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Kia Seltos Diesel iMT First Drive Review

The Kia Seltos iMT is a compact SUV that is poised to revolutionize the driving experience, combining convenience and control in a way never seen before. With its Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) system, the Seltos iMT represents a significant leap forward in automotive innovation as it is the only diesel SUV configured with an iMT.

Kia Seltos Diesel iMT First Drive Review

Kia has long been recognized as a pioneering brand, and the introduction of the Seltos iMT further solidifies its position as an industry leader. By reimagining the manual transmission, Kia has eliminated the need for a clutch pedal, offering a new level of convenience. The iMT system is available in selected Seltos models and provides effortless and seamless gear shifting. Advanced sensors and actuators work harmoniously to automatically engage and disengage the clutch, resulting in smooth gear changes. This allows the Seltos iMT to deliver the convenience of an automatic transmission while still providing the engaging and controlled experience of a manual gearbox.

Underneath its sleek exterior, the Kia Seltos iMT boasts a range of powerful features along with its efficient engine, supporting diesel variants. The diesel engine delivers robust torque, ensuring impressive performance in both urban environments and on the open road. Paired with the iMT system, drivers have enhanced control over gear selection, allowing them to tailor their driving experience to their preferences and road conditions.

However, the Seltos iMT is not solely focused on performance. Instead, it offers a complete package that prioritizes comfort, safety, and style. Inside the cabin, drivers and passengers are greeted with a thoughtfully designed interior that incorporates premium materials, generous seating, and state-of-the-art technology. The intuitive infotainment system and advanced driver-assistance features enhance the driving experience, providing convenience and peace of mind.

On the exterior, the Seltos iMT exudes confidence and style with its dynamic lines, muscular stance, and iconic tiger-nose grille. The LED lighting elements and the option of a two-tone color combination further enhance its attractive appearance, ensuring that the Seltos iMT turns heads wherever it goes.

Safety is a top priority in the Seltos iMT, with an extensive range of advanced driver-assistance systems working harmoniously to keep occupants protected. Features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, forward collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control provide a secure and reassuring driving experience.

Engine and Performance

Moving on to the engine and performance aspects of the Kia Seltos, it offers a wide range of powertrain options to cater to diverse driving preferences. For example, there is a 1.5-liter turbo-diesel engine generating 113bhp, available with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. Another option is the 1.4-liter turbo-petrol unit, delivering 138bhp, and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox. Additionally, there's a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine producing 113bhp and 144Nm of torque, providing flexibility with transmission choices such as a six-speed manual, a CVT auto gearbox, or the six-speed iMT clutch-less manual.

Kia Seltos Diesel iMT First Drive Review

When starting the engine, the Seltos iMT effortlessly comes to life with the push of a button, settling into a pleasantly quiet idling state. Notably, the cabin remains free from unwanted vibrations, ensuring a smooth driving experience. To get the vehicle moving, simply place your right foot on the brake, engage the first gear, and gradually release the brake pedal. The car responds smoothly and starts moving forward. Acceleration is seamless, and as the revs build, shifting into higher gears becomes effortless. The car even provides suggestions on which gear to choose when downshifting, facilitating easy adaptation. Additionally, the Seltos iMT allows you to start off in second gear as well, eliminating the need to constantly engage first gear.

The engine exhibits a rev-happy nature, providing a refined and enjoyable driving experience. This allows you to rev up to its redline at 6,300rpm. Power delivery is consistent and linear, ensuring that the vehicle never feels underpowered. Performance tests also confirm this, with the Seltos achieving 0-100 kmph in just 13.39 seconds, 20-80 kmph in 12.44 seconds, and 40-100 kmph in 17.17 seconds. However, it's important to note that overtaking requires careful planning and downshifting due to the engine's characteristics. The gear shifts themselves are smooth, and with the absence of a clutch pedal, your left leg remains at ease throughout the journey.

Regarding the Intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), it's worth mentioning that there are no issues with rollback. However, it's essential to understand that the iMT variant lacks the hill-hold function found in the proper automatic versions of the Seltos. Consequently, on slopes, it behaves like a manual car. Nonetheless, the advantage is that upon releasing the brake pedal and applying slight acceleration, the Seltos moves forward seamlessly.

The Kia Seltos offers a versatile range of powertrain options, including the innovative iMT variant. With refined engines, smooth gear shifts, and the convenience of clutch-less operation, the Seltos provides an engaging driving experience. Whether tackling city streets or venturing onto highways, the Seltos proves to be a reliable and enjoyable companion on the road.


When it comes to exterior design, the Kia Seltos iMT truly captivates with its striking and confident presence on the road. The design language of the Seltos iMT reflects Kia's commitment to creating vehicles that are both visually appealing and functional.

Starting at the front, the Seltos iMT features a bold and dynamic fascia, highlighted by the iconic tiger-nose grille. This signature grille design adds a touch of aggression and elegance, setting the tone for the entire vehicle. The grille incorporates attractive and contemporary projector headlights that provide excellent visibility while enhancing safety during night driving. The integration of LED lighting elements further elevates the overall aesthetic, giving the Seltos iMT a distinct and premium look.

Moving along the sides, the Seltos iMT showcases its muscular and athletic stance, thanks to its well-defined character lines and sculpted body panels. Carefully crafted proportions create a sense of balance and harmony, enabling the Seltos iMT to stand out in a crowded SUV segment. The availability of two-tone color combinations adds a touch of personalization, allowing owners to express their unique style and taste.

One cannot overlook the attention to detail that Kia has put into designing the exterior of the Seltos iMT. From the aerodynamically sculpted side mirrors to the chrome accents that tastefully adorn the window surrounds, every element has been meticulously thought out to enhance both aesthetics and functionality.

