2021 Kia Seltos review: Entry-level goodness

Excellent things arrive in compact deals.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Kia’s been on kind of a tear revamping its crossover and SUV lineup. But when the effects are as very good as the boxy-amazing Soul or definitely fantastic Telluride, you is not going to listen to me — or prospective buyers — complaining. The following little bit of Kia utility goodness is the subcompact 2021 Seltos, and it can be nonetheless another house run.


  • Exclusive appears.
  • Fantastic overall benefit.
  • Lots of standard and readily available tech.

Will not Like

  • Strike-or-miss efficiency.
  • Sluggish preliminary acceleration, even with turbo energy.

I enjoy the way the Seltos appears, specifically in this Starbright Yellow color capped with a Cherry Black roof. There are a great deal of fantastic design and style information here, like the triple-stacked foglights, textured chrome trim close to the grille, intriguing daytime functioning lights and spiky 18-inch wheels. There are a several regrettable choices, on the other hand: The skid plates are for clearly show only, and even though I’m fantastic with significant exhaust tips that conceal a lesser pipe, these dual shops are absolutely fake. The actual exhaust is at minimum 8 inches beneath.

This rugged-hunting CUV slots concerning the Soul and Sportage and is provided with a pair of engines. LX, S and EX products get a 2.-liter normally aspirated I4, but the S Turbo and SX Turbo are graced with — you guessed it — a 1.6-liter turbo I4. Entrance-wheel generate arrives standard on the non-turbo S, even though all-wheel generate is optional. Every single other Seltos can only be experienced with AWD.

Optional turbo energy

The Seltos does a fantastic occupation on the road. My tester has the turbo engine, with 175 horsepower and 195 pound-ft of torque. Despite that past quantity, the Seltos is a minor sluggish off the line, specifically in its default generate method. In this article, the engine and transmission are tuned for efficiency, with swift upshifts and a a little bit far more muted throttle. Sport method can help things substantially, and it even tightens up the steering. I like that the Seltos’ turbo engine pairs with a 7-velocity, dual-clutch automatic, as opposed to the constantly variable transmission in normally aspirated products. It just will make the complete working experience that significantly far more pleasurable.

However, maintaining the Seltos in Sport method does a doozy on its gasoline economic climate. Whilst the EPA offers the 1.6-liter Seltos SX Turbo with all-wheel generate a score of 25 miles for each gallon metropolis, thirty mpg highway and 27 mpg merged, I’m only seeing 23.2 mpg. Individuals with gasoline efficiency on their head should really stick with the entrance-wheel generate S trim, which has EPA ratings of 29 mpg metropolis, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg merged. 

A normally aspirated 2.-liter engine is on faucet for decrease trims, but this SX design has a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Ought to you treatment to go off-road, you may really get a fair length off the beaten path, many thanks to a middle locking differential in all-wheel generate products that can break up the torque evenly concerning the entrance and rear axles. The Seltos’ suspension geometry isn’t really as very good as, say, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, and those plastic skid plates is not going to enable should really you scrape one thing, but with in excess of 7 inches of floor clearance and 28 degrees of solution and departure angles, the Seltos’ off-road chops are astonishingly strong.

Vigorous tech

LX products are pretty bare-bones in conditions of products, with driver aids not really coming on-line until eventually the S trim, which receives standard significant-beam aid, lane-maintaining aid and lane-departure warning. The SX Turbo has all of that furthermore blind-place checking and adaptive cruise control. With the Freeway Driving Guide, the Seltos stays in its own lane on the highway, combining the get the job done of the adaptive cruise and lane-maintaining tech. producing small get the job done of sweeping turns. However, I can experience and see the minor mid-corner corrections it will make via the steering wheel.

An 8-inch touchscreen functioning Kia’s Uvo infotainment program with Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle is standard, but my prime-shelf Seltos receives a much larger ten.25-inch display screen. Kia’s Uvo program is not my beloved, what with its compact icons, but my colleagues have nothing at all but praise for it. To every single their own, I guess.

What I will praise is the nifty layout of the middle stack. The wi-fi charging mattress is lofted previously mentioned a decrease area with home for minor things like your property keys. This is the place you are going to also uncover two USB-A ports as effectively as a 12-volt outlet. Rear seat travellers get one particular USB-A port, so be ready to battle, youngsters.

Properly geared up and reasonably priced

Whilst I would not get in touch with the interior of the Seltos luxurious, it does not glimpse undesirable at all. Sure, expenses have been obviously slice when it arrives to materials quality, but the fit and finish is generally pretty very good, and all the things is within just easy get to of the driver. I enjoy the geometric design and style of the in-doorway speakers for the Bose quality audio program and the ambient lights pulses in time with the audio — kind of like in the Kia Soul. I would like to see some contrasting trim hues on the seats, however, as my tester’s black interior is pretty dark, but that is a compact quibble.

Cargo area is sufficient with 26.6 cubic ft of area at the rear of the rear seats, growing to practically 63 cubes when those seats are folded. That beats the trousers off the aforementioned Jeep Renegade with its 18.5 and fifty.8 cubic ft, respectively, and the Toyota C-HR, which has 19/36.4 cubes.. Heck, it even bests the fairly spacious Nissan Kicks (25.three/fifty three.1) and Honda HR-V (24.three/58.8).

The Kia Seltos starts at just in excess of $23,000.

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Though the 2021 Kia Seltos starts at $23,a hundred and ten such as $1,a hundred and twenty for vacation spot, the SX Turbo is $29,485 all in. That is a great deal of funds for a motor vehicle this sizing, so I imagine I would go down to the S Turbo, for the reason that you can continue to conserve a several bucks even though finding the far more effective engine. The greatest trade-off here is that you are not able to get adaptive cruise control, but the S Turbo’s $26,610 value tag (such as vacation spot) is significantly far more appealing.

My beloved motor vehicles in this segment have constantly experienced one thing distinctive likely on. The Nissan Kicks is quirky and starts less than $19,000, producing it the most reasonably priced of the bunch. I enjoy the Jeep Renegade for its off-road chops, even though the Mazda CX-three wins for sophistication and driveability.

The Kia Seltos, meanwhile, delivers a little bit of all the things. It is fashionable without having remaining unconventional and delivers outstanding benefit, many thanks to all of its driver-assistance technology, creature comforts and interior area. I might like a little bit far more general performance out of the turbocharged engine, but taken as a complete, the Kia Seltos is a quite competitive crossover and one particular that I is not going to wait to propose.