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    Kia Seltos Turbo Petrol iMT Review

    Authors Image

    Sagar Bhanushali

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    Kia Seltos Right Front Three Quarter
    Kia Seltos Right Front Three Quarter
    Kia Seltos Right Rear Three Quarter
    Kia Seltos Left Rear Three Quarter
    Kia Seltos Left Side View
    Kia Seltos Left Side View
    Kia Seltos Left Front Three Quarter
    Kia Seltos Left Front Three Quarter

    Why would I buy it?

    • Clutch-less drive experience
    • Turbo petrol power
    • Ease of use

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Missing features
    • iMT’s limited appeal

    What is it?

    Overall Score

    8 / 10

    Left Side View

    It’s the clutch-less manual version of the Kia Seltos, a crossover with the most extensive engine and gearbox combinations in its segment. There’s a naturally aspirated petrol, turbo petrol, and a turbo diesel engine option. As for the gearbox, the Seltos can be had with a manual, CVT, torque converter automatic, dual-clutch automatic, or the iMT. Here, we are testing the iMT-equipped Seltos with a turbo petrol engine, which is something that Kia is offering with the facelifted model. We have driven the new Seltos already and you can read about it here. For this review, we are focusing on the real-world performance, fuel efficiency, and of course, the drive experience of this engine and gearbox combination.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Is the cabin of the Seltos iMT any good?

    7.5 / 10

    Dashboard

    The Seltos iMT’s cabin has the same look and feel as the rest of the Seltos range, but there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you can have the Seltos with this iMT gearbox in two variants only - HTK Plus and HTX Plus. These variants offer all the essential features and then some more, but there are some features missing compared to the higher variants, and the colours used for some of the materials are also different. The HTK Plus variant comes with six airbags, all-four disc brakes, push-button start, eight-inch touchscreen system with wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play, digital instrument cluster, rear door sunshades, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic AC, and cruise control.

    Gear Shifter/Gear Shifter Stalk

    As for the HTX Plus variant that you see here, it comes with a panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors, LED headlamps, sequential turn indicators, 17-inch alloy wheels, bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, powered driver’s seat and seat ventilation for both driver and passenger, dual-zone climate control, eight-speaker Bose sound system, wireless charger, ambient lighting, and leatherette upholstery. Now, because this iMT version cannot be had in the top-spec variants, some feel-good features such as ADAS, 360-degree camera, bigger 18-inch alloy wheels, and drive modes, are missing.

    As for space and comfort, the iMT Seltos remains unchanged from the rest of the range. The front row continues to offer a good amount of headroom and knee room. The seats are also supportive, although we would have liked them even more if the seat base had been a little longer. Space in the second row is not an issue either and the under-thigh support here is better than in the front, thanks to the large rear bench.

    Is the Seltos iMT nice to drive?

    8 / 10

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Let’s start with the 1.5-litre, turbo petrol engine. This four-cylinder engine is quite impressive when it comes to real-world performance and refinement. At any reasonable speed, you get a sense that there is plenty of power in reserve. The vibrations are minimal, and even when it’s not on boost, this 1.5-litre engine pulls cleanly, making it very tractable from low revs. Of course, when you give it the stick, the Seltos delivers and how. The shove that you feel once this engine zips past 3,000rpm is particularly strong and it continues to pull hard until the redline. The 100kmph mark comes up in 11.73 seconds from a standstill and this is factoring the relatively slow shifts that one has to undertake with an iMT gearbox. The Seltos iMT’s in-gear acceleration is much more impressive with 20-80kmph taking 8.99 seconds and 40-100kmph in just 9.78 seconds.

    Left Side View

    The six-speed iMT gearbox requires some getting used to if this concept is alien to you. Having said that, it will hardly take more than a single drive to figure out what’s going on. You need to step on the brake pedal and slot the gear lever in first. Since there is no clutch pedal, releasing your foot off the brake pedal is all it takes to get going. Then it’s simply a case of driving the Seltos iMT like any other manual car, except you are slotting the gear lever into higher or lower gears without a clutch pedal.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    You will get used to this setup quite quickly. It’s when you go back to driving a manual car with a clutch that you may find yourself grinding some gears. If you are in a gear too high and slowing down for traffic or coming to a halt, the system is smart enough to not stall the car. You can be in sixth and come to a full stop but it’s only once you want to accelerate will the car prompt you to shift down to the correct gear. We tested the real-world mileage of the Seltos turbo petrol iMT and after driving the car for 80km each in city and highway conditions, we got 9.2kmpl in the city and 16.03kmpl on the highway. Realistically, the Seltos turbo petrol iMT has a range of around 550km on a full tank.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Should you buy the Seltos iMT?

    7.5 / 10

    Left Front Three Quarter

    The HTK Plus and HTX Plus variants are priced at Rs. 15 lakh and Rs. 18.2 lakh (ex-showroom), respectively. This makes it more accessible to those who want this gearbox tech but not the feel-good features that the top-spec Seltos variants have to offer. But the real question is, is this engine and gearbox combination worth buying over a conventional manual or an automatic?

    Now, the thing is, Kia isn’t selling a turbo-petrol manual Seltos and if you are seeking maximum driving involvement or control then this iMT version is your best bet. As for the automatic version, the Seltos turbo DCT is significantly more expensive though it does offer a highly refined automatic. The Seltos turbo petrol iMT, then, makes for a good choice for those who do not want to bother with a clutch pedal, but are looking for some sort of driving involvement.

    Photos by Kapil Angane

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