2021 Kia Seltos

“The 2021 Kia Seltos gives practicality and tech in equal measure.”

  • Spacious inside
  • Succesful AWD
  • Peppy turbo engine
  • Nice tech worth
  • Driver assist controls buried in touchscreen
  • Mediocre dealing with

Selection would be the spice of life, proper? However, an excessive amount of spice could cause heartburn.

On the media drive for the 2021 Seltos, Kia listed a minimum of 17 automobiles as potential rivals for its new subcompact crossover. That record consists of well-regarded fashions such because the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Kona, the latter from Kia’s mother or father model. So, what did Kia do to differentiate the Seltos from this huge group of rivals?

Consumers could wish to assume they’re getting rugged SUVs, however automobiles on this class are basically hatchbacks on stilts. Nonetheless, Kia has made the Seltos as SUV-like as doable, giving it a extra refined all-wheel drive system than many rivals. Kia additionally emphasised worth, giving the Seltos a protracted record of driver aids and tech options.

Kia gives patrons a novel alternative. The bottom value of $23,110 buys both an all-wheel drive LX mannequin, or an S mannequin with out all-wheel drive (with extra tech options). Kia offered a range-topping all-wheel drive SX mannequin, which begins at $29,010, to check.

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Design & Inside

The Seltos shares a fundamental platform with the Hyundai Kona, however the two crossovers couldn’t be extra completely different in relation to exterior design. The place the Hyundai is all sci-fi curves, the Kia has a extra conventional, squared-off look. It could be engineered extra like a subcompact hatchback, however the Seltos appears to be like like an SUV.

It additionally gives extra SUV-like utility than many rivals. The Seltos gives considerably extra rear-seat house than its Kona platform mate, in addition to extra cargo house than any direct competitor. Nevertheless, the Honda HR-V’s “Magic” rear-seat folding mechanism makes it simpler to make the most of what cargo house is out there. The Honda additionally gives extra rear-seat legroom than the Kia, whereas the Jeep Renegade has extra headroom entrance and rear. Regardless, the Seltos gives sufficient added utility to justify shopping for one over a comparably-sized automotive – which isn’t all the time the case on this phase.

The Seltos’ inside can be a pleasant place to be. It’s not precisely fancy, however supplies really feel acceptable for this value vary. The upright roof leaves numerous room for glass, offering good outward visibility and giving the inside an ethereal feeling. The entrance seats felt decently snug over a day of driving, and the rear seats recline.

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Tech, Infotainment, & Driver Help

The usual infotainment system consists of an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SX fashions get a 10.25-inch touchscreen, in addition to built-in navigation and satellite tv for pc radio. Whereas the methods have Kia’s Uvo branding, they’ve the identical graphics because the BlueLink methods we’ve seen in latest Hyundai fashions.

That’s not a foul factor. Typical for Kia (and Hyundai), the infotainment interface is missing in bells and whistles, however continues to be straightforward to make use of. The one main fault is that Kia forces the driving force to dive deep into display menus to modify driver aids on and off. It’s not precisely straightforward to do whereas driving, and we want Kia  included some arduous buttons as a substitute.

Talking of driver aids, the Seltos gives greater than its Hyundai Kona sibling. The LX trim degree comes customary with autonomous emergency braking (together with pedestrian and bicycle owner detection) and a driver consideration monitor. For a similar base value, the S trim degree provides lane departure warning lane preserve help, and computerized excessive beams, however you must sacrifice all-wheel drive to get them.

The infotainment interface is considerably missing in bells and whistles, however continues to be straightforward to make use of.

Adaptive cruise management is out there, however solely on the highest SX trim degree. That characteristic isn’t obtainable in any respect on the Kona, however is out there on some rivals, and is customary on the Honda HR-V. The Nissan Rogue Sport is out there with the automaker’s ProPilot Help system, which mixes adaptive cruise management with automated lane centering.

The Seltos additionally options lane observe help, which provides a bit extra performance to the lane preserve help. Normal on the S trim degree, it appears to be like on the heart of the lane, fairly than the lane markings, to maintain the automotive on the proper path. Meaning the system proactively steers, fairly than ready for the automotive to veer out of its lane. You may really feel lane observe help working, nearly like one other pair of arms are on the steering wheel. Nevertheless, its inputs are comparatively light, in contrast to a few of the extra fundamental lane preserve help methods we’ve encountered.

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Driving expertise

The Seltos comes customary with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine, making 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to a constantly variable transmission (CVT), which Kia calls an Clever Variable Transmission (IVT). Our check automotive had the elective 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Turbocharging permits this smaller engine to make 175 hp and 195 lb-ft, and Kia coupled it to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission for a sportier really feel.

