How I ended up buying a used Kia Seltos iMT with a 10-15L budget

I’m very happy to finally share this story, and overall very satisfied with my purchase and the car itself.

BHPian AnkitHJain7 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello everyone, I’m so excited to finally share the story of how I bought a preowned Kia Seltos after months of searching and years of contemplation. It’s a long story, so buckle up and grab some popcorn & a drink!

Let me start with an introduction, my name is Ankit and I’ve been reading through the Team BHP forum for years. It is part of my daily routine! I read through all the forums sent on the daily newsletter, in fact I eagerly await receiving the email everyday. If I’m busy I make sure to save the email and go back and read through them when I have time! I’ve been wanting to write up my car buying experience for months, but life has been very hectic.

The fire finally got lit when I one day saw the thread of “Should I Buy A Used Kia Seltos”. For a second thought that someone else had made a writeup of exactly what I was thinking of doing for months! Turns out that thread was moreso a general question than a buyer’s experience. However, that finally got the fire lit under me to start writing down my experience with how I chose and finally bought a used Kia Seltos.

My history is complicated, but the easiest way to describe it is that I have one foot in the US and one foot in India. I have two lives in both countries that requires not only mine, but my family’s presence in both countries. I was born in Chennai and shortly after my birth moved to the east coast of the US. I currently live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and also spend a considerable amount of time in Chennai. My entire extended family and a large friends circle is all within Chennai as well.

Personal details out of the way, wanted to share the list of cars my family has owned over the years so you can get an idea for what we like and have leaned towards over the years:

Currently Owned:

United States-

2013 Honda Accord EX-L – We bought this in 2019 for my brother. It’s the high mileage hero of our family with almost 130K on the odo with multiple long road trips under it’s belt.

2017 Mercedes E300 – I bought in Jan 2021 for mostly me but to be used by the rest of the family when they are in DFW. This was the replacement to our C250, and the E Class has always been my dream car. So this is my favorite car in our stable and I miss it every time I’m away even for just a few days.


2013 Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire ZDi – We bought this car brand new mainly at that time for my dad to cover his 72 km daily commute when he was working in Chennai. The car has been the family work horse and is coming up on its 10th birthday very soon. Everyone knows this car in my family/friends circle. It’s basically a part of my identity at this point.

Previously Owned:

United States-

1998 Toyota Camry LE V6 – Our families first car, bought shortly after we moved to the US.

That’s me & my dad with the car! It’s hard to believe this picture is 24 years old now.

2000 Toyota Sienna XLE – bought in 2004 for my mom to ferry me and my brother back and forth from our various extracurricular activities & also for family drives.

Photo was taken at the temple just after we bought the car and had the Pooja done!

2013 Merecedes C250 Sport – bought in 2016 by my dad when we established our base once again in DFW. The car was unfortunately totaled in July of 2020.


2007 Honda Civic 1.8V AT – Bought in 2012 when we relocated to Chennai for dad’s work and was our first car in India. It was a great car but the mileage was pretty low for my dads commute and him being the only driver at that time we decided to let go of the Civic in early 2014 after we had our Dzire for a while.

Sadly this seems to be the only photo I have of the Civic. Had this car during the phase of my life that I didn’t really take too many photos.

Of this list I would have loved to have held onto the Camry and C250. The Camry was my dad’s first big purchase in his life and I feel very attached to that car. He moved to the US knowing no one, but with the passion and dream to build a better life for his family. This was a big milestone for my entire family. When we moved to India for a few years in the early 2010’s my dad couldn’t bring himself to sell the car so he gave it to a friend without accepting any payment. After about 7 years he asked my dad if he could sell the car as he no longer had space in his garage, and didn’t want to see it rot outside in the brutal Chicago winters.
The C250 was unfortunately totalled by my brother when he collided with a semi when exiting a highway off ramp on a long drive to Minnesota in the summer of 2020. He walked away without a single scratch or injury, but the car was a 100% totaled.

