June 4, 2020

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2021 Kia Seltos first drive review: The hits keep coming

Classy, roomy and unexpectedly top quality, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably great. This tiny...

Classy, roomy and unexpectedly top quality, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably great. This tiny crossover is the most current in a prolonged collection of hits from the South Korean automaker, a conga line of vehicles that incorporates models like the Soul, the Stinger and, most recently, the Telluride three-row SUV.

Putting the screws to rivals like the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, the Seltos is a tiny crossover designed to squeeze amongst the funky-looking Soul hatchback and a little bit larger Sportage utility car.

Environment this Kia apart from all those models and its most important rivals, the Seltos is intended to be some thing of an off-roader. Certainly, it really is no Jeep Wrangler, but there is some precise compound beneath that tricky styling, a little bit of steak to go with the sizzle. Floor clearance steps 7.three inches, the similar volume you get in a Honda Pilot. This vehicle’s tactic and departure angles each and every clock in at 28 degrees, generating it reasonably handy off street. Last but not least, a nifty all-wheel-travel system with a locking middle differential is made available in specified trim amounts, which can evenly break up torque amongst the entrance and rear axles for improved traction in slippery, sloppy or otherwise critical problems. What is actually not so neat are the entrance and rear “skid plates.” They may possibly look to give some handy security, but they are nothing at all but flimsy plastic.

The Seltos is offered in 5 various grades. Serving foundation responsibility is the reasonably priced LX version stepping up from there you can get an ES model, an S 2., S 1.6T or the assortment-topping SX, which is what I am tests in this article. As for pricing, this car kicks off at $23,a hundred and ten such as location fees, which are $1,one hundred twenty.

Kia is killing it with interiors these times, and the Seltos’ cabin is a further instance of that great operate. Indeed, nearly anything inside of is created of difficult plastic, but nothing at all is blatantly inexpensive. The buttons and switches sense great, there are lots of intriguing textures and make high-quality is great. Almost all Seltos models arrive with a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel and change knob, while EX and SX variations also attribute a wi-fi charging pad, leatherette seating surfaces and press-button start out.

An 8-speaker Bose audio system is typical on best-shelf SX models, ditto for a ten.twenty five-inch, higher-resolution touchscreen. All other variations of the Seltos arrive with an 8-inch display, while no subject the model, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are incorporated.

The Seltos has a wheelbase of 103.five inches and an overall duration of 172 inches. That helps make it about the similar dimensions as a Honda HR-V or Nissan Kicks. These proportions give generous interior area. With the rear seats up, you get just shy 27 cubic toes of junk-hauling capacity fold ’em down and that figure grows to nearly 63 cubic toes, which is just about as a great deal as in a Chevy Equinox.

As with the cargo hold, this vehicle’s back again seat is substantial, with lots of room for legs and heads. Entrance or rear, 6-foot-tall individuals should have no difficulties fitting in the Seltos.

2021 Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a multipurpose hauler.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

By now you may possibly be inquiring by yourself, “What does Seltos signify?” Kia suggests it really is named right after Celtus, the son of Heracles in Greek mythology. But there is certainly nothing at all valiant about what’s less than this crossover’s hood. The foundation engine is a normally aspirated, 2.-liter 4-cylinder, great for a rather dismal 146 horsepower and 132 pound-toes of torque, matched with a constantly variable transmission. What you can expect to definitely want is the up-stage, 1.6-liter turbo. This pressure-fed dynamo delivers a additional livable one hundred seventy five hp, but additional importantly, torque tops out at 195 lb-ft. Earning the most of that output is a seven-pace, twin-clutch transmission.

The Seltos’ foundation engine can be had with possibly entrance- or all-wheel travel, but the 1.6T only comes with AWD. Versions so outfitted should return twenty five miles for each gallon close to town, 30 on the highway and 27 mpg put together. The natural way, with no the turbocharged engine or all-wheel travel, other variations of the Seltos are a little bit additional productive.

The Seltos is as silent and easy as anything at all else in the section, but the powertrain could be improved. The Seltos can sense gutless in specified driving conditions many thanks to an engine that does not arrive alive right up until the middle of its rev assortment and a transmission that is normally a few of gears far too higher. This combination can seriously hamper low-pace drivability. When you consider off from a standstill it really is a little bit soft, but even when the car is moving it feels pokey. The engine does not have adequate off-idle torque to get matters moving and the gearbox is reluctant to downshift.  

2021 Kia Seltos

This is the up-stage engine, which is great for one hundred seventy five horsepower.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Fortunately, there is certainly an effortless resolution to this lethargic performance: placing the Seltos in sport method. Not only does this tighten up the steering sense, it also retains the transmission from going upshift-outrageous, which helps make this car a great deal additional fulfilling to travel. The trade-off, of training course, is probably a little bit minimized fuel economy, but it really is nicely well worth it in my ebook.

That seven-pace transmission shifts quickly and is generally easy, but it really is nonetheless not as nice as a regular torque-converter automatic. In some cases there is certainly a faint juddering feeling when having off from a quit and it feels slow when going from travel to reverse or vice versa. 

Apart from the gearbox, I have just one other minimal quibble about how this car drives. The brake pedal is far too sensitive, resulting in full-on panic stops when you just wished to slow down for a household pace bump. A tiny volume of strain goes a prolonged way in this Kia.

In get to maintain up with rivals, new autos these days are basically essential to have a assortment of advanced basic safety technologies, and the Seltos is no exception. The Kia Push Sensible suite incorporates matters like lane-departure warning, automatic higher beams and lane-keeping assist. These options are typical on all models, save the most essential LX trim. Outside of that stuff, you can also get blind-location monitoring, rear cross-visitors collision avoidance assist and even adaptive cruise regulate with quit-and-go capability.

The 2021 Seltos is a great addition to Kia’s utility car lineup. Even the entirely loaded SX model feels like a great price, checking out for $29,485, such as location. The Seltos is fashionable, with a higher-high-quality and spacious interior, plus it offers lots of engineering. Apart from its from time to time-recalcitrant transmission and brake pedal that is a little bit far too delicate, it really is rather effortless to propose. 

2021 Kia Seltos

Entrance or rear, the Seltos is a fashionable tiny crossover.


Craig Cole/Roadshow