Kia Seltos vs. Kia Sportage

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - March 10, 2020

If you’re in the market for an affordable crossover, you could do worse than perusing a Kia showroom. But for 2021, the choices are more numerous than ever – the brand has just introduced its newest crossover: the Kia Seltos.

The Seltos joins the Kia Sportage as the brand’s small crossover representatives. The two have much in common, but which is the better buy? We took a closer look to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Seltos & Sportage »

What the Seltos Gets Right

As the smaller crossover, the Kia Seltos comes out ahead on price. A base Seltos can be had for $1,925 less than the Kia Sportage.

Every Seltos except the S trim comes with standard all-wheel drive, while the Sportage makes it a $1,700 option. Despite the AWD powertrain, the Seltos bests the Sportage inefficiency. It gets an EPA-estimated 29 miles per gallon combined compared to the 26 mpg combined of the Sportage.

For the price, the Seltos offers most of the same features as the Sportage. The infotainment system is the same, and the Seltos can wear ritzy synthetic leather upholstery and 18-inch wheels in upper trims.

The Seltos even keeps up well in the cargo department, with 26.6 cubic feet behind the seats. With the seats folded, the Seltos has even more space than the Sportage – 62.8 cubic feet against 60.1.

What the Sportage Gets Right

The Seltos does quite well with the space that it has, but the Sportage is the bigger vehicle. This makes it more comfortable inside, especially with three adults in the back.

To move its extra size, the Sportage comes with extra power. Even in base trim, the Sportage has 181 horsepower, which is more than the optional turbocharged engine in the Seltos that has 175 hp.

Perhaps most importantly in a family vehicle, the Sportage makes safety tech standard. Even the base Sportage comes with automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assist, which the base Seltos can’t match.

The features tend to be available earlier in the range, too. A mid-grade Sportage EX gets blind-spot monitoring and heated seats, which are optional on the Seltos even in higher trims. Once all those features are added, the Seltos’ price advantage shrinks substantially.

New Kid on the Block

The Kia Sportage is a size that many consumers like, as perennial favorites like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V have proven. For buyers who need the extra size, it’s a reasonable value pick.

Subcompact crossovers seem to be the newest fad, and the Kia Seltos enters into competition with upstarts like the Hyundai Kona. Getting the right features requires careful shopping, but the inclusion of standard all-wheel drive tips the scales for us.

Our Verdict: Kia Seltos

We don’t love the Seltos in every trim, but it’s hard to deny the value. With all-wheel drive and enough spent to unlock standard safety features, the Kia Seltos keeps up with the Kia Sportage remarkably well. We doubt the Sportage will suffer for the competition, but Kia’s newest crossover has our loyalty for now.

Take a closer look at the Seltos »

Take a closer look at the Sportage »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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