The Kia Seltos (Hyundai Creta too) is one car that offers a wide range of engines and transmissions. I don’t think any other single model offers 3 engines + 4 types of transmissions in the Indian auto ecosystem.
Coming to which could be better between the manual and the automatic, it falls back completely on which engine you’re looking to buy.
Here’s what you could have in mind:
1. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THE 1.5L N/A PETROL
The 1.5L naturally aspirated petrol paired to a 6-speed manual transmission is a combination you can’t really complain about. For a non-turbo petrol engine, you get a decent range of torque throughout the RPM. The engine and gearbox won’t let you be searching for power anytime during most of your drives unless you’re looking at highway driving where you want the burst of torque for your overtakes.
The Automatic transmission with the 1.5L petrol is an IVT (CVT) option. While the CVT is very refined, it is best suited for a driver who has a very relaxed driving style and isn’t too hard on the throttle.
In essence, the 6-speed manual transmission is the better one if you’re looking to buy the 1.5L non-turbo petrol engine.
2. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THE 1.4L TURBO PETROL
The 1.4L Turbo petrol too comes with a 6-speed manual. But for the automatic, it gets a 7-speed DCT unit. The engine is great. You get a splurge of torque as you hit the accelerator pedal and you can speed climbing very quickly.
However, the transmission choice depends completely on your taste. While there is a lot of excitement about the 7-speed DCT unit, an enthusiast might not exactly connect with the gear ratios. It is quick in shifting – yes, but it might also be a tad bit superficial.
So, the choice basically boils down to your levels of enthusiasm. If you don’t really like the way the 1.5L petrol with CVT performs, you really don’t have much of a choice but to take the 1.4L Turbo with 7-speed DCT. If you’re a driving enthusiast and don’t really mind the manual, the 6-speed manual could complement your driving style well.
3. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THE 1.5L TURBO DIESEL
The 1.5L turbo-diesel is robust and one could even argue that it is more confidence-inspiring than the new 1.4L turbo petrol engines.
This diesel engine comes with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter AT. This is where the driving bit takes a neutral stance. The 6-speed AT is a very fuss-free unit. It is predictable and therefore makes it feel a lot more reliable. It is not exactly marketed like a gadget, unlike the 7-speed DCT. The torque converter tech is time tested and has proven to be a winner through the years. The 6-speed MT would also work great – if you don’t want to spend the extra bucks for the 6-speed AT. The clutch is light and easy to operate, the gear throws are short and it can keep you quite comfortable.
It all boils down to your convenience, driving experience and budget.