Kia has issued a recall for the Seltos SUV and the Soul crossover in the US market against a potential fire risk. As per a document filed by Kia with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week, the 2020-2021 model year of both vehicles may feature improperly heat-treated piston rings. Kia has recalled 147,249 unit of the Seltos and Soul combined. Specifically speaking, models fitted with the 2.0-liter Nu MPI four-cylinder engine have been affected by this issue, which could potentially cause a fire or cause the engine to stall while driving.
While manufacturing of the vehicles, the supplier didn't apply the correct heat treatment, which created harder piston oil rings in the affected cars. This in turn may cause the ring to scuff the cylinder bore and increase oil consumption. This could eventually lead to a seized connecting rod bearing. As for the potential fire risk, oil may leak onto surrounding exhaust components and catch fire. Owners of affected vehicles may see the oil pressure warning light illuminate in such a scenario. Other signs of the problem include abnormal noises from the engine and increased oil consumption.
So far, the manufacturer hasn't recorded any fire or injuries related to the problem. They are estimating that just 1% of all the recalled vehicles may actually be affected by the issue. During inspection, the engine will have to be completely dissembled to identify the issue. If detected with the problem, the engine will have to be completely replaced. Kia will cover all work and parts at no charge to the customer, but this will be a big job. The company also says it is fitting the vehicles with piston ring noise sensing system software. Owners of the potentially affected vehicles will be notified by Kia in early June.
Back here in India, Kia is all set to roll out a mid-life update on the Seltos on April 27, 2021. Some of the updates that are likely to feature in the new Seltos include a new logo, more features and possibly even a special Gravity Edition variant as a new top-spec model. The most distinct update on the Seltos Gravity Edition is to the SUV's exterior styling. It comes with an unique chrome-studded design for the signature 'Tiger Nose' grille. It also gets a new design for the 18-inch alloy wheels. On the inside, it is expected to sport an unique grey-black theme for the dashboard and upholstery.
Kia will also be introducing the intelligent clutchless manual transmission - iMT - on the Seltos for the first time, making it the fourth product from Hyundai Motor Group to be offered with the iMT option after the Sonet, Venue and i20. It will likely be offered with both the 1.5L NA petrol and 1.4L turbo-petrol engine options. The Kia Seltos currently retails between INR 9.89 lakh and INR 17.65 lakh (ex-showroom) in India. Prices are likely to be increased marginally with the addition of new features. The new Gravity Edition will likely be positioned even higher.