I distinctly remember the time when the Seltos made its debut. It carried with it great expectations and even greater responsibilities. Not only was it set to compete in a segment where people already had their established favourites, but it also had the crucial task of establishing Kia’s identity as a new brand in the fiercely competitive Indian market. And boy, did the Seltos exceed expectations!
What was once a breath of fresh air has now become a household name, standing tall as a strong contender for the title of the best SUV in the segment. Right from the get-go, it not only ticked all the right boxes but also, arguably, set new standards for the entire segment. As other automakers caught up with the Seltos, Kia decided to push things even further by launching the Seltos facelift. To find out if the Seltos facelift raises the bar yet again, we drove it in Nagpur, and here’s what we discovered…
2023 Kia Seltos Review: What’s New?
Now, in 2022, I had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time with the Kia Seltos, as it was my long-term test car. And from experience, I can say that all Kia had to do was simply add a sunroof, and everyone would have been happy. However, Kia went above and beyond and gave the Seltos a proper facelift. And the result is a striking new look, with a larger grille, a redesigned front bumper, and body-colour inserts around the fog lamps, which, too, have been updated – they now have a four-cube design instead of three – and LED DRLs slashing into the grille. In short, the Seltos has now a more in-your-face appearance.
On the sides, the Seltos has a more familiar design, with the updated body cladding, which now also has body-colour inserts. The wheels are new too, which, on the higher-spec trims, go up to 18 inches as seen in our test car. Notably, this option is no longer limited to only the X-Line trim like before.
Now, at the back, the visual difference is even more noticeable. The taillamps are now full LED units and get the connected design – a feature that has become quite popular in modern cars. The reverse lights have been shifted to the bumper, and both the front and back feature sequential turn indicators, adding a premium touch to the overall appearance.
The bumper has been redesigned too, and interestingly, there are two versions of it available for the Seltos. One of them is what you can see here on our test car, and the other is a sportier version with dual-tip exhausts. Similarly, the front bumper can differ based on the trim you go for. Kia also introduced a new paint shade called Pewter Olive, which can be seen on our test car.
Now, the Seltos’ interior has undergone enough changes to make it feel like a proper step up from before, and while most of these changes are rather small, their contribution to the overall upgrade is significantly large. One of the most notable changes is the new housing for the dual screens on the dash – the large binnacle, which felt visually intrusive while driving, has now been replaced by a more compact, slimmer housing recessed into the dash, offering a seamless and integrated appearance. The AC control units have been redesigned as well, and thankfully, there are good-old physical rotary knobs, rather than touch-based controls, for volume and air conditioning.
The cabin has two 10.25-inch displays, with sharp visuals, vibrant colours, and smooth animations. The touch response of the infotainment system is immediate, offering an effortless and intuitive user experience. And the instrument cluster adapts its theme based on the drive mode engaged. In short, it offers easily one of the best infotainment experiences in the segment. Additionally, the cabin now also gets dual-zone climate control, and the air purifier unit integrated into the front armrest has been updated to support touch responses. And yes, finally, the Kia Seltos has a panoramic sunroof that is electrically operated and can be opened and closed through voice commands.
There has been a significant improvement in terms of safety as well, given the inclusion of level 2 ADAS with 17 features, such as Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist. Interestingly, the ADAS system uses both cameras and radars to assure its functionality even in tricky road conditions. Lastly, the key has been updated to exude a more premium feel.
2023 Kia Seltos Review: What’s Similar?
The Seltos continues to have a complicated variant line-up, with different variants offering different exterior designs, feature lists, and even interior themes. Now, there are three engine options for the Seltos, each of which is offered with two gearbox options. However, not every drivetrain combination is available with every variant. And to make things even more complicated, there are three trim options as well – X-Line, GT Line, and Tech Line.
Coming back to the engine options, the Seltos continues to be offered with the previous two options, namely, a 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine and a 1.5-litre diesel unit. But now, it also gets the option of a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which also powers the Kia Carens, Hyundai Alcazar, and Hyundai Verna. On this occasion, we tested the variant with the diesel-automatic drivetrain.
In terms of performance, the Seltos has a familiar but highly-impressive ride quality, which has always been its unique characteristic in the segment – it’s soft enough to inspire confidence while taking on bad roads and has enough firmness to allow you to indulge in some spirited driving. The diesel-automatic drivetrain is butter smooth and makes the Seltos one of the last few SUVs to still offer this setup. So, in terms of ease of driving and ease of mind (thanks to its impressive range with a full tank), you can’t go wrong with this configuration. Now, we didn’t get a chance to sample the other drivetrains, so we will reserve our judgement about them until we test them thoroughly. That aside, the comfort quotient levels are excellent, with ample seating space for four passengers – you can even squeeze in the fifth with relative ease if you so wish.
2023 Kia Seltos Review: Why Should You Buy?
Overall, the Kia Seltos retains its familiar strengths while improving in other areas, thereby giving it an edge over the competition, yet again. With an abundance of features and a refreshed, better appearance, the Seltos is one of the most complete packages that you can buy under Rs 25 lakh. And with a starting price of just Rs 10.89 lakh (ex-showroom), Kia has once again managed to offer an SUV that caters to a diverse range of buyers with different requirements.
Now, while there is no hybrid technology on offer, and its fully-loaded variants are priced higher than most of its competitors, the Seltos still remains a car that’s easy to recommend because of a simple fact – not only does it get the basics right but also offers a long list of features. So, irrespective of what you want from a car, there indeed is a Seltos to suit your preference. All you have to do is to put in some effort to find it in the maze that is its huge variant line-up. It makes you realise just the value of configurators, doesn’t it?
- Kia Seltos SUV
Engine: : 1,493cc / 4-Cylinder
Fuel: : Diesel
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 114bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque: 250Nm @ 1,500-2,750rpm
Price: ₹18.19 – 19.99 Lakh (ex-showroom)
X-Factor: Without a doubt, it’s the most feature-packed SUV in the segment!
• Ride and handling