Kia’s compact SUV, Seltos, debuts next week and it sure looks like Kia Motors is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to testing its vehicle across the length and breadth of the country. Last evening, we spotted the Kia Seltos, with Andhra Pradesh-registered number plates, being tested on the rain-washed roads of Mumbai, completely camouflaged, and hooked up with testing gear, cameras, et al. This particular compact SUV, Kia Motors’s test car No. 3, had already clocked 15,466 kms.
Despite the heavy-duty camouflage, it is easy to tell that the Kia Seltos is a strikingly handsome SUV with not just great proportions, but also with aggressive styling. The design looks fresh and it is evident that the Kia Seltos has a robust build quality, unlike its sister company, Hyundai’s offerings.
The first thing that strikes you when you see the Kia Seltos from the front is its signature Tiger nose grille, which sits right below its bonnet, sporting a muscular design. The front fascia looks appealing and with the positioning of its stylish DRLs and headlamps, it should definitely make for a rather attractive frontal design. There seems to be an adequate amount of glass area for a compact SUVs size and the windows are definitely not too small, which otherwise tends to make the driver and passengers feel belted in and claustrophobic. The doors are well-sized and the tyres come with diamond-cut alloys in a striking design, albeit with a dull finish.
Inside, the interiors of the car being tested, were all-black, but despite that they seemed spacious enough. The dashboard had an infotainment screen that seemed like it was 10+ inches and wasn’t a glossy one. It came with a matte finish instead, similar to the one that comes in the Tata Nexon and had orangish-red-coloured backlit buttons. The buttons and knobs seemed well-sized and large enough for big hands—always very comforting, lest you end up pressing the wrong buttons while driving. The air-con vents in the Kia Seltos sit below the infotainment system, like they do in the Ford Ecosport. However, that should hardly be a problem because the cabins of compact SUVs are not big and the air-cons usually cool the cabin in no time.
The Kia Seltos (petrol) sports an automatic transmission and comes with a button for changing settings to enable driving on different kinds of terrains, similar to what the Tata Nexon offers. The steering is leather-wrapped, finished with black stitching, and looks quite meaty with good grip support so that you are not tired when driving for extended duration. The steering, which definitely offers the tilt feature, feels a little too cluttered for our taste. But it has cruise-control, phone settings as well as volume and mode buttons on it, so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road, while driving to perform any of those tasks. Unlike most carmakers who offer these buttons in black, Kia is offering them in a chrome-coloured finish.
The dials, however, look pretty ordinary and the display, like Hyundai vehicles are in a plain white. The speedo has a max speed of 240 kmph and the tacho is red-lined at 6,500 rpm. The instrument cluster on the Seltos we spotted was in Korean but it was easy to tell that the compact SUV had until then delivered an average of 12.0 kmpl, which isn’t so bad for a petrol automatic. The instrument cluster also displays the outside temperature, next to the tacho, on the left side. The right side, next to the speedo, is reserved for the total no of kms clocked.
The rear sports a well-sized windscreen and adequately-sized tail lamps. The way the camouflage sat on the rear, it was evident that the Kia Seltos sports some pretty unconventional lines that will only add to the rear tailgate design’s appeal.
So, for all those of you who are looking out for a compact SUV, and do not want to get the Maruti Suzuki Brezza, the Ford Ecosport, The Tata Nexon, the Mahindra XUV 300 or the Hyundai Venue, the Kia Seltos may well be worth waiting for, IF the company manages to price it right!