Kia hopes for a bargain-price hit with Telluride-looking Seltos small SUV

The 2021 Kia Seltos.
The 2021 Kia Seltos. –Kia

LOS ANGELES — Kia will add a feature-laden subcompact SUV to its lineup early in 2020. Called the Seltos, the SUV slots into the brand’s lineup between the funky little Soul and the Sportage, which no one has ever accused of being overburdened with personality.

The Seltos — there’s no word yet on what, if anything, the name means, so don’t ask — builds on the looks of the large Kia Telluride SUV that’s been one of 2019’s runaway hits. The Seltos will cost about half as much — all-wheel-drive models will start under $22,000, FWD lower — but Kia plans to offer unaccustomed features in entry-level SUVs.

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The Seltos will offer a pair of four-cylinder engines: a base 146-horsepower 2.0L and 176-hp 1.6L turbo. The engine will shut off automatically if it’s left idling for 10 minutes, a safety feature to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.

The AWD system will have a locking center differential that can split torque between the front and rear wheels for traction in severe conditions.

With 7.2 inches of ground clearance, the Seltos should be immediately recognizable as an SUV, unlike some small utilities.

Available features will include:

–10.25-inch touchscreen

–8-speaker Bose audio

–Music-linked mood lighting

–Apple CarPlay

–Android Auto

–Wireless charging

–Blind spot alert and assist

–17- or 18-inch alloy wheels

–Drowsy driver alert

–Forward collision alert and pedestrian detection

–Lane departure alert and assist

–Rear occupant alert

–Adaptive cruise control with lane following assist

Kia also showed a pair of concepts to show how lift kits, light bars and other modifications could boost the Seltos’s appeal. Kia says it has no plan to build either of them, but it’d be a surprise if aftermarket customizers don’t take the hint.

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