This was our first luxury car in the family and I had deep attachment to the car and memories of it. I still remember how I spent hours on a FaceTime call with my dad helping him finalize the deal and selection of this car in January of 2016. I never wanted to let go of it. It drove so well and it was in my favorite color, Lunar Blue Metallic. A blue so dark it almost looks black! I have my dream E-Class now and love it, but every time I see a W204 on the road, I am immediately flooded with fond memories of our car and the sadness that I’ll never be able to drive it again.

So coming back to the present day…

Given we spend so much time outside of the country and balance lives in two countries, even though a second car or an upgrade was much needed in India we never pulled the trigger. Came very close in 2016 when we booked a Ciaz ZXi+ RS in Sangria Red to replace the Dzire. However due to our financial situation changing quickly and money being tied up in other investments, we decided to cancel the booking. Ever since then we have dragged our feet on buying a car in India because we couldn’t justify a new car just sitting for months on end while we were away.

In November of 2021, things changed when I got engaged. My fiance (now wife) also lived in Chennai. Given the recent development it was very clear that not only will I be spending a lot more time in Chennai until my wedding, we’d also DEFINITELY need another car. So the hunt for a new car was on again, but this time we were serious.

There were a lot of requirements, but here were the main ones –

Budget Of 15L-20L (+/- 2L): Our budget wasn’t strictly set at any specific number, however both me and my dad were in sync with wanting something close to 15 lakhs. Mostly because this car would be our second in India, and it would spend months unused every year. Spending too much wasn’t something either one of us was too keen on given our constant travel.

SUV: I’ve forever been a fan of sedans, and continue to be. However my parents are the opposite. They aren’t very old (early 50’s) however they are both very insistent on wanting something that has comfortable ingress and egress. They were tired of having to “fall down” into the low seats of sedans. I tried a lot, but it was clear this time that an SUV was non-negotiable. My mother went as far as proclaiming that she would never sit in the new vehicle at all if it was too low slung like my Mercedes.

Automatic: The traffic of Chennai has gotten progressively worse in the last few years and with constant construction and metro work going on, traffic only seems to be getting worse. I’m tired of driving manual in bumper to bumper traffic. As much as I love 3 pedals, nothing makes you hate it more than sitting in traffic for 2+ hours a day in city traffic. This was a non-negotiable. No AMT’s or clutch less automatics.

Technology: I love tech, and wanted the car to have keyless entry & push button start, a nice large infotainment system that had CarPlay & Android Auto, and a good backup camera. My bucket list besides these features was very long, however I decided that all of those were “nice to have” not “must haves”.

Given my requirements there was an ocean of options but I started ruling out things quickly. I was open to new or used, but I couldn’t do a long waiting period. My search only seriously started in July 2022 and my wedding was in January 2023. I needed the car within 3 months (if possible even earlier) as the wedding work would start up from October onwards and also I was just going out a lot more to spend time with my fiance and was tired of spending so much time in traffic with a manual.

The Search

We started hunting online and looking at new and used cars. There were a lot of ideas that we entertained over the span of 7 months. This included numerous test drives as well. Let me break it all down-

Used Luxury Car: While initially the idea was very appealing and made a lot of sense given the running was low and we needed it mostly for city use. However the options seem to be bleak at 15 Lakhs. Mostly 7-10 year old entry level sedans (C200, A4, 320d’s) which were all highly run and looked rough around the edges.

Having bought used luxury cars in the US I do have experience with them and also know how important it is for them to have a good service history, but more important to have a good mechanic outside of the dealership to make sure we don’t get fleeced. Having no such connections in Chennai and also not having the time to hunt down someone given the busy schedule I had in the upcoming months, I dropped the idea. Another big factor was that the roads just don’t allow for these luxury cars to be properly enjoyed when behind the wheel. Given I already have a W213 E Class that I thoroughly enjoy in Dallas, I didn’t feel like I needed the same experience in Chennai as well. Never ended up test driving any such cars in the end.

