2021 Kia Seltos – First Review

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The 2021 Kia Seltos is an all-new subcompact SUV. Kelley Blue Book’s Micah Muzio takes a first look at the new 2021 Seltos to review its interior, exterior styling, infotainment, technology, engine choices, and all-wheel drive system.

That’s the 2021 Kia Seltos. I’m not allowed to say how it drives just yet but I can give you a quick overview, in a convenient Q&A format that made this video easier to produce.


What is the Kia Seltos?
The Kia Seltos is an all-new subcompact SUV. That means it competes with teensy SUVs like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Kicks, Hyundai Kona, and the upcoming Chevrolet Trailblazer.


What’s it like inside?
For a subcompact the Kia Seltos is roomy in front but that’s the easy part. Rear seat space is excellent and features reclining rear seat backs. Cargo space is a generous 26.6 cu-ft with its 2-level floor in its lowest position.


Can I stare at the outside for a bit?
Yeah, sure. While you’re staring, I’ll note that the Seltos shares some design DNA, like this the Tiger-nose grill, with the rest of the Kia lineup. There are aspects of the design that I’m lukewarm on. The headlights seem droopy. But I do like the available contrasting roof paint. It works on the Nissan Kicks and it works here. Take another moment to drink it all in.


Does it have an engine?
The standard engine is a 2-liter 4-cylinder (146 hp/132 lb-ft) matched to a continuously variable transmission. Buyers can also choose the same 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that’s found in the Kia Optima (175 hp/195 lb-ft). Keep in mind that the 1.6-liter engine is partnered with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. So, if you hate CVTs, choose the turbocharged engine.


Is all wheel drive available?
Unlike some subcompact SUV things, the Seltos does offer all-wheel drive as an option along with 7.2-inches of ground clearance. The system features a lock function to evenly apportion torque between the front and rear wheels. And just like Kia’s corporate partner Hyundai does with their subcompact Kona, all-wheel drive Seltos’s benefit from a more sophisticated independent rear suspension versus the rudimentary torsion beam axle found on front-wheel drive models. For superior ride and handling, choose all-wheel drive.


What kind of features come on the Seltos?
You know, good stuff like multiple drive modes, a rear occupancy alert system, and an 8-inch touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android auto. You can also spring for optional features like lane keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, smart key access, and the like.


When can I buy one?
You can buy a Seltos of your own in March of 2020. With a starting price of $23,110, the Seltos slots above the Soul and below the Sportage in Kia’s “SUV” lineup. So far the Kia Seltos looks promising but we’ll have a better sense of its character when get to drive it in our First Drive video…coming soon.


When is that First Drive video coming?
I said soon. You know, for on-screen text you can be awfully demanding.
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