Global NCAP Awards India-Spec Kia Seltos 3 Stars For Crash Safety
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Global NCAP Awards India-Spec Kia Seltos 3 Stars For Crash Safety

The Kia Seltos has been one of the best-selling cars in the country for a while now. While we have always known how popular crossovers can be in our market, the Seltos has made its maker proud. In fact, October 2020 was a great month for this compact crossover – in terms of its sales, of course. However, while the Kia Seltos can be had with a plethora of convenience and comfort features, their existence isn’t as important as the unsung heroes that take care of you and your loved ones. Obviously, here I am talking about the car’s safety features and their respective standards and their effectiveness. So, let us get cracking.

KIA Seltos
Top-end GT variant of the Kia Seltos

Before we go ahead, there are a few things you should know about these crash tests. Global NCAP (GNCAP) only tests the entry-level version of a particular model, not the fully-loaded top trim. Vehicles used for crash testing are fitted with tons of monitoring equipment, including high-tech dummies placed both in the front and rear seats. The car is then slammed at an offset overlap of 40 percent into a deformable honeycomb barrier at a speed of 64 kmph. The barrier itself is specifically constructed for the test and places enough load on the vehicle’s key stress points. If all goes well, Global NCAP will award the safest cars a full 5-star rating for adult- and child occupant protection. These cars can also score a maximum of 17 points for adult occupant protection and 49 points for child occupant protection.

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Kia Seltos rear three quarter
The Kia Seltos is also sold in the US

Now that we have all that info out of the way let us look at how the Kia Seltos performed. The Seltos managed a 3-star rating for adult occupant protection, while child-occupant protection was a mere 2 stars out of 5. Moreover, GNCAP rated the bodyshell integrity of the India-spec Seltos ‘unstable’. In terms of its adult-occupant protection, the Seltos scored 8.03 points (out of 17), while child-occupant protection was rated just 15 points (out of 49). Do note that these crash tests take into account an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old child in the back seats.

Kia Seltos cabin
Top variants get ISOFIX child-seat anchors

Unfortunately, the lower variants of the Kia Seltos do not come with crucial ISOFIX anchorages for small children. According to GNCAP, the poor score of the Seltos (in terms of its child-occupant protection) is essentially down to the lack of optimum child-restraint mechanisms. So in case of an accident, the 3-year-old would sustain the excessive forward movement and make contact with the car’s interior. As for the 18-month-old child, GNCAP found that the protection for its head and chest was good. On the adult-occupant protection front, things were better for the front passenger than the driver. The inclusion of dual front airbags and seatbelts with pre-tensioners certainly helped matters, too.

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Kia Seltos Global NCAP result

However, the crash test revealed that the front occupants of the Kia Seltos would likely sustain injuries to their knees and heads. The latter is due to the airbags bottoming out, while the former is due to the possibility of impact with dangerous structures behind the dashboard. The data further revealed that the bodyshell isn’t capable of any further loadings, thus making it unstable. The same goes for the front footwell area as well, which was rated as unstable. The Seltos performed better in neck protection for both front occupants and the front passenger chest & tibia (shinbone) protection. Unfortunately, the driver-side of the Kia Seltos didn’t perform too well. The test results showed that the protection for the driver’s chest and tibia are weak to marginal. That is indeed quite worrying, especially if the impact happened at a similar speed as in GNCAP’s test.

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Kia Seltos seats
The bodyshell of the India-spec Seltos has been rated as unstable

What is even more worrying is the fact that, while a 3-star rating isn’t horrible, some things cannot be changed. For example, even if you were to go for the fully-loaded variant of the Seltos, it still won’t give you a safer bodyshell or footwell. At impact, those will likely be just as unstable as in the entry-level car. For reference, the Kia Seltos that is sold in the United States was awarded a 4-star safety rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). I cannot fathom why certain automakers think Indian car buyers don’t deserve as much protection as their international counterparts. Anyway, you should be glad that Global NCAP conducted these tests. As a buyer, you can now make a more informed decision.

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