The Seltos has a modern design, and one that the next-generation Creta (likely in 2020) could take some cues from.
On Thursday, Korean carmaker Kia Motors unveiled its first product, the Seltos SUV, in India. Expected to be priced in the Rs 11-17 lakh range (ex-showroom), the Seltos will be likely launched in August and will compete with cars such as Tata Harrier, the soon-to-be-launched MG Hector, Mahindra XUV 500 and Hyundai Creta. Is the Seltos, on paper, better than these, especially the segment leader, the Creta?
The Creta was launched in 2015. Although Hyundai gave it a mid-life design update in 2018 — changes such as new projector headlamps, LED DRLs and positioning lamps, dual-tone front and rear bumpers, skid plates, and split-type tail-lamps — the Creta has started to show its age.
The Seltos, on the other hand, has a far more modern design, and one that the next-generation Creta (likely in 2020) could take some cues from. The Seltos has a large front grille — called Tiger nose, a unique Kia design element — and a lot of LED lights all over the body. The top-end variant that Kia showcased on Thursday looks premium, even though there appears to be an overuse of chrome. It will be offered in eight colours and five two-tone colour options (the Creta has nine colours and two dual-tone options).
Although now old, the Creta’s cabin still has a unique charm. It’s luxurious, and the top-end variants are loaded (electric sunroof, driver’s seat can be adjusted in six ways, cruise control, and most creature comforts).
The Seltos, however, takes premiumness on a different plane. It has a lounge-like cabin (with features such as mood lighting, large touchscreen, and the driving position appears to have a commanding view of all things outside). When launched, a certain variant of the Seltos might come equipped with an 8.0-inch head-up display system (it projects relevant driving information, such as navigation and speed, on to a small glass panel behind the steering wheel).
The Creta has three engine options: 1.6-litre petrol, 1.4-litre diesel and 1.6-litre diesel. Both petrol and diesel 1.6-litre engines get a choice of either manual or automatic gearbox (both six-speed), the 1.4-litre diesel gets only the manual gearbox.
Here again, the Seltos one-ups the Creta. While Kia hasn’t shared technical specifications of the engines it’ll be powered with, it has announced there will be petrol, turbo-petrol and diesel engine options, and three automatic transmission options – IVT (intelligent CVT), 7-speed DCT, 6-speed AT — and a 6-speed manual transmission. It doesn’t have an AMT option. But it has different driving modes — ‘normal’, ‘eco’ and ‘sport’ — which are now increasingly getting popular in Indian cars. And then like some 4×4 SUVs, the Seltos will have multiple grip controls (mud, wet and sand modes).
While Hyundai’s small SUV, the Venue, has multiple real-time connectivity features, introducing these in the Creta will take a long time. The only connectivity device worth its salt in the Creta is the wearable key, called the H-Band. Wearing it, you can lock and unlock the car by pressing a button on the door; it’s also a fitness tracker and it notifies you about incoming phone calls. That’s about it.
The Seltos, as expected of a modern car, has Venue-like connectivity features. The company says its technology, called the UVO, offers 37 smart features under five categories: navigation, safety and security, vehicle management, remote control, and convenience. Like the Venue, the Seltos can also be tracked remotely.
Also, while the Creta gets a dustbin inside (the Swacch Can), the Seltos has a far more usable (but expensive) device — a remotely-operated air purifier and in-car air quality monitor.
The ex-showroom, Delhi, prices of the Creta start at Rs 9.99 lakh. However, most of the features mentioned here are available only in top variants, which are priced in the range of Rs 13-15 lakh.
The Seltos, because it’s so well equipped, might be slightly more expensive than the Creta. At the same time, one car cannot be better than the other simply because it offers more features at an almost similar price point. There’s also an X factor — a vehicle’s reliable reputation. The Creta, over the years, has proven itself in the Indian market. And that’s something the Seltos will have to earn.
(Kia will likely launch the Seltos, and announce its price, in August.)