The Kia Seltos made its debut in the Indian market four years ago, marking the young manufacturer’s first entry into India and setting the stage for Kia’s subsequent success in the country. Today, Kia stands as one of the top manufacturers in India, and it all began with the Seltos. Recently, Kia introduced the facelifted variant of the Seltos to the Indian market, boasting an array of new features and the most powerful engine in its segment. To evaluate the fuel efficiency of the new engine, we embarked on a 200 km test drive.
What’s new in the 2023 Kia Seltos?
The facelift model of the Seltos receives some exterior and interior tweaks, along with a range of new features. The front-end has been upgraded with larger DRLs and sweeping LED turn indicators – a first in its segment. The rear also sees the addition of new tail lamps to complement the front and a light bar.
To make the Seltos look sportier, there have been changes to the bumpers and overall styling. The car comes in three different trims – Tech-Line, GT-Line, and X-Line. The GT-Line and X-Line have a more aggressive and sporty appearance compared to the Tech-Line, which boasts a rugged design.
Inside, the Seltos retains its plush cabin with new color themes. New features like a dual-zone climate control system and a crisper, brighter driver instrument cluster have been introduced. The high-definition graphics of the instrument cluster are visually appealing and practical.
The infotainment system’s user interface has been revamped, and the car now offers modern features such as a wireless phone charger and C-Type ports throughout. However, it’s worth noting that wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are missing. On a positive note, customers who desired a panoramic sunroof will be delighted to find one in the new Seltos.
The car also comes with new software features, including Hinglish commands, which we found to work remarkably well.
Safety has been enhanced in the new Seltos, with Kia making the structure of the car safer and providing 6 airbags as standard across all variants. Additionally, ESC (Electronic Stability Control) is now offered as standard. The new Seltos also features the LEVEL-2 ADAS system, offering functionalities like cross-traffic alert, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, among others. During our test drive, we found the adaptive cruise control particularly useful on the highway.
2023 Kia Seltos: New Turbo-petrol engine
The Seltos has upgraded its turbo-petrol engine from the 1.4-litre T-GDI to the new-generation 1.5-litre T-GDI, making it the most powerful car in its segment with 160 PS of peak power and 253 Nm of peak torque. We drove the variant equipped with the 7-Speed DCT, as Kia no longer offers a manual option with this engine. Customers can choose between the DCT or a 6-speed IMT.
The new engine outperforms the outgoing model in every aspect. It delivers more power, quicker acceleration, and features an idle-start-stop function. However, our primary interest was to assess the fuel efficiency of this new turbo-charged engine. Over the course of our 200 km drive, which included city roads, forest trails, and mostly highways (around 130 km), we maintained the climate control system throughout due to the humid weather in Nagpur. The seat ventilators were also active to help dry out sweaty outfits quickly.
On the highway, we relied on the adaptive cruise control to maintain a steady pace, despite encountering elevation changes on the ghat section. At the end of our drive, we observed an indicated fuel efficiency of 17.8 km/l, almost matching the ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of 17.9 km/l. Considering a real efficiency of around 16 km/l, this is an impressive figure for a car of this size, comfort, and stature.
The Seltos has also become more comfortable than its predecessor, thanks to tweaked dampers at the front and rear, which enhance stability on the road. The reworked steering improves handling, although it might not be extremely sharp, it should be suitable for most Indian customers.
2023 Kia Seltos: Is it an improvement?
The new Seltos is priced between Rs 10.9 lakh and Rs 20 lakh (ex-showroom) and offers a wide range of features to justify its cost. Given its popularity, we believe it will continue to hold an advantage in the market, especially considering Hyundai’s plans to release a major update to its Creta next year. This advantage should help the Seltos consolidate its position before facing stiff competition.
Overall, the 2023 Kia Seltos impresses with its new features, powerful engine, improved comfort, and safety enhancements, making it a compelling choice in its segment.