2023 Kia Seltos facelift Review- Hot, Spicy, Sexy!

The Kia Seltos facelift comes in hot and spicy as ever


  • Has every gizmo you could think of
  • Improved ride quality
  • Top notch refinement
  • Plenty variants- choose what you want!
  • High quality interiors


  • Styling is a little overdone
  • DCT has noticeable lag between shifts
  • Rear seats lack underthigh support
  • 3 star crash safety rating (for pre-facelift) concerning
  • Narrow cabin

The Seltos when launched in 2019, was Kia’s first and most important offering. And it did not disappoint clocking sales far beyond expectations to become a formidable force in the segment. While after it, there have been other models which have found good success as well, it remains the mainstay in Kia’s lineup for India. Now, with the presence of more modern rivals, Kia has decided to give it extensive updates.

Kia Seltos Design

Starting off from the front, the facelift gets a new, larger “tiger-nose” grille with a more aggressive honeycomb pattern. The snazzy new DRLs now extend till almost the centre of the grille. Below it is a sportier bumper, which in the GT Line variants gets a body coloured insert surrounding the foglamps. The faux skid plate is also more prominent now giving a more aggressive stance.

Walking towards the side, you notice that the profile remains largely similar to the outgoing car. The exceptions being the door cladding which now features a body coloured insert along with new 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels which have a sharp design.

The rear is where the majority of changes have occurred. There is an all-new taillamp cluster with a connected light bar which looks quite cool. The rear tailgate has also been redesigned and now features smoother curves and less of a “sculpted” look. Underneath is a new bumper with thicker cladding, body coloured inserts and functional dual-exhaust tips (on the GT variants). Kia also seems to have opted to delete the badge denoting the engine.

Kia Seltos Interiors & Features

Step inside the car and you immediately notice a fresh feeling design. The dash has been redesigned and now features slimmer AC vents with the highlight being the massive dual-screen setup which houses the improved 10.25 inch infotainment system along with brand-new digital instrument cluster. The touchscreen is now slicker and features wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity. There is a whole lot more in terms of equipment as well, with panoramic sunroof, radar based ADAS L2, dual-zone climate control, 360 degree camera, front parking sensors being just few of the additions.

With a keen focus on safety, Kia is also offering 6 airbags, TPMS, ESC, Hill-hold Assist as standard with a 360 camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and a whole lot more. However, we must say that the pre-facelift received a poor 3-star safety rating in the previous iteration and expect the facelift to perform better.

Talking of seating comfort, the front seats are wide and offer adequate support, although thigh support could be improved. The driver gets an 8-way adjustable powered seat which helps in finding the perfect position easily. The front seats also get a ventilated function which can be very important in our climate. The rear bench is more or less a similar story. The bench seats two comfortably although three could be a squeeze due to the narrow cabin width. Legroom is good with few complaints although some rivals are a tad bit better. Surprisingly, the middle occupant no longer gets a headrest.

Kia Seltos Performance

Under the hood, Kia offers 3 engines- a 1.5L NA Petrol, a 1.5L turbo-petrol and a 1.5L diesel. All three come with a choice of IVT, DCT and torque-converter AT options respectively in addition to a 6 speed MT. The 1.5L turbo-petrol is a brand-new combo replacing the 1.4L turbo-petrol which was discontinued due to stricter emission regulations. It is also the variant we drove with the 7 speed DCT gearbox which makes 160HP and 253NM.

Crank up the Seltos and you do not notice the engine coming on. The refinement levels are nothing short of fantastic- to the extent that they can put quite a few luxury cars to shame. The engine is smooth and quietly goes about its job. A little dab on the throttle and the gearbox starts in 1st with a quick upshift to second. Typical to DCTs, there is a bit of a jerk moving off from the standstill. As you go higher up the revv band, the engine remains smooth and power delivery is linear and won’t take you by surprise. The gearbox, as is usual in cars for our market upshifts a tad bit early in the interest of fuel economy. While touching three-digit speeds is a cakewalk, you do not notice it all that much which makes the Seltos a great highway cruiser. There are three driving modes offered- Eco, Normal and Sport which alter the way the transmission upshifts. In the sport mode, the gears are held on to for longer. The gearbox is overall satisfactory but does not provide a cutting-edge performance unlike the Taigun and Kushaq DSGs which are far better tuned.

Kia Seltos Ride & Handling

Kia has also made a point to re-tune the suspension which now feels a lot more rounded and less jittery while going over bumps, although it is far from perfect and lets you know of the potholes and expansion joints it goes over. The softer tune also means a little more vertical movement at speeds, which, however does not become scary at any point.

Handling characteristics remain largely unchanged and the Seltos does good. The steering is fairly precise and weighs up well but lacks feedback from the road. Corners are also disposed off well with little in terms of drama.

Kia Seltos Price & Verdict

The first Seltos was a massive hit- much bigger than anyone expected and has gone on to become one of the flag bearers of its segment and maker alike. It came with a bang and the facelift has huge shoes to fill. And it seems so that it does. Kia has truly thrown all it has towards the facelifted Seltos. It comes across as a well rounded package with a fabulous combo of lots of features, fast as well as frugal powertrain options and at a great value for money. Yes, it does have flaws but none being dealbreakers. So does Kia have a winner on its hands? A BIG Yes! And it shows with the Seltos facelift getting as much as 13,000 bookings on the very first day according to Kia. The Seltos might just be the segment-leader once again! The midsize crossover segment is heating up and the aggressiveness shown by Kia should definitely be a huge worry to the competition.

Prices for the Kia Seltos range between Rs. 10.89-19.99 Lakhs(Ex-showroom) across a massive 18 variants! For the detailed price list and more details you can click here. The Kia Seltos facelift competes with rivals such as the Hyundai Creta, Maruti Grand Vitara and Volkswagen Taigun among others.

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