Car Reviews

The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos is an economical crossover with lots of options

A city-friendly size with key features.

2021 Kia Seltos
The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos. Kia

The 2021 Kia Seltos continues the crossover craze with an all-new vehicle for the Kia lineup. It sits between the more compact Kia Soul and larger Kia Sportage with affordable pricing and a size that’s perfect for city living.

The Seltos is available in four trims with every one priced under $30,000. The base LX starts at $21,990 with all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The S, which adds features including heated outside mirrors and leatherette seats, comes in with the same starting price, but with standard front-wheel drive.

You can get the S with optional all-wheel drive for $23,490. It’s the only trim that offers this choice, which makes it a great value if you don’t happen to live where winter gets fierce. The rest of the lineup is all-wheel drive only, which suits New England just fine.


The S is also available with a more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. While the base 2.0-liter has 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, the turbocharged engine increases those numbers to 175 and 195 respectively.

Those engines offer varying fuel economy. The S with the 2.0-liter engine and front wheel-drive gets an EPA-estimated 29 miles per gallon in the city, 34 on the highway, and 31 combined, making it the best choice for those with a focus on fuel economy.

Add all-wheel drive and fuel economy drops to 27 miles per gallon in the city, 31 on the highway, and 29 combined. Sitting at the bottom is the 1.6-liter with all-wheel drive, which gets an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on the highway, and 27 combined.

Next up in the lineup is the EX at $25,290. This trim takes a step back down to the base engine but adds interior amenities. These include a sunroof with power shade, Premium Sofino leatherette, a 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and heated front seats.

The turbocharged engine returns for the top SX trim. Priced at $27,890, the SX gets a whole host of upgrades including LED headlights and fog lamps and a larger 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. It also gets expanded safety features not available on other trims.


All but the base trim has driver attention warning, forward collision avoidance assist with car and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane following assist, lane keeping assist, and high beam assist. Mid-range trims add blind spot collision avoidance assist and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist. Only the SX adds fusion forward collision avoidance assist with cyclist detection, smart cruise control with idle stop and go, safe exit assist, and highway driving assist.

Despite its affordable price point, the Seltos has a comprehensive infotainment system across the lineup. This includes an eight-inch touchscreen with AM/FM/MP3 along with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for quick and easy smartphone connectivity.

The top SX trim once again gets an upgrade not found elsewhere in the lineup when it comes to infotainment. This includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, telematics, and voice recognition. Audiophiles will appreciate the Bose premium audio system on the SX, which also includes a mood lamp.

Crossover are all about versatility, and the Seltos delivers. There’s room for five passengers in a vehicle that’s perfectly sized for city driving. Its dimensions make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces whether driving down a narrow street or parking in a pint-sized spot. It might be small, but it hides an impressive amount of cargo capacity.


There’s 26.6 cubic feet behind the second row with a wide rear opening and low load floor that makes stowing large items easier. It that’s not enough, the rear seats split-fold 60/40 to increase cargo capacity up to 62.8 cubic feet. Select trims also have roof rails for even more cargo versatility.

The 2021 Kia Seltos is an affordable and well-equipped crossover. A variety of engines and a choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive offer something for every crossover shopper. Look for it now in your local dealership.


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