Nexon EV: My dad is very big on the proponent of paying a higher upfront cost if it means lower long term costs. (He’s a very smart man) He was very keen on switching to an EV and given our lifestyle and requirements, an EV would fit in pretty well. He was a big fan of the Nexon EV. He kept begging me to go test drive the car for weeks.
However, I was not okay with going for an EV at this point in our lives. Yet, in the sake of being fair and open minded during the search, I went to take a test drive of the Nexon EV.
Went to the newly built Gurudev Tata in Chennai which was an okay experience. Their TD car was brand new with under 70km on the ODO, and I was the first person to take a test drive of the car. However, sadly it had just 15% charge and I wasn’t able to give it a good drive. Sport Mode was inaccessible because of the low state of charge. The car in all was comfortable, I liked the back seat in particular. Definitely the highlight of the Nexon for me.

Pictures of the car I test drove (Note the odometer and the charge percentage)

Regardless of some positives, we ended up scrapping the idea for a few reasons.

I felt uncomfortable buying an EV knowing it would be sitting for months unused. Leaving it plugged in for months on end with no one to use the vehicle or take care of the battery worried me. Especially given how expensive repairs on the battery pack can be.

I also disliked the interiors of the Nexon. The ICE and camera quality were extremely poor. Overall that interior doesn’t fit a car that sells in the neighborhood of 20L OTR in Chennai.

After my test drive, when I sat inside my 2013 Dzire I honestly felt as if the materials and design of that car was far superior despite being a 10 year old design.
The final nail in the coffin for me though was reading about all the disastrous ASS stories from Tata owners. Given how this was a fairly new technology and drivetrain, I knew it would only spell out a nightmare for me.

Finally got my dad to agree to passing on the Nexon, when I forced him to test drive the car carefully. After the TD he himself admitted the interior quality is not up to par for the cost. He did love the comfort and smooth ride of the EV, which I couldn’t deny either. I consoled him by telling him our next car will definitely be an EV.

Tata Tigor EV: While at Gurudev Motors there was also a brand new Tigor EV parked next to the Nexon. The Tigor was not an option at all, however I ended up taking a test drive at the behest of the SA at Gurudev. He felt bad the Nexon had low charge and I couldn’t get a proper feel for the power of the EV drivetrain.

So we went on another short spin and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with the torque in the tiny Tigor. I was sold on the drivetrain. However, I knew that a Tigor EV/similar EV would be best to replace my Dzire at some point down the road when EV’s have matured.

Tata Harrier: Didn’t test drive but did consider it shortly. Sat inside of it while inside the showroom and it just didn’t feel right to me. The materials and the look just did not feel right for the money being asked. Also didn’t bother looking further into it because of Tata’s ASS reputation and nightmare stories. Just didn’t want to entertain the possibility of those situations in the slightest.

Toyota Innova Crysta: My dad is a big fan of the Innova. He has been wanting to own one for years. He has had a dream of packing the whole family into the car and going for cross country drives. While the idea is very cool, the issue is that my mother hates long drives. So anything more than 2-3 hours on the road she prefers to travel by train or flight. So this dream of taking an Innova all across the country just isn’t realistic.
Aside from that, I have also been staunchly against this idea because we self drive. I’d also be the one mostly driving this second car, so for me the drivability and parkability of this vehicle was very important given our dominantly city usage.

Despite my strong opinion on this my dad was hunting for used Innova’s constantly. He kept trying to convince me to compromise on getting an automatic which I would not budge on one bit. Finally he gave up on that battle, and then when he started focusing his search on used AT Crysta’s and one thing became clear.


The used Innova market made both of our heads spin. 2-3 year old Innova Crysta Automatics with 1L kms+ on the odo were listed for 20-25L. I was appalled at the idea of paying 20+ lakhs for a car that lacks technology, is heavily run, and is absolutely not suited to our usage and lifestyle.
The pricing of the used Innova market was what finally convinced my dad to give up on the Innova Crysta dream for now. Despite having that dream and enthusiasm, he also did realize how absurd it was to pay that kind of money for something we wouldn’t get value out of.

