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Kia Carens vs Seltos: Similar Price, Different Characters!


Cross shopping has become a common thing, and in our latest familial feud, we pit the Seltos and Carens in our detailed performance and ride and handling test. Which one wins, and which one should you pick?

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With similar pricing and underpinnings, the Kia Carens and Seltos are two different cars with dissimilar characters. The Carens is like the Apple iPhone 13 512GB; a car with all the essential features and space for the entire family. On the other hand, the Seltos’ ideology is like the Apple iPhone 13 Pro 128GB – it’s slightly more expensive and lacks the space of the Carens, but tempts you with a lot more premium features. 

Which car is more fun to drive? And which one should you pick? To find that out, we compare them on four aspects:

  • Acceleration 

  • Braking

  • Cornering 

  • Ride And Handling

To keep things fair and square, the cars in this test come with the 140PS 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine, paired with the 7-speed DCT. 

Which One Is Quicker?

 

Carens

Seltos

0-100kmph

9.61 seconds

9.51 seconds

20-80kmph (Kickdown)

6.67 seconds

5.47 seconds 

 
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Lights out and away we go, and both models start slow as the DCT doesn’t allow you to launch hard. A bit of wheel to wheel racing action happens as they put the power down, but after a while, the Seltos manage to just inch ahead, beating the Carens by just a tenth of a second. 

In the 20-80kmph run, the Seltos beats the Carens by 1.2 seconds during roll-on acceleration. That’s because the Carens’ powertrain has a more laid back nature, while the Seltos is a bit more brisk and energetic.  

So, round one goes to the Seltos. 

Which Stops Sooner?

 

Carens

Seltos

80-0kmph

24.95 metres

25.51 metres

100-0kmph

40.02 metres

40.93 metres

 
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The tables were overturned as the Carens, despite being a larger vehicle, came to a stop wee bit earlier than the Seltos. Just a minute difference, but it still matters. 

Both vehicles get disc brakes on all corners, but the Seltos’ pedal has better feedback. The Carens’ pedal, on the other hand, feels a bit mushy.

But, despite that, the Carens bettered the Seltos, and won this round. It’s a tie between both cars until now, so let’s see how they fare in the next one.

Cornering Test

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The Carens is a newbie to this test, and we decided to take things easy first at 60kmph. Even though body roll is present due to the softer suspension setup, the people mover passes the first run in a safe and predictable manner. So, we decided to spice things up and lined up for the second run at 65kmph. 

Also Read: Tata Punch vs Altroz: Which Tata Is More Dynamically Polished?

Lights out, and away we go. At 65kmph, the Carens runs a little bit wide as understeer kicks in and during the process, clips one cone.  Body roll is more than before and the slightly heavier rear-end means the tail lost a bit of composure. So, you need to counter steer to bring it back in line. 

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In contrast, the stiffer suspension setup in the Seltos means it is composed at both the 60kmph and 65kmph runs. Considering its composure, we wanted to step up the game and take one final run at 70kmph. 

The Seltos’ final run is pushing its limits as the SUV runs wide and electronic stability control pitches in to keep things in check. It clips one cone during the process, but the overall vehicle’s behaviour is slightly different than its badge-shared sibling, the Creta. While the Creta keeps on running wide, the Seltos turns a little tighter and has a more reassuring feel behind the wheel. 

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70kmph in the Carens? Ummm… We decided to pass this one as it was already beyond its limit in the 65kmph run.  

So, the Seltos takes the crown in the handling test, and regains the lead. 

The Infamous Mug Test

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Kamesh and Nabeel were pouring water in a jug, and initially I assumed they were preparing some Tang to beat the heat. But what laid ahead completely caught me out as I was the bakra for the ride handling test. The drill is very simple. I’d be sitting behind Alan, who will be driving the cars on a broken road with rocks and ruts. The car which spills the least amount of water on me wins this test. Let’s start with the Carens.   

Also Read: Skoda Slavia 1.5-Litre First Drive: RS Incognito?

