2023 Kia Seltos Facelift Review: Taking Badassery To The Next Level
By Seshan Vijayraghvan
12 mins read
Published on July 23, 2023
- The Kia Seltos has received a major makeover in terms of look, features and safety
- The SUV is offered in 3 styles - TechLine, GTLine and XLine
- Kia Seltos is priced from Rs. 10.90 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh
Back in 2019 when Kia India first launched the Seltos, the company filled the SUV with enough tech and features to give the competition a good run for their money. The SUV was bold and stylish, it offered several segment-first features and tech, and the pricing was aggressive. The perfect formula for a successful product, and it worked! In the last four years, the Korean carmaker has sold over 5 lakh units of the compact SUV, which is around 50 per cent of Kia India's total sales since the company began its operations.
Now, with the launch of the 2023 facelift, the Seltos has received a proper update, Kia wants to ensure that it achieves new segment benchmarks again. Has the company been able to achieve that? Let’s find out.
The 2023 Kia Seltos continues to be offered in three styles - TechLine, GTLine, and XLine
Kia has given the 2023 Seltos a proper makeover, and I feel it looks bolder and more aggressive now. Like before the Seltos continues to be offered in both TechLine and GTLine trims, and now, Kia will also offer the top spec XLine options right from the word go.
The 2023 Seltos now comes with new Star Map pattern light signatures, both at the front and rear
As for the common visual elements, the new grille upfront is larger now and has a more imposing design. The chrome bits have been toned down a little which gives it a border-less look, while the new headlamps look sleek and stylish. While the lower spec models get halogen projector lights, all trims from the HTX variant and above come with the crown jewel LED headlamps. Kia is also offering the new Star Map LED daytime running lights with the new Seltos. The SUV continues to come with the signature ice cube LED foglamps.
The Kia Seltos GTX+ trim comes with exaggerated bumpers and larger 18-inch alloy wheels
Coming to the differences, the GTLine trim gets a more exaggerated front and rear bumper with body-coloured inserts and a more pronounced faux skid plate. On the other hand, the TechLine variants get simple faux silver skid plates, which I feel, look much nicer. The GTLine variant also comes with a set of larger 18-inch wheels compared to the 17-inchers on the TechLine trims, along with black roof rails, instead of the silver once offered with the latter. The former also features a set of exaggerated dual-tipped exhausts, with more body-colour inserts on the rear bumper, and yes, it’s a functional pair of dual exhaust systems.
The 2023 Kia Seltos comes in this all-new Pewter Olive shade we had with us
Depending on the variant you get, Kia has up to four alloy wheel options, and up to 11 colour choices, including this all-new Pewter Olive shade we had with us. In terms of dimensions, the 2023 Seltos is also 50 mm longer than the outgoing model, whereas the height, width and wheelbase remain unchanged.
The GTLine trim of the Kia Seltos gets an all-black cabin with white insets
Inside, the Seltos offers different interior trim options depending on the variant you choose - right from fabric seat covers in the lower-spec models to premium faux leather upholstery in the top-spec trim. The cars with me were the GTX+ and the HTX+ trims, and while the former featured an all-black interior with white inserts, the HTX+ variant came with a dual-tone brown and black interior.
The Seltos TechLine gets dual-tone brown and black interior, which has an airier and more premium look
And yes, while black always looks stylish, I personally quite liked the brown interior of the HTX+. The lighter tone gives the cabin an airier and more premium look.
The Seltos offers a 60:40 split function with reclining rear seats from the HTX trim and above
In terms of creature comforts, the Seltos has a long list of features on offer. For starters, the SUV now comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. You also get all 4 power windows with one touch up/down function, a smart air purifier, and a new dual-pane panoramic sunroof.
The Seltos comes with a generous boot space of 433 litres
As for rear seat comfort, the Seltos offers a 60:40 split function with reclining rear seats from the HTX trim and above. You also get rear AC vents, sunshades for the rear windows, and generous boot space of 433 litres.
