Kia, an independent subsidiary of Hyundai and the 8th largest global car company in its own right, were rather reckless to organise their first Indian test drive event in Goa when the monsoon fury was at full blast.
It made fast driving on the twisty roads, tough on the badly potholed roads it was rough on the steering and suspension systems.
Perhaps, Kia wanted to establish their new SUV was a real SUV capable of driving on rough roads. Maybe, it was an astrologer who had advised them that rain was auspicious.
In any event, some fifty auto journalists had a great time driving all over Goa and were also able to see that the fleet of the sleek Seltos cars racing everywhere.
The Seltos looks a bit like the Hyundai Creta but is a little longer, wider and taller and also provides more legroom in its spacious cabin.
Its looks immediately grabs attention with the wide ‘tiger face’ grille and a very tasteful array of chrome highlighted lines and curves.
The floating roof above the black pillars also make the car look slimmer. The lights immediately attract interest looking a bit like a collection of illuminated ice cubes.
The horizontal line of the LED light bar with a similar horizontal set of lights across the rear is very distinctive at night.
The buyer is also offered a confusing choice of 13 attractive colours and additional combinations of roof colours too.
The spacious interiors has a very high quality feel with tasteful fabrics and panels including ventilated seats to enable them to be quickly heated or cooled.
The instrument panel has a huge touch screen stretching from the panel to the centre of the car that carries to richest array of APPS seen on any car.
These include a stolen car recovery APP that can even immobilise the car by internet command.
An APP on the owner’s mobile phone can also remote start the car and its air conditioning. The driver and passengers can also fill their interiors with a choice of mood lighting options.
In fact, Kia boasts that the new Seltos has as many as 40 features. There is also every conceivable automotive creature comfort and entertainment features including a set of Bose speakers for faultless sound.
Many applications can be easily accessed by touch or by buttons on the steering wheel and the driver does not even have to look at his dashboard as the data on speed, mileage and fuel status can be projected on a small HUD (head-up display) screen on the windscreen.
To propel the vehicle there is a 1400 cc turbo petrol engine delivering 140 HP and a quiet 1500 cc 115 HP diesel mill. Both the engines have big torque to make the Seltos very peppy and quick. The driver can also select three drive modes from sporty to economical as well as three traction modes to suit the state of the roads. These engines are mated to automatic or 6-speed manual transmissions. Like all new cars the fuel efficiency of the Seltos is sure to be as good as it gets.
Kia has set up a big new plant in Andhra Pradesh with a single shift capacity of one lakh cars per year so we can be sure that Kia will soon make a big presence in the region with several succeeding models. To provide sales and service support Kia has already set up a large dealer network.
Though the price of the Seltos has not been announced so far they have already accepted about 30,000 pre-launch bookings.