FIRST DRIVES

KIA SEL­TOS

Evo India - - CONTENTS -

THE SEL­TOS IS EAS­ILY ONE OF the most awaited launches of this year. It comes from Kia, and will mark the mar­que's (see my play of words?) en­try into In­dia. It's an SUV that will be com­ing into a seg­ment that is heat­ing up in­tensely with the ag­gres­sive­lypriced MG Hec­tor tak­ing on the likes of the ev­er­green Hyundai Creta. And since it is based on the Creta plat­form, we know the un­der­pin­nings are solid. If the Creta's success is any­thing to go by, Kia Mo­tors ex­ecs are go­ing to be laugh­ing all the way to the bank.

Be­fore you read any fur­ther, I want to make some­thing clear. This is not a full-blown re­view for a num­ber of rea­sons — firstly, these are pro­to­types and not pro­duc­tion cars. These are cars that Kia Mo­tors is pro­duc­ing to set their qual­ity stan­dards and train their tech­ni­cians. They are close to pro­duc­tion cars, but there could be vari­a­tions to the real thing. To what de­gree, I can­not say. Se­condly, I didn't get too much time be­hind the wheel. I drove a to­tal of four vari­ants — I will come to which ones they were in a bit — but I drove each of them for lit­tle over a lap of Kia's test track at their green field fa­cil­ity in Anan­ta­pur. Two laps if I was naughty and didn't pull in to swap cars when I was asked to. So what you are about to read are my cur­sory first im­pres­sions of a pro­to­type ve­hi­cle. A de­tailed, con­clu­sive re­view will fol­low when we drive the pro­duc­tion cars on the road.

The driv­e­trains

A big part of what will al­low the Sel­tos to do well is the sheer va­ri­ety of driv­e­trains. Where SUVs like the Har­rier, for now, don't even give you the op­tion of ei­ther a petrol or an au­to­matic the Sel­tos will give you a to­tal of six dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions. There are three dif­fer­ent engines, each avail­able with a man­ual or an au­to­matic op­tion. The first is a nat­u­rallyaspi­rated 1.5-litre petrol en­gine that gets a six-speed man­ual or the op­tion of a CVT. Then there's the 1.4-litre turbo-petrol which comes with the op­tion of a six-speed man­ual or a 7-speed DCT. Lastly, and ob­vi­ously, there's a diesel — a 1.5-litre tur­bocharged mo­tor that comes with a six-speed man­ual or a torque con­ver­tor au­to­matic. All the mo­tors meet BSVI emis­sion norms right away. Say­ing you are spoilt for choice is an un­der­state­ment. I got my hands on both ver­sions of the turbo-petrol and diesel, but I'll come to what they feel like in a bit. Be­fore that, I want to talk about the way the Sel­tos looks.

De­sign and in­te­ri­ors

De­sign and aes­thet­ics are a huge fo­cus for Kia. One look at the Sel­tos rolling down the road, or in this case a test track, and you know they've done some­thing right. The face is prop­erly dis­tinct — front and cen­tre is the Tiger Nose grille, an ele­ment that runs com­mon through their en­tire range. The head­lamps are in­tri­cately de­signed with a lot of el­e­ments mak­ing the face look rather ex­pen­sive, and the in­di­ca­tors that sit be­low it are rather unique look­ing too. The Sel­tos is wider and longer than the Creta, but it isn't as tall. This gives the Sel­tos a far more ag­gres­sive-look­ing, more dy­namic stance com­pared to the more up­right Creta. There's a heavy use of cladding,

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