It is the time of Internet Cars in India. First it was MG Hector and next to follow is Kia Seltos. The foray of these internet connected cars seems to be rapidly changing the face of our auto market. The hot segment in the country has been the compact SUV segment for the past few years. Now this new internet connected technology is what customers are all excited about. While it might seem impractical to many, let me remind you folks, this is the digital era and you ought to see some change in this sector too. So let us welcome internet cars and don’t be surprised when I say bikes too in the near future.
Now, as we all know the range of cars with internet connectivity launched in the last couple of days is surprising. Kia Motors, the korean subsidiary wing of Hyundai and the British brand Morris Garages Motors (MG Motors) owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) are two automakers that have now entered the Indian Auto Market. Both companies have invested huge amounts towards manufacture, marketing and after sales service for their range of cars in the country.
While MG Motors launched Hector a month ago, Kia Motors is gearing up for the launch of their debut model Seltos in India. Let us take a look at the major features that keep both these compact SUVs distinct from each other
In terms of design, both Kia Seltos and MG Hector share a similar butch and boxy silhouette that has been making waves in the segment now. However, what distinguishes them so vividly is the grille upfront. While Seltos has a signature tiger nose grille. Hector features a honeycomb grille much bigger than the other. Both Hector and Seltos come with an LED cluster of headlamps, DRLs and fog lamps at the front and LED tail lamps with LED fog lamps at the rear. Hector has sleek floating turn indicators to add to the style at both ends. Hector has chrome enhancements on the door handles, window line and side skirts while Seltos gets chrome only on the door handles. Rolling on the ground are dual toned alloy wheels for Hector and crystal cut sporty alloy wheels for Seltos. Both models feature sunroof, but Hector brags of panoramic view unlike Seltos. In terms of dimensions, Hector is bigger than Seltos and also has a larger boot space too. However, it has to be mentioned that the bigger size doesn’t complement well with its 17-inch alloys or vice versa.
Inside these models, the most important and much talked about feature is the internet connectivity. While Seltos boasts of 37 plus connected features on its UVO, Hector wows the audience with 50 plus through i-SMART technology. Both have a large 10 plus inch touch screen infotainment unit compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The screen is vertically installed on Hector while that of Seltos is horizontal and also gets an 8-inch heads-up display feature. Seltos also gets ventilated front seats, wireless charger and rear door sunscreens which apparently Hector missed out. Hector gets powered co-passenger seat at the front while Seltos gets only powered driver's seat. Back when launched, what made Hector stand out in the crowd apart from its internet connectivity was the voice assist feature with 100+ commands that could be customised. Seltos will be challenging the Hector with its AI based voice command feature upon launch, but to what extent is yet to know. While Hector has an Infinity audio system from Harman, Seltos will be equipped with a Bose premium audio system.
Both Hector and Seltos get all premium safety features on their top spec variants, while those mandatory features including ABS with EBD, ESP and traction control will come as standard across all variants. However, Hector has gone up one step ahead by providing disc brakes as standard, while the lower spec variants of Seltos do not get this feature and will come with drum brakes at the rear. Instead Kia scores with a new Blind View Monitor that alerts the driver of blind spots, through a camera and displaying on the display unit.
Kia Seltos will be available in three trims; two petrol and one diesel engines. A 1.4L turbo GDI petrol engine that makes 140bhp and 242Nm of torque will be offered in both 6-speed manual and 7-speed automatic gearbox. A 1.5L NA (Naturally Aspirated) petrol engine will produce 115bhp and 144Nm of torque while being mated to either a 6-speed manual transmission unit or an IVT automatic unit. The 1.5L VGT diesel engine of Seltos is powered to produce 113bhp and 250Nm of torque. This variant comes available in both 6-speed manual transmission and an optional 6-speed torque converter automatic unit.
MG Hector too is available in three variants including 1.5L petrol, 1.5L hybrid, and a 2L diesel engine option. The same 1.5L petrol engine is available in both standard and 43V mild hybrid options making 143bhp worth power and 250Nm of torque. The 2L diesel engine makes around 170bhp and 350Nm of torque. All the three variants come with 6-speed manual transmission units. However, the dual clutch automatic option is available only on the petrol variant of Hector.
Hector is yet to introduce BS-VI on their engines, while Seltos will be launched with BS-VI engines across all variants.
It is a matter of concern to all the customers out there about the after sales service networks in the country of these two models since both the brands are new to India. Apparently, these brands seem to have taken good care of this part. Kia Motors will be opening 265 centres across India in around 160 cities along with the launch of Seltos on August 22; even MG Motors has managed to open only 120 touch points across the country after its launch. Both companies have announced their plans to widen this network by 2020.
Kia Seltos is expected to be priced from Rs.11 lakh, while MG Hector was launched at an introductory starting price of Rs.12.18 lakh. Both these models had received tremendous response when bookings commenced at dealerships. However, we feel it is too early to say which model will fare better in the long run. It is indeed good to see more and more automakers investing in India and our audience here receiving them with both hands, in spite of the severe automobile sector crisis that has been ongoing in the country.