Here are a few screenshots of listings similar to the ones I saw during our search. It’s just absolutely insane.

Maruti Suzuki XL6: At the beginning of our search my dad was heavily leaning towards a 6-8 seater vehicle so that we could have plenty of space for accommodating our relatives when we go for outings/events. He had spent some time traveling in a relatives XL6 and became a big fan of it.

I, on the other hand, as mentioned earlier was not very keen on too large of a vehicle. I definitely wanted an upgrade from the Dzire. However, I didn’t want a 6-8 seater vehicle because I didn’t want to become the taxi driver of our family running people around just because “we have space”.

Again in order to be fair and open minded I still went and gave the XL6 a test drive. This was just days before the updated 6 Speed AT was released. Went to Cresco NEXA and they didn’t have an AT test drive available. (Still waiting on that phone call to schedule a follow up TD with an AT lol) It was quite annoying, but I decided to test drive the MT anyways. I wanted to get an idea of what the interior and driving dynamics felt like.

First thing I noticed was that it didn’t feel as spacious inside as the Carens did. I was not a fan of the captains seats, because I thought that if I’m getting a car of this size I want it to be a 7 seater not a 6 seater. The most disappointing element though was that the back seat simply wasn’t as spacious as the Carens. It felt too high-set and the leg room was definitely not as good.

Just on a short drive I learned that I disliked the XL6’s NVH a lot. It reminds me of my Dzire in the worst possible way. The road noise just comes through so much louder than any of the other cars I’d test driven up till this point. For a car that costs around 17L OTR, it was just truly unforgivable. I also wasn’t a big fan of the design of the XL6.

Drove less than 2kms and I turned back to the showroom because I already had ruled out this car from contention.

Hyundai Creta: New Creta was immediately ruled out because I genuinely think it’s the ugliest car to be sold new on the market right now. I hate everything about its design. Which is a shame because I absolutely LOVED and was mesmerized by the previous generation. Hunted for used examples of the previous gen, but found most of the AT’s to be too old, highly run, abused, and overpriced. Was keeping an eye out on the market for a good deal. Would have jumped on one if it had fit the bill.

Hyundai Tucson: Ohh how beautiful depreciation can be. 3 year old Tucsons were seemingly the only used cars in my search that showed any depreciation whatsoever. I was so excited about the idea of having a Tucson because it was spacious inside, a bit on the rare side for Indian roads, and was well within my budget. Hyundai also offered a good feature list and there were some nice used examples around.
While I did find this idea to be pretty good my dad for some reason didn’t. He didn’t take much interest in it, and honestly I didn’t push him too much on it either. I realized that the Tucson is undoubtedly going to be more expensive to maintain down the road and given I was trying to buy something that was reasonably sized, this pick would have definitely been hypocritical of me.

Kia Carens: This was a new launch around the time I was looking and I was 50/50 on it. Loved the interior and the space on offer. However, I was still hoping for a smaller car. Plus the design just felt… I honestly don’t know. Some days I look at it and hate it, some days I look at it and think it looks okay. I just have never been able to figure out if I like the way the Carens looks or not yet.

Despite my views on the exterior design, I gave the diesel AT a test drive. While the diesel powertrain felt adequate it definitely felt lacking in some manner. The biggest issue however ended up being the 8-10 months waiting period. Given this was a new model there were no used options in the market at all.

On the inside I really liked the Carens. It was spacious, well laid out, and the quality was excellent. I found the 3rd row to be one of the more comfortable ones in this segment. I was quite surprised with how spacious it was and how there was plenty of room for my legs even with the middle row up.

I loved the ambient lighting, and also the useful touches like the folding table for the back seat.

Took my dad to sit inside it, but he didn’t seem to be sold on it. By this point in our search I think he had given up on buying a 6-8 seater vehicle. He seemed to be leaning towards 5 seaters now, and I wasn’t going to start complaining. So we silently let go of the Carens. I do think that if he had pushed more for a 6-8 seater vehicle I would have stuck to the Carens as my choice.

