Kia Seltos

The Seltos comes with one of two powerplants under its hood. The base engine is a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine making 146 horsepower which is mated to either all-four wheels or just the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission. In front-wheel drive form, the Seltos is capable of 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving with the base engine. The optional engine is a 175 horsepower 1.6L turbocharged unit. It's paired to a dual-clutch transmission, which sends power to all-four wheels. Even with the more powerful engine and all-wheel drive, the Seltos is still rated at 27 mpg in combined city and highway driving.

There are five different trim levels for the Kia Seltos, starting with the LX trim. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel drive, automatic projector beam headlights, an 8-inch touch screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a rearview camera, steering wheel mounted controls for the sound system and cruise control, power door locks and power windows.

The S trim adds heated mirrors, chrome exterior highlights, roof rails, LED daytime running lights and taillights, projector beam foglamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a forward collision avoidance assist system, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and lane keep following functions. Interestingly enough, unlike the base LX, the S trim does not come with all-wheel drive, though it can be optioned for an extra cost. The upshot is that the S and the LX trims both cost the exact same amount, so owners who don't necessarily need all-wheel drive can get a ton of options instead for the same low price.

The EX trim adds a power sunroof, machine finished 17-inch wheels, extra USB charging ports, a wireless phone charger, a smart key with push button and remote starter functions, automatic climate control, LED interior lighting, rear seat HVAC vents, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic avoidance systems as well as all-wheel drive.

At the top of the Kia Seltos range sits the SX Turbo trim. The SX Turbo adds full LED headlights and fog lights, a bigger 10.25-inch touchscreen with built in satellite navigation, satellite radio and voice recognition, a Bose sound system, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, chrome door handles, smart cruise control with stop and go functions and Kia's highway driving assist.

Editors' Review

Kia's been on sort of a tear revamping its crossover and SUV lineup. But when the results are as good as the boxy-cool Soul or absolutely superb Telluride, you won't hear me -- or buyers -- complaining. The next bit of Kia utility goodness is the subcompact 2021 Seltos, and it's yet another home run.

I love the way the Seltos looks, especially in this Starbright Yellow color capped with a Cherry Black roof. There are a lot of great design details here, like the triple-stacked foglights, textured chrome trim around the grille, interesting daytime running lights and spiky 18-inch wheels. There are a few regrettable choices, however: The skid plates are for show only, and while I'm fine with large exhaust tips that conceal a smaller pipe, these dual outlets are completely fake. The actual exhaust is at least eight inches below.

This rugged-looking CUV slots between the Soul and Sportage and is offered with a pair of engines. LX, S and EX models get a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I4, but the S Turbo and SX Turbo are graced with -- you guessed it -- a 1.6-liter turbo I4. Front-wheel drive comes standard on the non-turbo S, while all-wheel drive is optional. Every other Seltos can only be had with AWD.

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The Good ~ Distinctive looks. ~ Great overall value. ~ Lots of standard and available tech.

The Bad ~ Hit-or-miss efficiency. ~ Sluggish initial acceleration, even with turbo power.

The Bottom Line The Kia Seltos is an excellent choice for those who want a small, good-looking crossover that won't break the bank.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 8.5

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