Table of contents:
- I was terribly wrong when predicting the stellar future of Renault Arkana. Real buyers felt more Duster in it than was promised, did not believe the turbo engine and variator, and as a result, the cross-coupe only occasionally gets into the top 25 Russian sales. But I predicted even greater success for the KiSeltos crossover during the first test in Korea - and isn't it worth it, having burned yourself on the Arcana, to take these words back? It seems not! Because now I have ridden the Russian version and am finally convinced of what will happen next
I was terribly wrong when predicting the stellar future of Renault Arkana. Real buyers felt more Duster in it than was promised, did not believe the turbo engine and variator, and as a result, the cross-coupe only occasionally gets into the top 25 Russian sales. But I predicted even greater success for the KiSeltos crossover during the first test in Korea - and isn't it worth it, having burned yourself on the Arcana, to take these words back? It seems not! Because now I have ridden the Russian version and am finally convinced of what will happen next
Already in March, sales of Seltos will start confidently - perhaps even with the proud speeches of marketers about scarcity and queues. In the summer, the "input" versions with aspirated 1.6 will catch up and the expansion of Ki will continue with renewed vigor. And everything will end with a hit in at least three of the most popular crossovers of the year, although the balance of power will also depend on SkodKaroq, the second most powerful player in the new segment of "semi-budget".
We will soon find out which of them is cooler in a comparative test, but for now it is clear what. Unlike the adventurous and controversial Arcana, Seltos simply has no chance of failure. Because it is an almost flawlessly calibrated product with perfect positioning.
Yes, exactly the product. Don't expect Stinger's passion or Soul's mischief from KiSeltos - he was not created to fall in love, but simply to please. But - to everyone. The designers drew a pretty face with two-story optics and an LED monobrow over the radiator grill, and in the summer I praised Ki for such attention to detail. But from the front pillars to the rear bumper, the crossover is still banal: when you see it three-quarters from behind, you can't understand whether it is Seltos or one of the armada of new "Chinese" like Chery or Changan. Guys from the Middle Kingdom - this is a compliment to you, by the way. Do not be ill.
Impressions from the interior have also slightly adjusted: for our versions there are not yet bright decorative inserts that can be ordered in Korea, and without them everything looks not so fun. But if you do not know that somewhere there they even happen, Seltos will only amaze - and pleasantly.
YES, PLASTIC IS HARD. If this is a matter of principle for you, do not even go to the dealer. But when it comes to all other elements, the quality of their fit, as well as ergonomics and functionality, the Seltos is not inferior to the C-segment crossovers. I will even say seditious: due to the more recent design, it is perceived more elegant and richer than the Sportage. Now you can write that the author has sold out.
Yes, the same trick works here as with appearance: by trying to catch attention first, Koreans have saved on the secondary. The glove compartment is devoid of trim, the center tunnel is one large and echoing piece of plastic, and the trunk is minimalist in terms of amenities, if not poor.
Although it should be noted that a full-size spare wheel appeared here instead of a stowaway, which made the floor rise just enough to form a flat area when the second row was folded - I was right in this prediction.
And most importantly, you will definitely forget about saving on trifles when you start comparing the Seltos and Sportage price tags.
A two-liter four-wheel drive Seltos with almost full minced meat (top multimedia, keyless entry, LED headlights, full heating package, parking sensors around) will cost less than a front-wheel drive Sportage with the same engine in an almost basic configuration! That is, with air conditioning instead of climate control, an audio system instead of touchscreen multimedia, and so on. Yes, the Seltos is more compact, but in the second row it's still okay here (better than in the Ceed, for example), and the 23-liter difference in trunk volume is ridiculous.
Many will object: the Sportage will have a normal thoroughbred "automatic", and this of your handicraft - a variator! You know, especially for such people, a leading Kia transmission engineer was brought from Korea, who talked about technical details for a good 20 minutes - like a special anti-drain plate in the differential,reducing the volume of oil by 200 milliliters and increasing the efficiency of work by - I quote! - 0.3-0.5 percent.
Everything you really need to know: a chain variator, like in larger and more powerful cars, and it was driven around the Dmitrovsky proving ground in a test cycle equivalent to 150 thousand kilometers of real operation, and did not find any problems at the finish line. Of course, this does not guarantee anything, but right now I like the variator.
Already in the standard operating mode, it interacts well with the engine and accelerator: there are no annoying delays, the rpm does not hang at one point, increasing progressively - and when it approaches the cutoff, the transmission flips the virtual steps. We turn on the sports mode of the electronics with the washer on the tunnel - the responses become sharper, and the "switching" more often. We swing the selector to the left to activate the sports algorithm of the box itself, and we get a little more liveliness. And also the ability to manually keep the "low" on the slopes, which really works.
Does this make Seltos dynamic? Well, with the same two-liter 149-horsepower aspirated, it is faster than the Sportage according to the passport - 10.4 seconds to a hundred versus 11.6. In reality, he just drives: to be honest, all crossovers with similar engines are equally tasteless. The recipe is the same: everything is fine in the city, overtaking after 100 is possible, but beyond 130 there is no life. Only Seltos also shouts.
In Korea, riding the version with a turbo engine, I did not find any problems with noise insulation, but now there is too much sound from the aspirated in the cabin. It also turned out that in the vicinity of Seoul, anomalously smooth asphalt. The current test took place in Austria, on more familiar surfaces, and tires sounded on them: after all, in terms of acoustics, Seltos is a budget employee. Or do we discount the inexpensive Gislaved Nordfrost Velcro?
Perhaps it is she who is responsible for the somewhat vague reactions to the steering wheel. Seltos keeps a straight line confidently, but in turns it makes you look for a trajectory with a not very informative steering wheel, slipping with the front wheels quite early, and under the throttle release and turning the rear wheels go into sliding. Nothing critical, but there is no desire for fast driving. Yes, she, in all honesty, is not needed here.
Much more important is the second factor, which also could not but affect the steering, - the softened suspension. In the summer, we loudly complained about the senseless shaking of the Korean versions of Seltos, and we were heard. The Russian specification received four new shock absorbers, two new springs and one stabilizer - the last points refer to the front axle. And everything really became nobler.
The flabby nervousness is gone, the trifle is filtered with dignity, not too deep sewer hatches (and there are no others in Austria) are worked out without hysterics, and only a short transverse wave makes the crossover jump more than you expect. As always, with the final exam - summer primers and TTK joints - you will have to wait until the local test, but I would not expect serious punctures from Seltos.
Have you read this place? Have you noticed that I have not voiced a single large joint? But because there are no such stocks. At the very beginning, I warned: this is a perfectly calculated and positioned product. On the price scale, it is exactly between Crete and Sportage and will eat away customers from both of them and all their competitors. If it's more convenient for you, you can count differently: for the same money as the top-end Qashqai, the top-end Seltos offers unprecedented equipment, a turbo engine and 8.4 seconds to a hundred. Are you ready to trade this for the soft plastic of the front panel? In general, there are no other objective factors.
And now even more frankly: personally, this situation drives me into depression. Where are these people that brought the crazy Nissan Juke to the top of sales? Why didn't the bright ToyotC-HR and the elegant Peugeot 3008 shoot out? Even the success of the informal Arcana could be celebrated. But the problem of the automotive market - in particular in Russia - is specifically us, the buyers. Because we vote with a ruble for boredom, preferring to pay extra for a new smartphone, TV or sneakers, but not for individuality in the car. And marketers love us.
Does this mean KiSeltos is bad? No, he's beautiful. Because I fit perfectly into the current reality. And he was too strong to be denied.