New from Kia for 2021 is the Seltos, a subcompact crossover that slots in below the Sportage and above the Soul. Hyundai Motor Group, Kia’s parent company, shares engineering between the Hyundai and Kia brands, so the Seltos has a lot in common with the Hyundai Kona.
Kia offers the Seltos in LX, EX, EX Premium and SX Turbo trim levels. The former trio share a 2.0L four-cylinder engine matched with a continuously variable automatic transmission (commonly referred as a CVT, but which Kia calls an intelligent variable transmission, or IVT). SX Turbo stands apart for its 1.6L turbo four-cylinder and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
LX trim starts with front-wheel drive and options to AWD; all other trims are standard with AWD.
Outside, the Seltos LX FWD comes fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic on/off headlights, LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable/heated side mirrors, a rear spoiler, roof rails, and silver front and rear bumper accents.
Inside, there is cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, air conditioning, an 8.0-inch infotainment display, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, cruise control, automatic engine stop/start, keyless entry, a 3.5-inch gauge cluster display, power windows and sliding/illuminated sun visors.
LX FWD safety items include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, heated washer nozzles, and tire pressure monitoring.
LX AWD adds 17-inch wheels. All of the Seltos’s other options are contained in its uplevel trim packages, as follows:
EX trim adds LED taillights, solar front glass, a sunroof, chrome exterior trim, synthetic leather upholstery, adjustable rear-seat headrests, a heated steering wheel, leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift lever, a rear centre armrest, automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, remote engine start, and LED interior lighting.
EX’s safety additions are blind spot collision prevention assist, lane keep/lane follow assist, low-speed forward collision detection and avoidance assist, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist.
EX Premium gains LED headlights and fog lights, power front seats with driver’s lumbar, heated rear seats, ventilated front seats, a 10.25-inch infotainment display with navigation, satellite radio, wireless smartphone charging, highway driving assist, adaptive cruise control, an electric parking brake, UVO connected car services, a 7.0-inch gauge cluster display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, and all-speed forward collision detection and avoidance.
Finally, the SX Turbo brings 18-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, chrome interior and exterior door handles, a Bose stereo, and head-up driver display.
Kia’s fuel consumption estimates for the Seltos are 8.2/7.1 L/100 km (city/highway) for LX FWD, 8.8/7.6 for LX, EX and EX Premium models with the 2.0L engine and AWD, and 9.4/7.9 L/100 km (city/highway) for the SX Turbo’s 1.6L turbo/AWD combination.
With the Seltos, Kia enters one of the marketplace’s most competitive segments. Among its many competitors is the popular Hyundai Kona we name-checked up top, but it also goes up against a slew of other models: Japan sends in the Honda HR-V, Nissan’s Qashqai, the Toyota C-HR, Subaru’s Crosstrek, the Mazda CX-30, and Mitsubishi’s RVR. From domestic brands come Chevrolet’s Trailblazer, the Buick Encore GX, Fiat’s 500X, the Ford Ecosport and Jeeps’s Renegade.