Kia Seltos: This was an SUV I had immediately loved the look of from launch. I really am not a fan of SUV’s at all. However, this one felt right to me. The proportions are spot on, and everything about the design appealed to me. So when our search started and it was clear we were only looking at SUV’s, I think some part of my brain had already decided on the Seltos. I was a fan of the technology, the looks, and one sitting inside of it made me a fan of the quality of the materials and design as well. The switchgear and buttons felt great, the ICE screen was massive and looked excellent, and it was loaded with the features I needed.
This was in fact the only car I test drove more than once, for a grand total of 3 times. I drove a Diesel HTX AT, a Petrol HTX MT, and a Petrol GTX DCT. I was very satisfied with this car, and really it felt like the perfect fit for my needs and family. I loved the GTX especially the 1.4 T GDI engine. I loved the features set on offer too. The cameras, the HUD, the ventilated seats… It was a lot of the items on my bucket list.
However not everything was perfect and there were some glaring issues with the Seltos:

3 Star GNCAP Rating – This one hurt the hardest because I do care a lot about safety. It was so difficult for me because my only other option with safety in mind was the Nexon EV, and I couldn’t go for an EV at this point in my life. None of the other options that were viable in the market with a 5-Star rating was fitting into my search though.

Extremely Confusing Model Lineup – On one hand I commend Hyundai/Kia for the great job on the model diversity they have across their portfolio. However as a shopper it’s also a detriment to have too many options. Over the course of my search I kept realizing there’s more and more trims and more engine options. (A massive surprise I’ll tell you about later in the story)

The Price – 23L OTR for the GTX+ 7DCT – It was a very hard pill to swallow. Given the fact that we were willing to spend around 15, 23 was a big jump. Not out of the realm… However I just didn’t feel comfortable putting down that kind of money.

The Wait Time – Same issue as the Carens. It was 7-9 months away if booked. No discounts, no options of earlier delivery.

So of all these issues, the biggest one was of course the element of safety. I had come to a realization that I have to compromise somewhere, and that compromise could be made on the 3-Star rating instead of 5. I thought about it and my running of this car is going to be 95% city and 5% highway. I don’t do long road trips in India, and this car won’t really be ever exposed to too many high speed runs. So keeping that in mind, while it was not an easy decision. I realized this was a compromise I had to make. Either a car I wasn’t happy with that had a 5-Star rating, or a car I was happy with which had 3-Star rating.

I was definitely feeling a bit frustrated at this point. Just to see if wait times could be shorter else where or if anyone had any cars in stock I could buy. I put out calls to SVM, KUN, Capital, & VST Kia to see what was possible. The responses weren’t promising, however the call to VST Kia proved fruitful. They had one incoming GTX+ 7DCT that was available because the buyer backed out last minute. They said it was inbound and would be arriving within the week. Only caveat… It was an Intense Red car. I was not a fan of the red finish that’s available on the Seltos. I talked to my dad about this and his response was surprising. He told me that he liked the Seltos (he test drove the GTX with me), and that even though it isn’t what we originally planned on budget wise… If you’re okay with it, go for it!

How I wish the story ended here, cause I’d have a Seltos GTX+ with all the cool gizmos and gadgets I wanted! However the story is far from over…

The Saga Continues…

I was quite surprised that my dad suggested buying a brand new Seltos! This was the first time he had shown positive interest towards finalizing any sort of deal on a car since we started. The irony was that now that he was okay with this, I was the one that was now unsure. I just didn’t feel comfortable spending 23L on a car. Especially given our low usage, long periods of idle sitting, and the large upcoming expenses related to the wedding. The most difficult thing about the proposition ended up being that despite spending 23 lakhs, I still wouldn’t have exactly what I wanted… If the car would have been the dual tone white/black I would have jumped on it in a heartbeat. Honestly, I believe that if they had any other color incoming besides the Intense Red, I would have a GTX+ parked outside my house right now. So with that train of thought, and my pragmatic brain winning the battle: With a heavy heart I told my dad that I don’t want to go forward with this car. He was surprised but after I explained my train of thought he didn’t push the matter further.

