Kia Seltos SUV is based on the SP Concept showcased at 2018 Auto Expo and it will be offered in 1.5L petrol, 1.4L turbo petrol and 1.5L diesel engine options
Kia Motors India was teasing the Seltos SUV for several weeks before debuting the premium SUV today. The first product bound for the domestic market later this year has global significance as well and is based on the SP Concept displayed at the 2018 Auto Expo where Kia made a huge impact by showcasing its entire lineup to the Indian public.
The SP Concept evolved into more conventional SP Signature Concept and graced the Seoul Motor Show earlier this year. The Seltos is more closely mated with the Signature Concept in design and is aiming to be different among the current crop of SUVs with packed technologies and connective features.
At the beginning of the year, Kia commenced trial production of what was commonly known as SP2i at its Anantapur facility in Andhra Pradesh, which has 3 lakh installed capacity per annum. Kia has planned to launch one new product every six months until 2022 with an expansive dealership network across the country.
The addition of Anantapur plant meant Kia’s total production rises to 4.1 million units per year as a whole. The road-going Seltos does deliver on its promises with a striking exterior embodying the design language seen on Kia models sold internationally and we think it is uncompromising in a good way.
Kia’s UVO connect, a subscription-based connectivity system with voice command, allows owners to gain access to onboard diagnostics, geo-fencing, vehicle tracking, speed alert, app activated engine start/stop, immobilizing, Vallet Mode restricting access to the infotainment according to owner’s preference, auto collision notification, SOS emergency service, RSA alerts, etc.
To compete against Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier, Jeep Compass and soon-launching MG Hector, the Kia Seltos is loaded with equipment taken from the popular SUVs retailed elsewhere. For instance, the coloured TFT screen positioned in the middle of the instrument cluster, a segment-first eight-inch HUD and a 10-25-inch horizontally oriented touchscreen infotainment system appears to have been derived from the Telluride – the brand’s flagship SUV with the largest footprint ever.
With most of the functionalities centred around the touchscreen, the less use of physical buttons is indeed a welcoming affair and its orientation looks much more fluid and sorted that of MG’s Hector. It will give access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite navigation and double up as a display for Available Surround View Monitor (SVM), which in simple terms a 360-degree camera unit using external cameras.
It will also show information such as that of the driver along with voice memo, radio, automatic climate control, map, phone log, favourites, etc. The EPB (Electronic Parking Brake) traditionally makes driving a lot easier and is accompanied by features such as segment-first wireless charging as well as ventilated front seats and the unique Quiet Mode and Driver Talk Mode.
Quiet Mode uses front row speakers and connects more than one phone over Bluetooth. Music can be played only for front occupants with the touch of a button. Driver Talk Mode amplifies driver’s voice to the rear passengers as the in-car driver talk intercom makes him audible to the rear without shouting around.
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) for enabling traction and braking confidence during drives on elevation, Kia’s Intelligent Stop & Go technology for automatically stopping the engine to improve fuel economy are part of the Seltos’ package. Six airbags, Anti-lock brakes, ESC, VSC, blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors are some of the safety features available.
Other main features include a multi-functional steering wheel, sunroof, eight-speaker Bose audio, Smart Cruise Control, Drive Mode Selector with Normal, Eco, and Sport modes with each tuned for specific environments to get the best out of the SUV as throttle response, transmission shift points, and steering response are adjusted accordingly.
On the outside, the Kia Seltos gets a prominent front fascia dominated by the signature Tiger Nose black grille with chrome surrounds and sharp LED headlights with sequential turn blinkers fitted just below and the long strip of LED Daytime Running Lights catches attention. The fog lamp section has wide central air inlets and vertically positioned LED fog lamps.
The sporty clamshell bonnet structure leads to aggressive lines and sporty creases across the bodily surfaces adding an extra dimension to the mid-size SUV. The raked windshield, blacked out pillars, inclined rear glass area, integrated roof spoiler with high mounted stop lamp, shark fin antenna, rising beltline and turn signals integrated on wing mirrors can also be seen from the side.
The rear boasts stylish LED tail lights and the Kia badge is grafted in the centre of a thick chrome strip. Skid plates at front and rear as well as dual trapezoidal exhaust pipes, 17-inch machined alloy wheels, chrome window lining and black wheel arch cladding are other notable exterior features.
The paddle shifters, to be sold in the 1.5-litre petrol engine, gets activated when in D position or in sports mode and is operated when the vehicle speed is more than 10 kmph. The other engine will be a 1.5-litre diesel unit with manual and automatic choices. A 1.4-litre turbo petrol making 140 horsepower with seven-speed DCT in the GT Line trim will also be offered.
All the engines will be BSVI compliant. The petrol and diesel motors will have the option of a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission (a CVT on petrol and a six-speed torque converter AT on diesel).
The cabin has a layered dashboard with good attention to detail on the materials used and the centre console alongside the horizontal air cons make sure a cohesive appearance. Kia Motors India’s Managing Director & CEO, Kookhyun Shim says the Seltos is crafted for India and it will create a new benchmark in the mid-size segment.
We will reserve the judgment until we get to drive it apparently and we certainly cannot wait. The South Korean company has totally invested 2 million USD in India and created more than 10,000 jobs with its vendor partners.
The Hyundai subsidiary has been confirmed to introduce four new vehicles in the next two years and is focussing on expanding its footprint to 300 touchpoints across India by 2020 and 350 by 2021. It currently has 265 touchpoints in 160 cities today – largest for any new car brand at the debut.
Kia wants to provide the highest residual value to the customers and the Seltos made in India will be exported to the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of Asia. The Gwangju facility in Korea will adhere to more international markets. The five-seater will be sold in eight colour and five dual-tone paint schemes with a range of customisation options.