2021 Kia Seltos first drive review: The hits keep coming


Elegant, roomy and unexpectedly top quality, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably fantastic. This compact crossover is the most up-to-date in a prolonged sequence of hits from the South Korean automaker, a conga line of cars that contains designs like the Soul, the Stinger and, most lately, the Telluride a few-row SUV.

Placing the screws to rivals like the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, the Seltos is a compact crossover intended to squeeze amongst the funky-looking Soul hatchback and a little much larger Sportage utility automobile.

Environment this Kia apart from all those designs and its most important rivals, the Seltos is meant to be something of an off-roader. Naturally, it truly is no Jeep Wrangler, but there is some genuine material beneath that challenging styling, a little bit of steak to go with the sizzle. Floor clearance measures 7.three inches, the identical volume you get in a Honda Pilot. This vehicle’s solution and departure angles every clock in at 28 degrees, generating it reasonably useful off highway. Last but not least, a nifty all-wheel-travel system with a locking centre differential is presented in particular trim degrees, which can evenly split torque amongst the front and rear axles for enhanced traction in slippery, sloppy or or else intense conditions. What is actually not so great are the front and rear “skid plates.” They could glimpse to give some useful defense, but they’re practically nothing but flimsy plastic.

The Seltos is accessible in 5 various grades. Serving base responsibility is the reasonably priced LX model stepping up from there you can get an ES model, an S 2., S 1.6T or the range-topping SX, which is what I am screening listed here. As for pricing, this automobile kicks off at $23,110 such as location rates, which are $1,a hundred and twenty.

Kia is killing it with interiors these days, and the Seltos’ cabin is a different example of that fantastic work. Sure, just about everything inside of is built of tricky plastic, but practically nothing is blatantly cheap. The buttons and switches really feel very good, there are a good deal of attention-grabbing textures and make high quality is fantastic. Approximately all Seltos designs come with a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, while EX and SX variations also characteristic a wireless charging pad, leatherette seating surfaces and thrust-button start.

An 8-speaker Bose audio system is standard on prime-shelf SX designs, ditto for a ten.25-inch, large-resolution touchscreen. All other variations of the Seltos come with an 8-inch display screen, while no make a difference the model, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are provided.

The Seltos has a wheelbase of 103.5 inches and an overall size of 172 inches. That helps make it about the identical sizing as a Honda HR-V or Nissan Kicks. These dimensions give generous interior area. With the rear seats up, you get just shy 27 cubic ft of junk-hauling capability fold ’em down and that determine grows to just about 63 cubic ft, which is just about as substantially as in a Chevy Equinox.

As with the cargo maintain, this vehicle’s back seat is substantial, with a good deal of place for legs and heads. Entrance or rear, 6-foot-tall people must have no difficulties fitting in the Seltos.

2021 Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a versatile hauler.

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By now you could be asking by yourself, “What does Seltos signify?” Kia suggests it truly is named after Celtus, the son of Heracles in Greek mythology. But there is practically nothing valiant about what is less than this crossover’s hood. The base engine is a by natural means aspirated, 2.-liter four-cylinder, very good for a comparatively dismal 146 horsepower and 132 pound-ft of torque, matched with a continually variable transmission. What you’ll genuinely want is the up-stage, 1.6-liter turbo. This power-fed dynamo provides a far more livable one hundred seventy five hp, but far more importantly, torque tops out at 195 lb-ft. Creating the most of that output is a seven-pace, twin-clutch transmission.

The Seltos’ base engine can be had with either front- or all-wheel travel, but the 1.6T only arrives with AWD. Styles so equipped must return 25 miles per gallon all-around city, thirty on the freeway and 27 mpg mixed. The natural way, with no the turbocharged engine or all-wheel travel, other variations of the Seltos are a little far more productive.

The Seltos is as peaceful and easy as just about anything else in the section, but the powertrain could be improved. The Seltos can really feel gutless in particular driving situations many thanks to an engine that won’t come alive till the middle of its rev range and a transmission that is often a couple of gears far too large. This blend can severely hamper low-pace drivability. When you just take off from a standstill it truly is a little bit soft, but even the moment the automobile is moving it feels pokey. The engine won’t have plenty of off-idle torque to get things moving and the gearbox is reluctant to downshift.  

2021 Kia Seltos

This is the up-stage engine, which is very good for one hundred seventy five horsepower.

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The good news is, there is an effortless answer to this lethargic efficiency: placing the Seltos in activity mode. Not only does this tighten up the steering really feel, it also keeps the transmission from likely upshift-insane, which helps make this automobile substantially far more pleasant to travel. The trade-off, of training course, is probable a little decreased gas economic climate, but it truly is effectively worthy of it in my e book.

That seven-pace transmission shifts quickly and is largely easy, but it truly is continue to not as nice as a conventional torque-converter automated. At times there is a faint juddering feeling when getting off from a quit and it feels slow when likely from travel to reverse or vice versa. 

Apart from the gearbox, I have a single other small quibble about how this automobile drives. The brake pedal is far too touchy, resulting in comprehensive-on stress stops when you just desired to slow down for a household pace bump. A compact volume of pressure goes a prolonged way in this Kia.

In order to maintain up with rivals, new vehicles currently are practically essential to have a range of sophisticated safety systems, and the Seltos is no exception. The Kia Drive Smart suite contains things like lane-departure warning, automated large beams and lane-holding guide. These functions are standard on all designs, preserve the most standard LX trim. Past that stuff, you can also get blind-location monitoring, rear cross-website traffic collision avoidance guide and even adaptive cruise control with quit-and-go ability.

The 2021 Seltos is a fantastic addition to Kia’s utility automobile lineup. Even the thoroughly loaded SX model feels like a very good price, checking out for $29,485, such as location. The Seltos is fashionable, with a large-high quality and spacious interior, moreover it delivers a good deal of technology. Apart from its at times-recalcitrant transmission and brake pedal that is a little bit far too sensitive, it truly is comparatively effortless to suggest. 

2021 Kia Seltos

Entrance or rear, the Seltos is a fashionable compact crossover.

Craig Cole/Roadshow