The Kia Seltos sure is fun to drive on tarmac but, after a fun little experiment with a professional motocross rider, we found out that it can make you smile in more ways than one.
It’s easy to see why the Kia Seltos is one of the finest cars available in the Indian market today. Since its launch, the Seltos has been a huge success for the Korean automaker. The Seltos bridges the gap between affordability and luxury, and offers buyers an opportunity to own a high-end vehicle without breaking the bank. However, what makes the Seltos even more attractive is its design, interior comfort, excellent ride quality and exciting performance.
It seems that every characteristic of the Seltos leaves a lasting impression. While it does seem to be more of an urban SUV, we wanted to see if the Seltos could truly live up to its tag-line of being a ‘bad-ass’ vehicle. That meant really putting the Seltos to the test, and so we called upon our friend and professional motocross rider, MS Prince, to help us out. By pitting the Seltos against Prince and his RM Z250 dirt bike, we would be able to easily gauge just how capable the Seltos really is. Here’s what we found out…
Doing it in Style
We decided to hit the dirt tracks at the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway in the NCR. While Prince was off setting the trails ablaze with his jumps and wheelies, the Kia Seltos took to the dirt quite well, and it looked really good while doing so. The Seltos is a very attractive SUV that features many mature design touches to make it stand out in a crowded market. For example, the front-end, with its huge ‘Tiger Nose’ grille, Kia’s design trademark, has a knurled aluminium finish, with a contrasting black plastic grille. Pair this with large sweeping headlights and turn indicators, along with vertically placed fog lamps, and the Seltos cuts a fine figure, with imposing road presence. The 17-inch wheels tucked under the muscular wheel arches, and the LED lights all around add to its glamour quotient. So, while Prince clearly was trying to make a statement by getting some air-time on his bike, the Kia Seltos surely looked just as spectacular as it drifted around the course and kicked up a lot of dirt. That being said, we were a little jealous about the air time he was getting!
Let’s be honest, comfort and off-roading don’t really jive well together. However, the interiors of the Seltos are on a different level and are better than anything in this segment. Obviously, Prince was never going to feel relaxed and at ease on his dirt bike but, behind the wheel of the Seltos, even while climbing obstacles and drifting sideways, the cabin remained as inviting and comfortable as ever. The seats of the Seltos deserve special praise, as they’re extremely comfortable. If ever you feel like you’re being overworked, the ventilated seats will cool you back down. The sunroof, Bose audio system and connectivity features are all an added bonus as well. The most impressive feature, though, is the 8-inch head-up display, which works beautifully and not only projects the car’s speed but also turn-by-turn navigation directly in the line of sight of the driver. So, as we continued to manoeuvre the obstacles, not only did the Seltos look good, but it felt great as well.
Well, we already knew that the Seltos is a beautiful car and that it has the best quality interiors and features. Now, what we needed to do was prove that the Seltos could handle the rough stuff too. Of course, it might seem unfair to throw it up against a full-on race spec motocross bike but, if the Seltos really is a ‘bad-ass’ vehicle then it wouldn’t mind the challenge. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Seltos took to the dirt track just as cool and composed as it does when it drives on tarmac. Sure, it doesn’t have off-road spec knobby tyres that cut through the mud like the race bike, but its handling and composure on the dirt were surprisingly good.
The engine fitted in our car was the range topping 1.4-litre turbo petrol, producing 138bhp and 242Nm of torque. You can feel the refinement of the engine instantly at idle, and through the entire rev range – even as you’re screaming off the redline as you battle for traction on the dirt in order to keep Prince firmly in your sights. Power delivery is instantaneous and the front wheels scramble to grip the loose surface. Despite running on stock tyres, designed mainly for tarmac, the Seltos really had us smiling from ear-to-ear. The responsive steering and beautiful suspension setup allow for a truly sporty experience when hurtling through the dirt track. Even taking on obstacles like the axle benders, which are designed specifically to test off-road vehicles, was a breeze for the Seltos. The steering wheel feels very good in your hands and you get great feedback from the tyres. Yes, of course, Prince was still flying through the air and jumping over obstacles but, the Seltos was keeping up with him. It took on whatever we threw at it and it did so effortlessly. Not only did the Seltos feel indestructible, but we also had a blast sliding it through the fast corners.
Really though, if this car can look good and feel this good, and perform with such vigour both on and off-road, then it surely does deserve the ‘bad-ass’ tag line. It’s flawless and enjoyable on tarmac but, at the same time, it’s even more fun when you put it out of its comfort zone. Truly, Kia have created a winner with the Seltos!
Lo and behold, the Kia Seltos even conquers the axle benders at the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, in the NCR.
M S Prince
M S Prince is one of India’s top privateer Supercross & Motocross dirt track riders. He’s a two-time National Dirt Track champion in the Foreign Bikes Category, and the only privateer rider to be supported by international Motocross brands, such as Works Connection USA, Dragon Alliance Goggles and Motul India.
This feature was filmed at the Off-Road Adventure Zone (ORAZ) on the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway in the NCR.
Also read - Kia Seltos, Track Test