2021 Kia Seltos Will Be The Brand's Most Affordable SUV

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

, Automotive Editor - November 21, 2019

The 2021 Kia Seltos was unveiled earlier in the year, but the automaker recently brought the subcompact SUV to the Los Angeles Auto Show as a way to confirm that the vehicle will be sold in the United States. Sharing the same platform as the Hyundai Kona, the new Seltos will slot between the boxy Soul and the compact Sportage, filling a subcompact SUV hole that was missing in Kia’s lineup.

With the addition of the Seltos, Kia will have five crossovers. The sharply styled vehicle gives consumers a subcompact option for those that aren’t interested in the Soul’s boxy footprint. Compared to the Sportage, the Seltos is smaller, but has roughly half an inch more of ground clearance for what Kia claims is a more rugged design. The Seltos also comes with a unique front bumper design for “adventurous driving,” front and rear skid plates, 17- and 18-inch wheels, and an available two-tone roof.

In addition to sharing the Kona’s platform, the Seltos also comes with the same powertrains. The base engine for the Seltos is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with Kia’s intelligent variable transmission (IVT), which is basically a continuously variable transmission (CVT). An available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that generates 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged motor is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

In keeping with the Seltos’ rugged design, the SUV is available with an all-wheel-drive system, a center locking differential, and torque vectoring. The center locking differential is unique for the subcompact segment and should give the SUV some extra capability when the terrain gets tough.

Kia Seltos

Compared to the Sportage, both of the Seltos’ engines are down on power. The Seltos’ base engine produces more power than the Soul’s base engine, but loses out when it comes to the Soul’s available motor. So on the powertrain front, Kia’s found a way to make the Seltos slot perfectly in the middle.

As far as the interior, the Seltos borrows its overall styling from the midsize Telluride, which isn’t a bad thing. The subcompact segment isn’t known for having options with upscale interior designs, but the Seltos’ cabin certainly looks like it will try to change that. The subcompact SUV will have lots of high-end features, too, as it can be fitted with a 7-inch display in the instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, an 8-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging, and Bluetooth that can handle two phones simultaneously. All of the latest driver-assist features will be available through Kia Drive Wise, the brand’s suite of driver-assist features.

From the way the Seltos looks and its rugged elements, it looks like Kia’s trying to bring a subcompact version of the Telluride to the market. But unlike the much larger Telluride, the Seltos will carry a subcompact price that starts below $22,000 when it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2020. Official pricing will be announced closer to the SUV’s sale date.

With a sub $22,000 price tag, the Seltos will compete with the Hyundai Kona, Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Rogue Sport, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, and Ford EcoSport. That’s a crowded segment, but if the Seltos drives half as good as it looks, we’re sure it will be a hit.

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

Privacy Policy|Terms of Use|Cookie Policy|Disclaimer
COPYRIGHT 1999-2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba CarsDirect.com