Kia mulling a Maruti Suzuki Ertiga rival
Kia Seltos India launch in end-August
When it made its public debut at the Auto Expo on February 7, 2018, the Kia SP2i Concept quickly became one of the most eagerly anticipated new models to emerge from the expo. Today, nearly 500 days later, the production-spec Kia Seltos' global debut has taken place in New Delhi, putting an end to the wait for Kia's first offering for India.
For those of you who have been following developments keenly, there are no real surprises on the styling front. As first revealed by the spy pictures a few weeks ago, the Kia Seltos is one handsome-looking midsize SUV. Giving it immense presence is the Tiger Nose grille, while the sharp-looking LED projector headlights (linked by a slender LED light band) and DRLs add to the look. Among other cool touches are the 3D-effect multi-layer turn indicators, ‘Ice Cube' fog lamps and a knurled finish for the silver grille surrounds.
To go with the beefy front end, the Kia Seltos gets squared-off wheel arches and a strong shoulder line. The window line rises sharply towards the rear while the roofline drops, which makes for an interesting contrast. At the back, you get ‘heartbeat-effect’ LED tail-lights connected by a thick bar of chrome and a faux twin exhaust garnish on the bumper. A total of eight colour options will be on offer, along with five dual-tone paint schemes. All in all, the Seltos is a truly good-looking SUV – one that’s certain to make heads turn.
Size-wise, the Kia Seltos sits in a sweet spot. It’s neither too big nor too small. While Kia has withheld technical specifications, the Seltos appears bigger than the current-gen Creta. What is confirmed is that the SUV will get BS6-compliant petrol and diesel engines at launch, including a 1.4-litre, T-GDI turbo-petrol engine. The 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines – branded ‘Smartstream’ – will get a 6-speed manual as standard, and automatic options will include a CVT for the petrol, a 6-speed torque converter for the diesel and a 7-speed DCT for the 1.4 turbo-petrol. The Kia Seltos gets three drive modes (Normal, Eco and Sport) and even terrain modes (Wet, Mud and Sand), which one can choose from using a rotary knob positioned on the centre console.
There aren’t many details about the interior, but a peek through the windows revealed plenty. Perceived quality in the Seltos' cabin appears to be top-class, the dash is dominated by a 10.25-inch screen, and the binnacle it's housed in extends all the way to the instrument cluster. Switches on the centre console reveal the presence of ventilated front seats, a 360-degree surround view camera and also clearly visible is a head-up display. One of the models on display had a smaller infotainment screen with buttons on each side and drum brakes at the rear (as opposed to disc brakes for all four wheels on the other versions) – a setup that could be offered on the lower-spec models. That said, all versions on display had leather seats, a sunroof and it’s amply clear that there’s a decent amount of space inside the Kia Seltos. In addition, Kia has confirmed the Seltos will come with rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights, an 8-speaker Bose sound system, ventilated front seats, and there will be at least two interior colour schemes on offer – all-black and beige-and-black.
An interesting thing to note is the presence of ‘GT Line' badging on the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol version of the Seltos. Being the sportiest of the lot, the Kia Seltos GT Line features red accents on the wheels, and contrast red stitching for an all-black interior. A flat-bottom steering wheel adds to its sporty nature, as do the gloss red inserts for the front and rear bumper.
What we do have more details on is the connected car tech in the Seltos. Kia's UVO Connect connectivity suite is available in international markets, and is similar to the Hyundai Venue's BlueLink system in what it has to offer. Packing 37 features under five categories (Navigation, Safety and Security, Vehicle Management, Remote Control and Convenience), the UVO Connect system will offer AI-based voice command, stolen vehicle tracking and immobilisation, safety alerts, remote engine start and stop, auto collision notification and remote control of the air purifier, among other things.
Part of the Kia Seltos' safety equipment list are six airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, hill start assist, front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot view monitor. Just like on the Venue compact SUV, the Seltos' rear-view mirror sports three buttons, which can be used to summon roadside assistance or send out an SOS message to a dedicated call centre in case of an emergency.
When Kia does commence sales of the Seltos later this year, it will do so via 265 touchpoints across 160 cities in India. The company has stated its intention to cover every part of the country and has also promised to expand to Tier-IV markets.
As it stands, there’s still some time to go for the Seltos' market launch in end-August. But when it does go on sale, expect the Kia Seltos' price to range between Rs 11-17 lakh (ex-showroom). All said and done, one thing is for sure – all midsize SUVs in India (including the ones that are yet to go on sale) have been put on notice by the Kia Seltos' imminent arrival.
What do you think of the Kia Seltos? Let us know in the comments.
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