2021 Kia Seltos first drive review: The hits keep coming

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Attractive, roomy and unexpectedly quality, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably great. This modest crossover is the latest in a long series of hits from the South Korean automaker, a conga line of autos that includes versions like the Soul, the Stinger and, most a short while ago, 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 modest crossover created to squeeze in between the funky-searching Soul hatchback and a little larger Sportage utility vehicle.

Setting this Kia aside from people versions and its major rivals, the Seltos is intended to be something of an off-roader. Definitely, it truly is no Jeep Wrangler, but there is some true compound beneath that difficult styling, a little bit of steak to go with the sizzle. Floor clearance steps seven.3 inches, the exact same volume you get in a Honda Pilot. This vehicle’s tactic and departure angles just about every clock in at 28 degrees, building it reasonably beneficial off road. Ultimately, a nifty all-wheel-generate method with a locking center differential is presented in specific trim levels, which can evenly split torque in between the entrance and rear axles for improved traction in slippery, sloppy or in any other case significant disorders. What is not so amazing are the entrance and rear “skid plates.” They may well search to give some beneficial defense, but they are nothing at all but flimsy plastic.

The Seltos is available in 5 unique grades. Serving base duty is the reasonably priced LX edition stepping up from there you can get an ES model, an S 2., S one.6T or the variety-topping SX, which is what I am testing listed here. As for pricing, this vehicle kicks off at $23,one hundred ten like destination prices, which are $one,120.

Kia is killing it with interiors these times, and the Seltos’ cabin is a further example of that terrific function. Indeed, almost all the things within is built of tricky plastic, but nothing at all is blatantly inexpensive. The buttons and switches come to feel superior, there are loads of intriguing textures and create good quality is great. Virtually all Seltos versions occur with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and change knob, while EX and SX variations also attribute a wireless charging pad, leatherette seating surfaces and press-button begin.

An eight-speaker Bose audio method is standard on leading-shelf SX versions, ditto for a ten.25-inch, large-resolution touchscreen. All other variations of the Seltos occur with an 8-inch exhibit, while no subject the model, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are included.

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

As with the cargo keep, this vehicle’s back seat is large, with loads of area for legs and heads. Entrance or rear, 6-foot-tall individuals really should have no trouble fitting in the Seltos.

2021 Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a multipurpose hauler.


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By now you may well be asking by yourself, “What does Seltos imply?” Kia says it truly is named after Celtus, the son of Heracles in Greek mythology. But you can find nothing at all valiant about what is below this crossover’s hood. The base motor is a normally aspirated, 2.-liter four-cylinder, superior for a fairly dismal 146 horsepower and 132 pound-ft of torque, matched with a continuously variable transmission. What you are going to really want is the up-amount, one.6-liter turbo. This force-fed dynamo delivers a a lot more livable a hundred seventy five hp, but a lot more importantly, torque tops out at 195 lb-ft. Creating the most of that output is a 7-velocity, dual-clutch transmission.

The Seltos’ base motor can be had with both entrance- or all-wheel generate, but the one.6T only will come with AWD. Styles so geared up really should return 25 miles for every gallon all-around city, thirty on the freeway and 27 mpg combined. Naturally, devoid of the turbocharged motor or all-wheel generate, other variations of the Seltos are a little a lot more productive.

The Seltos is as tranquil and sleek as anything at all else in the segment, but the powertrain could be improved. The Seltos can come to feel gutless in specific driving predicaments thanks to an motor that isn’t going to occur alive until the middle of its rev variety and a transmission which is usually a couple of gears also large. This mixture can critically hamper minimal-velocity drivability. When you just take off from a standstill it truly is a little bit gentle, but even as soon as the vehicle is relocating it feels pokey. The motor isn’t going to have ample off-idle torque to get things relocating and the gearbox is reluctant to downshift.  

2021 Kia Seltos

This is the up-amount motor, which is superior for a hundred seventy five horsepower.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Thankfully, you can find an quick option to this lethargic efficiency: placing the Seltos in sport mode. Not only does this tighten up the steering come to feel, it also retains the transmission from going upshift-mad, which can make this vehicle substantially a lot more pleasurable to generate. The trade-off, of class, is likely a little lowered fuel economic climate, but it truly is very well worth it in my ebook.

That 7-velocity transmission shifts quickly and is generally sleek, but it truly is nonetheless not as enjoyable as a conventional torque-converter automated. Sometimes you can find a faint juddering feeling when using off from a end and it feels sluggish when going from generate to reverse or vice versa. 

Apart from the gearbox, I have one other minimal quibble about how this vehicle drives. The brake pedal is also touchy, resulting in total-on worry stops when you just preferred to sluggish down for a household velocity bump. A modest volume of strain goes a long way in this Kia.

In get to maintain up with rivals, new autos nowadays are basically necessary to have a variety of highly developed safety technologies, and the Seltos is no exception. The Kia Push Clever suite includes things like lane-departure warning, automated large beams and lane-keeping aid. These characteristics are standard on all versions, save the most fundamental LX trim. Beyond that things, you can also get blind-place monitoring, rear cross-targeted visitors collision avoidance aid and even adaptive cruise manage with end-and-go capacity.

The 2021 Seltos is a terrific addition to Kia’s utility vehicle lineup. Even the entirely loaded SX model feels like a superior benefit, examining out for $29,485, like destination. The Seltos is classy, with a large-good quality and spacious interior, additionally it delivers loads of technological innovation. Apart from its at times-recalcitrant transmission and brake pedal which is a little bit also delicate, this vehicle is nonetheless a terrific decision.

2021 Kia Seltos

Entrance or rear, the Seltos is a classy modest crossover.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Editors’ note: Travel fees associated to this tale ended up covered by the maker, which is typical in the automobile marketplace. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s employees are our personal and we do not take compensated editorial information.

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