At this point however I was relieved though! That’s because one thing became clear. We were buying a Seltos! Be it new or used, it was going to be a Seltos. It helped clear up a lot of confusion and doubt in my head. Also made the search a lot more focused and easier, because up until this point it was wild. I was looking at anything and everything. This made the process feel more overwhelming.

A benefit of choosing the Seltos was that since it had been on the market for 3 years already, there was a decent selection of used options available. They were for the most part all run between 20-50K kms. Which I was okay with, because I know a higher run car can be just fine as long as the car was maintained well and had the service records to go along with it. We started the search online quickly at that point. I also let some contacts that I knew had some car connections know that if you know of anyone selling a used Seltos, let us know.

It took a bit of time, but I finally got a call from my father in law of all people. He had previously told me about his office landlord that also sells used cars. He had mentioned that his MO is to sell 2-4 year old cars that are run minimally. I liked the sound of that and on further discussions I learned he was a distant relative as well. What further aspired confidence was that my father in law himself bought a used Innova from him just a few months ago and it was a great car.

My father in law said that the seller had just got in a 2020 Seltos Automatic and asked if I wanted to look at it. I said I was definitely interested, and to let me know when and where I could see the car. I was informed that it would take a few days for the car to come to his office, because that’s where the seller stores all his vehicles anyways. He told me he’d call once it had arrived.

After a couple of days I got a call from my father in law and he told me the car is at his office and that I was welcome to come and look at it whenever I wanted. The excitement built up and I pretty much quickly wrapped up everything I had going on and went to see the car. In the rush of things it worked out so that I had to take my fiancé along with me to see the car as well, and she was just as excited too.

I got there and immediately noticed a big “IVT” badge on the right side and was immediately annoyed. I thought that despite my insistence of only wanting to see automatics, the dealer was trying to sell me on a clutchless manual. You’d be surprised how many listings online also state automatic and it turns out to be a clutchless manual.

This is where I would like to take a moment and repeat that while it’s great that Kia & Hyundai have so many options, it’s a total nightmare for potential buyers to navigate them after a certain point. Even despite having been interested in the Seltos and having done some research on it, I didn’t realize Kia & Hyundai call their clucthless manuals “IMT” and not “IVT”. I quickly learned that besides a traditional TC Diesel & a DCT Petrol, Kia also offers a CVT auto in the non turbocharged 1.5 petrol.

I was elated when I realized that this car wasn’t an IMT, and I quickly jumped in. The car was a 2020 Seltos HTX IVT with 23K on the odo. The seller was asking 15L for the car, and honestly that was an aggressive price. The other cars I saw on the market were all around 0.5-1.5L more expensive. So that was also a very enticing element to this car. Another thing was that the car number is 6651. A multiple of 9. My dad always prefers to have his vehicle numbers be a multiple of 9 and add up to 9. That’s why our Activa has the number 1017 and my Dzire has the number 8199. So having this 9 touch to the car made it feel even more perfect.

As we all know though used cars aren’t perfect, and this car wasn’t perfect either. It had the usual small signs of wear and usage. However I knew what I was buying. I wasn’t expecting a brand new pristine car, and I’m wasn’t paying for one either. So the minor signs of wear didn’t bother me, however I carefully documented it all and took photos of everything. The seller told me that they were going to detail the car and recondition it. They just got it in and haven’t had the time yet.

Decided to go for a test drive with my fiancé and father in law and gave the car a quick drive around the narrow streets of Kodambakkam. I wasn’t able to open it up much and honestly with both my FIL & Fiancé being there I wasn’t able to thoroughly inspect the car up to my liking. It was all positive up until this point though. The car drove exceptionally smooth, made no odd sounds, and everything looked in order. Here are some pictures I took when I went to look at the car initially:

Continue reading BHPian AnkitHJain7’s review of his Kia Seltos iMT for more insights and information.

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