Tech reviews

2023 Kia Seltos First Drive Review

The carmaker is offering the Seltos with 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines, including a new turbo-petrol option. And the transmission options include a six-speed manual and automatic. The diesel counterpart is one of the few refined and quiet oil burners on sale currently. However, here we shall focus on the new 1.5-litre turbo-petrol that fills in the shoes of the 1.4 unit. This one comes with either an iMT or a seven-speed DCT like we sampled.

Left Side View

The ‘Smartstream G1.5 T-GDi’ is rated at 158bhp at 5,500rpm and 253Nm of torque between 1,500-3,500rpm. This mill is silent at idle and doesn’t sound bad even when revved hard. Upon launch, you won’t be pinned back into the seat, but there’s quick progress for a claimed sub-10 second 0-100kmph sprint time. In fact, this combination of a powerful motor and the dual-clutch gearbox has helped it record a faster time of 8.9 seconds as compared to the 1.4’s 9.8 seconds.

Right Front Three Quarter

The drive (Eco, Normal, Sport) and traction modes (Sand, Mud, Snow) have been retained too. And in any mode, it’s quite a tractable engine with good drivability. The initial turbo lag can be felt but the gearbox tries to mask it well. Nevertheless, there’s enough grunt to get going, with the Normal drive mode feeling quite apt for everyday driving. For quicker responses, there’s Sport mode, and one can even use the paddle shifters to gain control, especially when overtaking or making quick sprints amidst traffic.

Right Rear Three Quarter

Plus, the in-gear acceleration is better now, with the claimed roll-on times suggesting 20-50kmph of 2.1 seconds as against the 1.4’s 2.5 seconds. Then, the 60-100kmph takes 4.8 seconds, which is relatively faster than the 1.4’s 5.7 seconds. It indeed is a good highway runner and can provide relaxed cruising, thanks to the ample torque. It does 80kmph around 1,500rpm and 100kmph at 2,000rpm while keeping the load on the engine minimal. Besides, this E20-compatible powerplant is not only high in performance but mileage too. Lest we forget, idle start-stop has been added as well to improve fuel efficiency (ARAI-claimed 17.9kmpl).

Left Front Three Quarter

The steering is light with three turns lock-to-lock but requires a good amount of effort, especially while parking. That said, it feels nice on the move with a well-weighted feel that has been optimised along with the suspension. Despite the firm ride, body roll is still evident. However, this Seltos comes with increased front dampening and reduced rear dampening forces which have improved comfort on rough roads with lesser thuds heard inside. The shock absorption feels much better as well.

Left Rear Three Quarter


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