Infotainment and Tech
Kia now offers a wide display with two 10.25-inch screens for infotainment and instrumentation
The 2023 Seltos is loaded with a host of smart tech, and they are quite useful as well. Firstly, you now get a wide dual-screen display. Here you get two 10.25-inch screens, and the first one is a fully digital colour instrument cluster, which offers you a tonne of information like alerts and warnings, navigation, tyre pressure, and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistant Systems) functionalities among others.
The fully-digital instrument cluster is a coloured display that offers a tonne of vehicle information
The second display is the touchscreen infotainment system that is loaded with features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a suit of connected car tech as part of Kia Connect. However, you only get wireless connectivity in the lower-spec trims without Kia Connect. That said, Kia does offer a wireless phone charger along with both Type A and Type C USB slots, however, you can only use the former to connect your phone to the car. This is not really a smart move from Kia considering most users today use Type C cables. The new Seltos also comes with an 8-speaker premium surround sound system from Bose.
The new Seltos also comes with an 8-speaker premium surround sound system from Bose.
The system also supports voice commands for a bunch of in-car functions like setting the AC temperature or opening the sunroof. In fact, the system can recognise up to 19 Hinglish commands as well – like ‘sunroof kholo’, ‘sheesha niche karo’ etc. That’s certainly a nice party trick and interestingly one that we have already experienced in Hyundai’s new Exter micro SUV.
Safety Features & ADAS
The new Seltos now also comes with Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS with 17 autonomous functions
Safety too has been given a high priority in the new Seltos. The SUV now comes with 15 standard safety features which include – 6 airbags, anti-lock brakes, disc brakes on all 4 wheels, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system and 3-point seatbelts for all occupants. The higher-spec models get additional features like – 360-degree view cameras, electric parking brake with auto hold, and rain-sensing wipers.
Kia also offers 360-degree view cameras, electric parking brake with auto hold, and rain-sensing wipers
But more importantly, the new Seltos now also comes with Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS with 17 autonomous functions. This includes features like – Front Collision Warning / Avoidance Assist, where the system detects any vehicle or pedestrian that suddenly comes in front of your car and applies emergency brakes for you. But remember you’ll need to be under 50-60 kmph and it doesn’t detect animals.
The Front Collision Warning / Avoidance Assist function can detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists
Then you have Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist, which can automatically correct the steering to ensure you don't go out of your lane. The system also offers - Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring & Collision Avoidance Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning with Collision Avoidance Assist among more. So yes, futuristic is the keyword here.
Engine & Transmission Choices
The 2023 Kia Seltos gets a new 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine with an iMT and 7-speed DCT
Kia offers the new Seltos with three engine options and five transmission choices. The engine options include a 1.5-litre MPi petrol engine that makes 113 bhp and 144 Nm of peak torque, while mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and an optional IVT or intelligent variable transmission. You also get a more powerful 1.5-litre T-GDi turbocharged petrol engine that makes 158 bhp and 253 Nm of peak torque, while mated to a 6-speed iMT or Intelligent manual transmission or an optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) unit.
The tried and tested 1.5 diesel too comes with a iMT along with a 6-speed AT
Kia continues to offer a diesel option as well, and it’s the same 1.5-litre CRDi VGT unit as before that makes the same 114 bhp and 250 Nm of peak torque. And it’s now mated to a 6-speed IMT or a 6-speed automatic torque converter unit. We got to drive the GTX+ turbo petrol trim with the DCT unit, and the HTX+ diesel with the iMT unit. So, let’s start with the addition to the lot.
Performance (GTX+ Turbo Petrol)
The Seltos with the 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine is peppy and powerful, and it will keep you engaged at all times
The Seltos is not the first Kia car to get this 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine. In fact, it was first introduced in the Carens earlier this year and is only now making its debut in the Seltos, replacing the older 1.4-litre T-GDI engine. The engine feels peppy and powerful, and it will keep you engaged at all times. One tap on the accelerator, and the Seltos moves ahead with great gusto and minimal turbo lag, courtesy of all that torque, which kicks in as early as 1500 rpm.
