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2021 Kia Seltos first drive review: The hits keep coming

Stylish, roomy and unexpectedly top quality, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably exceptional. This smaller crossover is the most recent in a extended sequence of hits from the South Korean automaker, a conga line of cars that involves styles like the Soul, the Stinger and, most not too long ago, the Telluride a few-row SUV.

Putting the screws to rivals like the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, the Seltos is a smaller crossover built to squeeze amongst the funky-searching Soul hatchback and a little bit much larger Sportage utility motor vehicle.

Environment this Kia aside from individuals styles and its most important rivals, the Seltos is supposed to be one thing of an off-roader. Naturally, it really is no Jeep Wrangler, but there is some actual substance beneath that tough styling, a little bit of steak to go with the sizzle. Ground clearance measures seven.3 inches, the exact same amount of money you get in a Honda Pilot. This vehicle’s technique and departure angles every single clock in at 28 degrees, producing it reasonably practical off street. At last, a nifty all-wheel-generate process with a locking middle differential is made available in specific trim stages, which can evenly split torque amongst the entrance and rear axles for increased traction in slippery, sloppy or or else severe circumstances. What is not so awesome are the entrance and rear “skid plates.” They may perhaps glance to present some practical protection, but they are nothing at all but flimsy plastic.

The Seltos is accessible in 5 unique grades. Serving foundation obligation is the reasonably priced LX version stepping up from there you can get an ES model, an S 2., S one.6T or the array-topping SX, which is what I’m screening right here. As for pricing, this motor vehicle kicks off at $23,110 such as vacation spot expenses, which are $one,120.

Kia is killing it with interiors these times, and the Seltos’ cabin is an additional example of that great operate. Sure, almost every little thing inside of is created of hard plastic, but nothing at all is blatantly low-cost. The buttons and switches experience excellent, there are lots of attention-grabbing textures and make top quality is exceptional. Virtually all Seltos styles arrive with a leather-based-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, though EX and SX variations also aspect a wi-fi charging pad, leatherette seating surfaces and press-button start.

An eight-speaker Bose audio process is typical on top-shelf SX styles, ditto for a ten.25-inch, superior-resolution touchscreen. All other variations of the Seltos arrive with an eight-inch display screen, though no issue the model, Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are bundled.

The Seltos has a wheelbase of 103.5 inches and an total length of 172 inches. That will make it about the exact same dimensions as a Honda HR-V or Nissan Kicks. These dimensions present generous interior area. With the rear seats up, you get just shy 27 cubic toes of junk-hauling ability fold ’em down and that determine grows to almost sixty three cubic toes, which is just about as a lot as in a Chevy Equinox.

As with the cargo keep, this vehicle’s again seat is big, with lots of space for legs and heads. Front or rear, 6-foot-tall folks should really have no problems fitting in the Seltos.

2021 Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a flexible hauler.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

By now you may perhaps be asking by yourself, “What does Seltos mean?” Kia states it really is named just after Celtus, the son of Heracles in Greek mythology. But there is certainly nothing at all valiant about what’s underneath this crossover’s hood. The foundation motor is a obviously aspirated, 2.-liter four-cylinder, excellent for a relatively dismal 146 horsepower and 132 pound-toes of torque, matched with a repeatedly variable transmission. What you can expect to genuinely want is the up-level, one.6-liter turbo. This power-fed dynamo delivers a extra livable one hundred seventy five hp, but extra importantly, torque tops out at 195 lb-ft. Generating the most of that output is a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

The Seltos’ foundation motor can be had with either entrance- or all-wheel generate, but the one.6T only will come with AWD. Designs so geared up should really return 25 miles for each gallon all over town, 30 on the highway and 27 mpg put together. By natural means, without having the turbocharged motor or all-wheel generate, other variations of the Seltos are a little bit extra successful.

The Seltos is as quiet and clean as just about anything else in the phase, but the powertrain could be improved. The Seltos can experience gutless in specific driving circumstances many thanks to an motor that doesn’t arrive alive till the center of its rev array and a transmission which is usually a pair of gears far too superior. This mixture can seriously hamper reduced-speed drivability. When you take off from a standstill it really is a little bit gentle, but even once the motor vehicle is moving it feels pokey. The motor doesn’t have adequate off-idle torque to get items moving and the gearbox is unwilling to downshift.  

2021 Kia Seltos

This is the up-level motor, which is excellent for one hundred seventy five horsepower.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Fortunately, there is certainly an quick answer to this lethargic functionality: placing the Seltos in activity mode. Not only does this tighten up the steering experience, it also keeps the transmission from likely upshift-insane, which will make this motor vehicle a lot extra pleasing to generate. The trade-off, of system, is possible a little bit lessened gasoline financial state, but it really is properly worth it in my guide.

That seven-speed transmission shifts promptly and is generally clean, but it really is nonetheless not as enjoyable as a classic torque-converter automated. Sometimes there is certainly a faint juddering feeling when having off from a end and it feels sluggish when likely from generate to reverse or vice versa. 

Apart from the gearbox, I have one particular other small quibble about how this motor vehicle drives. The brake pedal is far too sensitive, ensuing in complete-on stress stops when you just wished to sluggish down for a residential speed bump. A smaller amount of money of stress goes a extended way in this Kia.

In order to keep up with rivals, new vehicles currently are virtually expected to have a array of superior safety technologies, and the Seltos is no exception. The Kia Push Sensible suite involves items like lane-departure warning, automated superior beams and lane-holding support. These characteristics are typical on all styles, conserve the most basic LX trim. Further than that things, you can also get blind-place monitoring, rear cross-targeted traffic collision avoidance support and even adaptive cruise handle with end-and-go capacity.

The 2021 Seltos is a great addition to Kia’s utility motor vehicle lineup. Even the fully loaded SX model feels like a excellent value, examining out for $29,485, such as vacation spot. The Seltos is trendy, with a superior-top quality and roomy interior, moreover it gives lots of know-how. Apart from its sometimes-recalcitrant transmission and brake pedal which is a little bit far too delicate, it really is relatively quick to recommend. 

2021 Kia Seltos

Front or rear, the Seltos is a trendy smaller crossover.

Craig Cole/Roadshow