The Carens’ softer suspension and chunkier profile tyres means it has the more pliant ride. The cabin remains unfazed over bad patches and the Carens gobbles all the rocks and ruts on this patch for lunch. And the best part is, the suspension does its job without any noise.  At the end of the test, we lost around 150ml of water from the jug.  

Sadly, the tides aren’t in favour of the Seltos (and me) as the stiffer suspension and larger 17-inch alloy wheels results in body movement over the same patch we drove the Carens. By this time, my shirt and pants were completely drenched. Urghhh! You will also have to tackle these types of roads at slower speeds as the suspension thud through the cabin. Clearly, not a pleasant experience as 200ml of water spilled over me.  

So in terms of ride quality, the Carens wins this round and manages to make it a tie. 

Ride And Handling On Tarmac  

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While the above section demonstrated the ride quality via an experiment, it’s unlikely that most of the cars will see these types of roads. So, we headed on to the road and once again, the Carens impressed us with its phenomenal ride quality. You don’t need to slow down for minor imperfections, speed rumbles, expansion joints and even small potholes as the softer suspension irons them out completely. That said, large potholes do catch it out a bit. 

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The same can’t be said in the Seltos as the stiffer suspension means speed breakers and potholes need to be taken at slower speeds. Failing to do so results in a jolt and loud thud to the cabin. Also, you do feel a bit more of the road imperfections and expansion joints do get transferred into the cabin. That said, the ride becomes more flat as you increase the pace.  

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That’s when the Seltos comes into an element on its own as the stiffer suspension results in better handling. Body control is tighter and you can take corners at speeds more than usual. And when you exit out of the corner,  you can put your foot down as the Seltos stays composed while doing three digit speeds on straight roads.  

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The Carens’ straight line stability is also impressive and handling is safe and predictable. But, the softer suspension and taller height results in more body roll, and you do have to take corners slower than the Seltos. That said, for the majority of the people who drive laidback, the Carens handling would come across as just fine.  

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And considering that Kia has got the Carens’ ride to be spot on, without much compromise on handling, the Carens gets another point in this test. 

Prices Compared

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Since we have the turbo-petrol trims of both the Carens and Seltos, we’ll be comparing the prices of the said powertrain only. 

Carens 1.4-litre turbo-petrol

Seltos 1.4-litre turbo-petrol

Premium MT - Rs 10.99 lakh

 

Prestige MT - Rs 11.99 lakh

 

Prestige Plus MT - Rs 13.49 lakh

 

Prestige Plus DCT - Rs 14.59 lakh

 

Luxury - Rs 14.99 lakh

 
 

GTX (O) MT - Rs 15.55 lakh (Rs 56,000 over Carens Luxury)

Luxury Plus - Rs 16.19 lakh

 
 

GTX+ MT - Rs 16.85 lakh (Rs 66,000 over Carens Luxury Plus)

Luxury Plus DCT - Rs 16.99 lakh

 
 

GTX+ DCT - Rs 17.65 lakh (Rs 66,000 over Carens Luxury Plus DCT)

 

X-Line DCT - Rs 17.89 lakh

As you can see, the Seltos commands a premium of up to Rs 66,000 over the equivalent Carens’ trim. And while the SUV is undeniably smaller, you get more premium features in the Setlos like a powered driver’s seat, a 360-degree camera, a blind-spot monitor, and a head-up display. 

Which One Should You Pick? 

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It’s clear that both cars have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and appeal to a different audience so we don't have a clear winner here.  

The Carens might not have all the features the Seltos offers or its handling prowess but it more than makes up for it by being offering a relaxed drive and practical space for your family. Its pricing is also on point and it comes across as a great value package for the family man.

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But if you’re someone who’d rather be behind the wheel most of the time, the Seltos is the car you should be looking at. Its stiffer suspension might cost ride quality, but the Seltos feels more reassuring and handles better through a twisty set of roads. Also, the smaller SUV gets more premium features onboard, which easily make up for the extra dough you pay to own one.

Kia Carens Video Review

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Kia Carens

Kia Carens

Rs. 8.99 Lakh Onwards
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