The 7-speed DCT automatic does a fine job of offering an enjoyable driving experience
The 7-speed DCT automatic unit also does a great job of offering an enjoyable driving experience. The shifts are quick and precise and there is minimal lag, and I would certainly pick this over the iMT version. The new turbo petrol engine is not just powerful but also efficient, as Kia says it can return a mileage of up to 17.9 kmpl, 10 per cent more than the older 1.4-litre unit. And that’s impressive. But, what about the diesel engine?
Performance (HTX+ Diesel)
The diesel motor is tried and tested and certainly a capable option
Compared to the petrol motor, the 1.5-litre diesel engine is already known to us and has been offered with the Seltos since the SUV was first launched. It continues to offer the same amount of power and torque. And there's enough of that to keep you engaged at all times. I for one certainly like this one. Yes, there is a bit of turbo lag in the lower revs, however, once you cross the 2000 rpm mark, the engine feels a lot livelier and more fun to drive. What I didn’t like is the fact that there is no manual gearbox on offer.
Sadly, Kia doesn't offer a manual gearbox with the Seltos diesel, which is a big miss in my books
You get an iMT gearbox with the Seltos diesel, along with the 6-speed automatic torque converter. Now the torque converter is quite good, we have tested that in the past, however, as for the iMT… well, it takes some time to get used to. It’s a clutchless gearbox, so you do have the convenience of two-pedal driving, however, it's not the smoothest gearbox out there. Plus, if you are not used to it, the constant need to shift between gears, without a clutch, can be a bit bothersome.
So yes, we still wish that Kia had considered offering a manual gearbox at least with the diesel version because that is what most buyers prefer.
Kia says that it has made some improvements to the suspension of the new Seltos to make it sportier
Ride & Handling
As for the ride and handling, Kia says that it has made some improvements to the suspension of the new Seltos to make it sportier than before. And I did notice that the SUV felt more agile and planted. The suspension is a bit on the stiffer side to aid better handling, however, it does not make the ride uncomfortable by any means.
The suspension of the Seltos is a bit on the stiffer side to aid better handling
So yes, the Seltos can handle those small undulations on the road with great ease. The steering is also light, so manoeuvring the SUV through traffic will be easy, however, I wish it offered better feedback. The NVH levels of the SUV too have been improved.
Price & Verdict
The 2023 Kia Seltos is priced between Rs. 10.90 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh (ex-showroom India). And at this range, I have to say, the SUV is priced quite aggressively. In fact, the price of the base trim remains unchanged, while the top-end variant is just Rs. 35,000 more expensive than the outgoing Seltos.
|2023 Kia Seltos||Rs. 10.90 Lakh to Rs. 20 Lakh|
|Hyundai Creta||Rs. 10.87 Lakh to Rs. 19.20 Lakh|
|Volkswagen Taigun||Rs. 11.62 Lakh to Rs. 19.26 Lakh|
|MG Astor||Rs. 10.81 Lakh to Rs. 18.69 Lakh|
In comparison, the top-spec Hyundai Creta, which too will soon receive an update, is currently Rs. 80,000 cheaper. The Volkswagen Taigun is Rs. 74,000 less expensive, while the MG Astor, which also gets Level 2 ADAS, is Rs. 1.4 lakh cheaper. However, all these SUVs miss out on several creature comforts that the new Seltos offers. And that is what will attract a lot of buyers.
With the 2023 Seltos, Kia India has certainly managed to set new benchmarks in the compact SUV segment
So, coming back to my first question, has Kia managed to set new benchmarks with the Seltos? Well, I’d say definitely yes! Moreover, unlike some facelifts, it doesn't look forced. In fact, the new Seltos looks refreshed and still like a breath of fresh air; in our opinion a modern SUV worthy of your hard-earned money.
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