KIA Seltos: Hyundai Creta in disguise?
Creta with a different design?
About Kia Motors
Founded in 1944, Kia Motors is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles with sales of over 2.8 million vehicles in 2019. It is South Korea's second-largest automobile manufacturer following its parent company Hyundai Motor. The Seltos is the first product of Kia Motor India Kia Motors made a strong foray into India last year with Seltos raking in 6,000 bookings on the very first day of commencement of its booking . On 31 July 2020, Kia Motors crossed 100,000 car sales in India becoming the fastest car manufacturer to do so.
There are three versions of Seltos, one which is the larger car built in South Korea destined for developed markets (SP), and two others are the Indian-made Seltos ( SP2i) and the closely related Chinese version badged as the Kia KX3 ( SP2c). The SP2i and SP2c models are the low-cost versions of seltos based on the second-generation Hyundai Creta platform, hence the title Creta in disguise but is it really just a Creta with a different body .
To find out exactly that I got the chance to drive the Kia seltos for a day
Every car needs an engine or electric motors to power its wheels and eventually move from point A to point B, but don't you worry all the hardcore petrolheads seltos is offered with an internal combustion engine that runs on dinosaur juice, at least for now
Kia offers three engines, two being petrol engines and one diesel engine. The petrol engines are the 1.5-litre naturally aspirated engine that makes 113 hp and 145 mm of torque paired with 6-speed manual transmission or CVT, and a 1.4-litre Kappa turbo engine that produces 138 hp and 245 Nm of torque paired with 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed DCT. The diesel engine is a 1.5-litre U-Line unit that produces 113 hp and 250nm torque paired with 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed torque converter automatic. The Seltos is offered in two sub-models, Tech Line and GT Line. The car in particular that I drove was a Tech Line variant with a 1.5-litre diesel engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission .
1.5 litre CRDI engine
My first impression when the engine came to life was ''oh this is really refined'' arguably the most refined diesel engine under 20,00,000 /- INR but when I got onto the throttle I felt there's a considerable amount of turbo lag before 1500 RPM but past 1500 RPM engine pulls nicely till 5000 RPM redline and that's pretty impressive for a diesel engine . On the highway, the engine was relaxed, responsive, and silent . Maintaining Triple-digit speeds was no big deal even when the car was loaded with passengers typical of diesel engine's low-end torque but still. the engine doesn't start to stress under heavy loads .
Even though it is a slight shame that BS6 norms have killed Hyundai's 1.6 CRDI engine and new 1.5 diesel unit is slightly lower on horsepower but it's just as torquey as the 1.6 unit and in normal driving conditions I didn't felt it needed more power . And with 0-100 times under 12 seconds, not quick but adequate and with impressive fuel mileage of 18 km\L it evens out
There's not much to talk about the engine except that it's a standard Hyundai diesel "torquey, silent, and efficient"
SO HOW IS IT TO DRIVE?
Ride quality is brilliant Kia has struck a brilliant balance between comfort and high-speed stability . The suspension is soft enough to cope with bad Indian roads and stiff enough to keep the car stable at highway speeds, but mind you even though the suspension setup is on the stiffer side it doesn't mean it handles like a sedan there's some amount of body roll especially in slow speeds, and the car has lots of vertical and horizontal movement at the rear while going over a speedbump which is uncomfortable for the occupants but it does get better with an increase in speed but the car still doesn't like hustling into the corners, I found out that at highspeed car gets unsettled easily with quick steering inputs it's a sort of car that appreciates slow and gentle inputs .
But despite some handling flaws, Kia Seltos is one of the best handling Korean SUV and to top it all Kia offers 4 disc brake that works nicely although I would have preferred some feedback from the pedal as it's completely void of feel and feedback
And the majority of Seltos buyers wouldn't care about how the car feels and handles around the corners. So, onto the part that actually matters to most buyers ''The interior ''.
I really don't have much to say about this except that Kia has done an exceptional job with the built quality and I am sure everyone is aware of the impressive brochure Kia has to offer on the seltos.
Design is subjective, I personally like the way seltos looks but being a hardcore petrolhead I feel entitled to hate the design or the whole overgrown hatchback compact SUV thing that everyone seems to like and are ready to shed some heavy bucks to buy one, but as I said before I do like the way seltos looks and is definitely a design that will stand out amongst other hatchbacks.
And the answer to my question "is it just a creta in disguise" well even though they both share the same platform Kia rides and handles completely different and better in many ways compare to creta and the difference between the two cars is not just limited to design but they are completely different in personalities as well that said I have one huge issue with the seltos I felt it's confused on what it actually wants to be or engineers intended it to be it rides like an SUV but can't do any of the SUV stuff, the suspension is set on the stiffer side but it doesn't quite handle like a sedan or a hatchback I guess that is the same case with almost all the crossovers nowadays.
Honestly, I don't think it should bother Kia's targeted buyers and sales numbers show that as well.