Cars/ First-drive/ 2023 Kia Seltos | Benchmark Aims For Another Benchmark | First Drive Review

2023 Kia Seltos | Benchmark Aims For Another Benchmark | First Drive Review

Benchmark aims for another benchmark


Powertrains, improved ride quality, ADAS level 2


Misses cooled glove box and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay


Equipoise of enthusiasm and comfort

The Kia Seltos was always known for the multiple powertrain and transmission options available; it did not disappoint with the introduction of its new avatar. There are three powertrains on offer - 1.5L NA, 1.5 turbo Diesel and 1.5 turbo petrol (4 cylinders). We got to test the latter two with healthy power figures - 116hp, 250Nm on the turbo diesel while 160hp, 253Nm on the turbo petrol. Kia also offers the 2023 Seltos with multiple transmission options - 6-speed MT, 6-speed iMT, IVT, 6-speed AT, and 7-speed DCT. The lucky butts we are, we drove the latter transmissions on the diesel and petrol GT-Lines, respectively. The most considerable improvement overall has to be the improved suspension setup and wheel amalgamation. The earlier Seltos was a nice driving machine, but the passengers complained of stiffer suspension feedback, especially at the rear. The 2023 Kia Seltos adheres to this issue and balances performance-oriented handling and comfortable ride quality when the roads get rough. The body roll is minimal, and body control is spot on. The car manages a beautiful equipoise. 

The steering feedback and size were disappointing initially, but I guess smaller and quick firing makes the UZI a fun gun compared to a bolt-action precise shooting rifle. It’s an easy car to drive and manoeuvre through tight spots thanks to the clear cameras, sensors and that ADAS safety net warning through OVRMs and driver’s MID about every car around you. It senses your hands on wheels, and I like touching my ride, hence no comments on a handless drive, but the added safety net will teach lane departure assistance to drivers who cannot maintain their lanes when sane or intoxicated. The powertrains and NVH levels are real gems. The Smartstream G1.5 T-GDi with 7DCT is refined and rev-happy. The power delivery on this setup is linear, and the paddle shifters work charm through the 7-speed DCT. This engine is also efficient when the throttle responses are light. The drive/traction selector toggles between ECO, Normal and Sport modes while also being able to toggle between Snow, Mud and Sand traction control settings. The throttle responses are dulled in ECO mode while made responsive in Sport modes, bringing a perfect balance for Normal mode. The GT-Lines also featured a new animation and better digital MID with Mercedes-inspired mode animations. The turbo diesel variant does not feature exhaust cut-outs on the rear bumper and is a familiar engine from the current Creta. Kia has tuned the diesel engine to feel refined when in motion, and the power delivery via the 6-speed AT is responsive when required, stress-free and diesel efficient on long runs. The improved NVH levels pay dividends on the turbo diesel powertrain. All wheels have disc brakes, but the braking performance is just above average yet progressive. Overall, the multiple engine options, ADAS assistance, well-lit cabin with a panoramic sunroof and improved ride with confident handling balance make the Kia Seltos a worthwhile investment for newer and ageing car owners.

TopGear Magazine July 2024