has revealed plans to have 265 touch points by the Seltos launch, and will ramp up the network to 350 touch points by 2021. Kia’s performance in aftersales satisfaction does remain a question mark for now.

Seltos vs Creta: The big fight

Only a drive in the Seltos will reveal the full story, and if, indeed, it is the alternative to the Creta we expect it to be. On the face of things, though, the Seltos comes across as an SUV that’s built to spec to offer everything Indian buyers like. A traditional SUV stance, city-friendly dimensions, lengthy features set and reasonable power are what made the Creta the default choice among mid-sized SUV buyers, and these are the very ingredients you’ll find on the Seltos too.

How Indian buyers take to the Seltos, and to Kia, is something that remains to be seen. But if the feel on the ground and social media chatter is anything to go by, the Seltos has the makings of a hit. At the same time, however, we wouldn’t bet against Hyundai and the Creta. Current Creta sales are unlikely to fall off a cliff. And remember the new-gen Creta comes in 2020.

Also see:

Click here for Kia Seltos estimated price, images, videos, details and more

Kia Seltos bookings open in select cities

Kia Seltos SUV unveiled

Kia mulling an Ertiga rival based on Seltos platform

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