The turbocharged powertrain is a winner. The engine gives loads of grunt, and the dual-clutch transmission’s fast shifts assist make the put up of it. That is principally the identical as used within the Hyundai Kona Final, and it was a standout characteristic of that automotive as effectively.

Nevertheless, the Kia lacks the Hyundai’s sporty dealing with. There’s nothing improper with the best way the Seltos handles, but it surely isn’t as sharp and exact because the Kona. The Seltos does have a extra snug journey than the Kona, although, and the goal purchaser is extra more likely to care about that than corner-carving capacity. If you’d like your small crossover to really feel like a sports activities automotive, get the Hyundai or, higher but, the Mazda CX-30.

The turbocharged powertrain is a winner.

The Seltos is out there with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, with the latter providing extra functionality than many methods on this phase. It permits the driving force to manually lock torque in a 50/50 entrance/rear cut up, making certain the automotive doesn’t default to front-wheel drive. Torque vectoring shunts energy aspect to aspect to assist flip the Seltos into corners. Hill begin help and hill descent management are customary. The all-wheel drive system even has a cool identify: Dynamax.

These options ought to add confidence in dangerous climate or on unpaved roads, however they don’t flip the Seltos into an off-roader. Kia was fast to level out that the Seltos has a greater strategy angle than a Jeep Renegade or Subaru Crosstrek, that means you’re much less more likely to smash the entrance finish into one thing whereas driving over uneven terrain.

However the Seltos has much less floor clearance than the Crosstrek or Renegade. One thing scraped the underside of the automotive on a mud path that was a part of the drive route, so it’s arduous to think about feeling assured driving the Seltos on an precise off-road path. The Renegade stays the one automobile on this phase with true off-road functionality.

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Fuel mileage & Security

Fuel-mileage scores for the two.0-liter/CVT mixture are 31 mpg mixed (29 mpg metropolis, 34 mpg freeway) with front-wheel drive, and 29 mpg mixed (27 mpg metropolis, 31 mpg freeway) with all-wheel drive. The 1.6-liter turbo engine and dual-clutch transmission are solely obtainable with all-wheel drive, and are rated at 27 mpg mixed (25 mpg metropolis, 30 mpg freeway).

Fuel mileage is pretty aggressive with different automobiles on this phase, to not point out some typical automobiles. Much less-aerodynamic bodywork and added weight often convey a gas-mileage penalty to crossovers, but it surely’s not very extreme with this one.

The Seltos delivers on the issues that distinguish crossovers from unusual automobiles.

The Seltos is a brand new mannequin, so it’s troublesome to foretell future reliability. Kia has a reasonably good total fame for reliability, nonetheless, and gives beneficiant guarantee protection. Kia’s 10-year, 100,000-mile, powertrain guarantee and five-year, 60,000-mile, restricted guarantee are matched solely by company mother or father Hyundai.

Crash check scores from the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security (IIHS) usually are not obtainable at the moment.

How DT would configure this automotive

The SX trim degree looks as if the best choice. Not solely does it get the peppier turbocharged engine and quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission, but it surely’s additionally the one Seltos trim degree with adaptive cruise management. As a result of the SX is the highest trim degree, it additionally incorporates the tech options from decrease trims as effectively, corresponding to autonomous emergency braking, lane preserve help, and wi-fi telephone charging. Even with a base value about $6,000 greater than the most affordable Seltos, the lengthy record of options within the SX makes it a great worth.

Our Take

Many crossovers on this value vary declare to supply SUV ruggedness, however are actually simply glorified hatchbacks. The 2021 Kia Seltos is the true deal.

The Seltos delivers on the issues that distinguish crossovers from unusual automobiles. It gives spectacular cargo house for a automobile of this dimension, and an all-wheel drive system that can make an actual distinction in foul climate. This contrasts the Seltos’ platform mate, the Hyundai Kona. Whereas the Kona is an efficient automobile, its lack of cargo house and car-like demeanor make it more durable to justify shopping for one as a substitute of a traditional hatchback.

In such a crowded subject, rivals inevitably do sure issues higher than the Seltos. The Kia lacks the off-road functionality of the Jeep Renegade, or the on-road poise of the Mazda CX-30. Whereas Seltos is out there with many driver aids, the Honda HR-V gives extra of them as customary gear. However whereas it is probably not the very best in some areas, the Seltos does all the things effectively.

Do you have to get one?

Sure. The Seltos is a powerful worth.

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