2021 Kia Seltos Pros and Cons Review: Honey, I Shrunk the Telluride


  • Actual SUV styling
  • Effectively-tuned CVT
  • Surprisingly spacious inside


  • Some low-cost inside supplies
  • 4-star NHTSA security score

The 2021 Kia Seltos is admittedly, actually good. Though its direct competitors contains greater than a dozen other subcompact SUVs, the Seltos is such a superb all-arounder that we’d additionally suggest it to these shopping a segment up, in the compacts. Just like the Telluride, our 2020 SUV of the Year, the Seltos establishes itself as greater than only a bundle of options and a very good guarantee.

Begin with the styling, the place the 2021 Seltos will get proper what so many inexpensive SUVs miss—it appears like an SUV and never a tall hatchback. Even for those who don’t just like the pops of character supplied by eye-catching particulars in and out, the Seltos resembles a bigger SUV than it really is.

View Different 2021 SUV of the Year Contenders and Finalists Here

That impression continues inside, the place the Seltos delighted us with its spacious, reclinable rear seats. The excellent package deal is marred solely barely by the occasional low-cost supplies the driving force and passengers will discover throughout the trim lineup. However that’s anticipated on an SUV with a price ticket starting from about $23,000 to $30,000. What you don’t count on, nonetheless, is a refined driving expertise.

“Inside the first 100 toes you may really feel the standard of engineering on this automotive,” options editor Scott Evans stated about our 2.0-liter base-engine FWD tester (pictured in white). “It turns in sharply and handles physique motions effectively. It rides very effectively over uneven, bumpy roads, higher than even among the luxurious autos right here. That is only a very nice automotive to drive.”

A number of editors complimented the tuning of the CVT—a notable accomplishment contemplating how a lot we disliked Kia’s earlier CVT efforts. Increased trims get extra energy from a 1.6-liter turbo-four mated with a dual-clutch transmission. We’ve seen this mix in lots of Hyundais and Kias through the years, with some harsh shifting outcomes. The Seltos exhibits Kia has taken these classes to coronary heart, offering smoother shifts with out dropping the immediacy of the DCT’s quick-shifting objective.

If it had been our cash, nonetheless, most of us would follow the two.0-liter/CVT pairing. The automotive is extra responsive than you’d count on, but it nonetheless earns 29/34 mpg metropolis/freeway in EPA exams for FWD fashions or 27/31 mpg with AWD. Though subcompact SUVs normally ship disappointing gasoline economic system that merely matches the mpg of bigger compacts, the Seltos’ effectivity competes close to the highest of its section.

Kia nonetheless delivers worth on the top-trim SX Turbo, which incorporates the faster 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four, spritely dealing with for one of these automobile, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen with Kia’s intuitive infotainment setup—the type of function you wouldn’t count on on a $30,000 subcompact SUV. The trip is a bit agency (however not harsh), and a pair judges commented on the 1.6-liter’s turbo lag. The upgraded faux-leather seats felt a bit rubbery, too.

Except for an NHTSA four-star total security score (out of 5 stars) and an inside with so-so supplies, the 2021 Seltos may be very likable—particularly with the bottom engine. Not like its sibling Soul, the Seltos presents AWD throughout its lineup, in addition to hill descent management and a differential lock. And its smart cruise and lane centering tech are higher than what some luxurious autos costing twice as a lot supply.

MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina captured how we really feel: “The Seltos is compelling each means you take a look at it. Kia cracked the code on small crossovers.”

Added Evans: “Now the query you need to be asking is just not whether or not the Seltos or the Soul is healthier, however whether or not you desire a metropolis automotive or an off-road automotive? A seashore cruiser or a mountain bike? It’s not about higher. It’s about desire.”

2021 Kia Seltos S; Kia Seltos SX Turbo T-GDI
ENGINE TYPE I-4, alum block/head; Turbocharged I-4, alum block/head
VALVETRAIN DOHC, Four valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 122.Zero cu in/1,999 cc; 97.1 cu in/1,591 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 12.5:1; 10.0:1
POWER (SAE NET) 146 hp @ 6,200 rpm; 175 hp @ 6,000 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm; 195 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
REDLINE 6,500 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 20.0; 18.5 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION Cont variable auto; 7-speed twin-clutch auto
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE/LOW RATIO 6.05:half of.33:1; 4.63:1 (1st, 2nd, 4th, fifth), 3.61:1(third, sixth, seventh, R)/2.58:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar; torsion beam, coil springs; multilink, coil springs, anti-roll bar
BRAKES, F; R 15.0-, 16.0-in vented disc; 14.0-, 15.0-in disc, ABS
WHEELS 7.5 x 17-in; 7.5 x 18-in forged aluminum
TIRES 215/55R17 94V (M+S) Kumho Solis TA31+; 235/45R18 94V Kumo Majesty 9 Solus TA91
WHEELBASE 103.5 in
TRACK, F/R 62.0/62.Four in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 172.Zero x 70.9 x 63.6 in
APPRCH/DEPART ANGLE 28.0/28.Zero deg
CURB WEIGHT 2,927; 3,243 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 60/40; 59/41%
HEADROOM, F/M/R 40.0/38.Four in
LEGROOM, F/M/R 41.4/38.Zero in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/M/R 55.5/54.7 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH F/M/R 62.8/26.6 cu ft
0-30 3.2; 2.7 sec
0-40 4.5; 3.9
0-50 6.2; 5.6
0-60 8.3; 7.4
0-70 11.0; 9.9
0-80 14.3; 13.1
0-90 18.6; 17.2
0-100  —
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 4.2; 3.9
QUARTER MILE 16.5 sec @ 85.5 mph; 15.9 sec @ 86.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 122; 117 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.77; 0.82 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.Eight sec @ 0.56 g (avg); 27.Four sec @ 0.63 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,800; 2,000 rpm
BASE PRICE $23,110; $29,010
PRICE AS TESTED $23,585; $29,485
AIRBAGS 6: Twin entrance, entrance facet, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 10 yrs/100,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 29/34/31; 25/30/27 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 116/99; 135/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.62; 0.72 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded common

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