2021 Kia Seltos review: Entry-level goodness

Superior things appear in compact packages.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Kia’s been on type of a tear revamping its crossover and SUV lineup. But when the outcomes are as excellent as the boxy-great Soul or certainly wonderful Telluride, you will never hear me — or prospective buyers — complaining. The subsequent little bit of Kia utility goodness is the subcompact 2021 Seltos, and it is really however yet another house operate.


  • Unique appears to be like.
  • Wonderful total value.
  • Plenty of common and accessible tech.

Don’t Like

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

I appreciate the way the Seltos appears to be like, specially in this Starbright Yellow color capped with a Cherry Black roof. There are a good deal of excellent layout facts listed here, like the triple-stacked foglights, textured chrome trim close to the grille, interesting daytime running lights and spiky 18-inch wheels. There are a few regrettable alternatives, even so: The skid plates are for display only, and even though I am high-quality with huge exhaust ideas that conceal a scaled-down pipe, these dual shops are totally phony. The precise exhaust is at minimum eight inches underneath.

This rugged-wanting CUV slots between the Soul and Sportage and is presented with a pair of engines. LX, S and EX types get a 2.-liter by natural means aspirated I4, but the S Turbo and SX Turbo are graced with — you guessed it — a one.6-liter turbo I4. Entrance-wheel drive will come common on the non-turbo S, even though all-wheel drive is optional. Each and every other Seltos can only be had with AWD.

Optional turbo energy

The Seltos does a high-quality task on the road. My tester has the turbo motor, with a hundred seventy five horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Irrespective of that very last variety, the Seltos is a minimal sluggish off the line, specially in its default drive mode. Listed here, the motor and transmission are tuned for efficiency, with quick upshifts and a marginally a lot more muted throttle. Activity mode helps things significantly, and it even tightens up the steering. I like that the Seltos’ turbo motor pairs with a seven-pace, dual-clutch computerized, as opposed to the repeatedly variable transmission in by natural means aspirated types. It just makes the complete encounter that significantly a lot more pleasurable.

However, holding the Seltos in Activity mode does a doozy on its gasoline economy. Even though the EPA offers the one.6-liter Seltos SX Turbo with all-wheel drive a score of 25 miles per gallon town, thirty mpg freeway and 27 mpg merged, I am only looking at 23.2 mpg. Individuals with gasoline efficiency on their thoughts ought to adhere with the front-wheel drive S trim, which has EPA rankings of 29 mpg town, 34 mpg freeway and 31 mpg merged. 

A by natural means aspirated 2.-liter motor is on faucet for reduce trims, but this SX model has a one.6-liter turbocharged I4.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Really should you treatment to go off-road, you may possibly essentially get a reasonable length off the overwhelmed route, thanks to a center locking differential in all-wheel drive types that can break up the torque evenly between the front and rear axles. The Seltos’ suspension geometry is just not as excellent as, say, the Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, and those people plastic skid plates will never help ought to you scrape anything, but with in excess of 7 inches of ground clearance and 28 levels of approach and departure angles, the Seltos’ off-road chops are astonishingly sturdy.

Vigorous tech

LX types are pretty bare-bones in phrases of gear, with driver aids not seriously coming online until the S trim, which receives common significant-beam help, lane-holding help and lane-departure warning. The SX Turbo has all of that moreover blind-spot checking and adaptive cruise control. With the Highway Driving Help, the Seltos stays in its personal lane on the freeway, combining the perform of the adaptive cruise and lane-holding tech. making short perform of sweeping turns. However, I can sense and see the minimal mid-corner corrections it makes as a result of the steering wheel.

An 8-inch touchscreen running Kia’s Uvo infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is common, but my prime-shelf Seltos receives a larger sized ten.25-inch exhibit. Kia’s Uvo system is not my favorite, what with its compact icons, but my colleagues have absolutely nothing but praise for it. To just about every their personal, I guess.

What I will praise is the nifty layout of the center stack. The wi-fi charging bed is lofted over a reduce area with place for minimal things like your home keys. This is wherever you can also obtain two USB-A ports as properly as a 12-volt outlet. Rear seat passengers get a person USB-A port, so be geared up to combat, children.

Nicely geared up and economical

Even though I would not get in touch with the interior of the Seltos high-class, it doesn’t appear terrible at all. Confident, charges have been obviously lower when it will come to content high quality, but the match and complete is usually pretty excellent, and anything is in just quick get to of the driver. I appreciate the geometric layout of the in-doorway speakers for the Bose high quality audio system and the ambient lights pulses in time with the songs — form of like in the Kia Soul. I would like to see some contrasting trim hues on the seats, while, as my tester’s black interior is quite darkish, but that’s a compact quibble.

Cargo area is enough with 26.6 cubic feet of area behind the rear seats, expanding to nearly 63 cubes when those people seats are folded. That beats the pants off the aforementioned Jeep Renegade with its 18.5 and fifty.8 cubic feet, respectively, and the Toyota C-HR, which has 19/36.four cubes.. Heck, it even bests the reasonably roomy Nissan Kicks (25.3/fifty three.one) and Honda HR-V (24.3/58.8).

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

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

However the 2021 Kia Seltos commences at $23,110 like $one,120 for location, the SX Turbo is $29,485 all in. Which is a good deal of revenue for a vehicle this sizing, so I believe I would go down to the S Turbo, mainly because you can nonetheless help you save a few bucks even though receiving the a lot more powerful motor. The most significant trade-off listed here is that you can’t get adaptive cruise control, but the S Turbo’s $26,610 rate tag (like location) is significantly a lot more interesting.

My favorite cars in this section have constantly had anything distinctive going on. The Nissan Kicks is quirky and commences underneath $19,000, making it the most economical of the bunch. I appreciate the Jeep Renegade for its off-road chops, even though the Mazda CX-3 wins for sophistication and driveability.

The Kia Seltos, meanwhile, presents a little bit of anything. It is stylish without having being unconventional and presents excellent value, thanks to all of its driver-guidance engineering, creature comforts and interior area. I would like a little bit a lot more performance out of the turbocharged motor, but taken as a complete, the Kia Seltos is a pretty aggressive crossover and a person that I will never hesitate to advocate. 

Maria J. Danford

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