At the rear, the Seltos iMT continues to impress with its sleek and modern design cues. The LED taillights seamlessly blend with the overall design, providing a cohesive and eye-catching rear profile. The rear bumper design adds to the sporty appeal, while the dual exhaust outlets give a subtle hint of the performance capabilities that lie beneath.

Overall, the exterior of the Kia Seltos iMT exudes confidence, style, and a sense of adventure. It successfully blends modern design elements with practicality, creating an SUV that is not only visually appealing but also functional for everyday use. Whether cruising through city streets or embarking on a thrilling off-road excursion, the Seltos iMT is sure to turn heads and leave a lasting impression.

Kia Seltos Diesel iMT First Drive Review

Ride and Handling

When it comes to the ride and handling of the Kia Seltos iMT, it offers a responsive and agile driving experience that is well-suited for both urban and highway conditions. The steering in the Seltos iMT is highly responsive, with a three-turn lock-to-lock ratio that allows for precise maneuvering. While the steering does require a bit more effort, the overall feel remains light, making it a breeze to navigate through tight city streets and parking lots.

One aspect that could have been improved upon is the feedback from the steering. Despite the SUV's car-like driving dynamics, a little more communication from the road would have been welcome. Nonetheless, the Seltos iMT's handling remains composed and predictable, allowing for confident cornering and maintaining its intended line. The manageable body roll ensures stability even when taking corners at higher speeds, instilling a sense of control and reassurance.

The Seltos iMT is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels that not only add a touch of style but also contribute to the overall performance. Coupled with Good Year tires, the Seltos iMT offers a satisfactory grip, providing a confident and planted feel on the road. However, the brakes could have delivered a better bite. Although they effectively bring the car to a stop, they lack the enhanced confidence that comes with all-disc brakes. Nevertheless, the braking system performs well, enabling the Seltos iMT to achieve an impressive stopping distance from 100-0kmph in just 3.02 seconds, covering around 42.25 meters.

One of the standout features of the Seltos iMT's ride quality is its ability to handle various road conditions with ease. With a generous ground clearance of 190mm and well-tuned suspension, the Seltos iMT effortlessly absorbs the impact of potholes, bumps, and uneven surfaces. Although the suspension leans towards the firmer side, it strikes a fine balance between comfort and sportiness. The Seltos iMT delivers a smooth and controlled ride, minimizing any bounciness and ensuring occupants stay comfortable even on longer journeys.

Comfort, Convenience, and Features

When it comes to comfort, convenience, and features, the Kia Seltos iMT excels, offering a spacious and well-designed cabin that sets it apart from its competitors. Stepping inside, you immediately notice the generous size and ample space, ensuring a comfortable experience for all occupants. The cabin features a straightforward layout with ergonomic controls, providing ease of use and intuitive functionality.

Despite being the HTK+ version, the Seltos iMT retains the same appealing design and layout as its higher-spec counterparts. The dash remains neatly arranged, showcasing Kia's commitment to quality and attention to detail. The materials used throughout the interior are of high quality, delivering a premium look and feel. From fit and finish to the choice of materials, the Seltos iMT sets a benchmark for SUVs in its class.

While some equipment may be absent in this version, such as a head-up display, purifier, and wireless charging pad, the overall layout remains intact. The touchscreen display may seem slightly smaller, but it remains user-friendly and responsive, keeping you connected and entertained on the road. It's worth mentioning that the absence of certain features does not detract from the overall appeal and functionality of the cabin.

In terms of seating comfort, the Seltos iMT offers supportive fabric seats. While leatherette seats would have been a preferred option, the beige fabric seats contribute to the sense of space within the cabin. With ample legroom and headroom, occupants, including taller individuals, will find a comfortable seating position both in the front and rear seats.

The boot space in the Seltos iMT is impressive, matching that of the top-spec versions. Although the rear seats do not have split-folding functionality, the single backrest can be dropped flat to create additional space. With 433 liters of boot capacity, the Seltos iMT offers one of the best cargo areas in its segment. The wide opening and tall height allow for easy loading and can accommodate extra-large suitcases or multiple large suitcases with room to spare for additional bags.

Hence, the Kia Seltos iMT prioritizes comfort, convenience, and thoughtful features to enhance the driving experience. Despite being the HTK+ version, it doesn't compromise on quality or design. The spacious cabin, well-designed layout, and premium materials create a welcoming environment. While certain equipment may be absent, the Seltos iMT still delivers functionality and user-friendly features. With ample seating space, supportive seats, and impressive boot capacity, the Seltos iMT ensures that you can enjoy your journey with comfort and convenience in mind.


Simply put, the Kia Seltos iMT impresses on multiple fronts, showcasing its prowess as a game-changing vehicle in the compact SUV segment. With its Intelligent Manual Transmission system and powerful engine, it combines the best of both manual and automatic transmissions, offering a seamless and engaging driving experience. The responsive steering and manageable body roll contribute to confident handling, making it a joy to navigate through corners and city streets.

Beyond performance, the Seltos iMT offers a spacious and well-designed cabin, prioritizing comfort, convenience, and a high-quality driving environment. The thoughtfully laid-out dash, premium materials, and attention to detail create an inviting and refreshing atmosphere. Despite not being the top variant of the Seltos, the interior still meets the expectations of SUV enthusiasts, delivering on fit and finish, as well as overall aesthetics.

While some equipment may be absent in this variant, the Seltos iMT remains well-equipped with features that enhance the driving experience. The touchscreen display, although slightly smaller, remains user-friendly and responsive, keeping drivers connected and entertained. The generous legroom, headroom, and supportive seats ensure that both driver and passengers can enjoy a comfortable journey, even on longer trips.

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