BEHIND THE WHEEL: The 2021 Kia Seltos is just the right vibe for all the right reasons
If you are looking for a splashy little SUV that won’t do too much damage to your pocketbook then consider the 2021 Kia Seltos. With enough cargo space for all, a personality enhanced by diverse color options and upscale design, this Kia turns heads.
The Kia Seltos competition includes not only the same brand Kia Soul, but also the Hyundai Kona, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3 and the Subaru Crosstek.
The Seltos is a bit longer than the sister Soul, but more feminine than the tough Sportage.
The buyer will also be wowed by the modern design that includes a two-tone roof if desired and stacked headlights.
The 2021 Kia Seltos comes in five trim levels LX, S, S Turbo, EX and SX. Standard feature highlights on the LX include 17-inch wheels, USB port, keyless entry, tinted rear glass, eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The S trim includes all the same except the all-wheel drive bundle and heated front seats are optional versus standard as well as two-tone paint. There are fog lights, heated mirrors, and simulated leather upholstery.
On the S Turbo trim you get 18-inch wheels and exterior trim color changes and the EX trim offers the 146-horsepower turbo engine as well as a sunroof, leather upholstery with heated front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, automatic climate control and front and rear USB ports and wireless device charging.
For the top-tier trim SX, you get the EX only add the turbo engine along with LED headlights and fog lights, an optional sunroof, cargo cover, 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, premium Bose audio system and adaptive cruise control.
Under the hood the 2021 Kia Seltos has a 146-horsepower, four-cylinder engine in the base model and several other trims. This is paired with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive.
For the S Turbo trim there is the 175-horsepower engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and the all-wheel drive comes standard.
Kia considers safety first and on the S trim you get features like lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and automatic high beams. Compare that to the S Turbo option and add the standard blind-spot monitoring and standard rear cross-traffic alert.
Other safety features on the 2021 Kia Seltos include forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.
The interior features in the Seltos are high-end given the low price tag and the vehicle is large enough for four adults easily. For hauling there is 62.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Otherwise, behind the second row there is about 20 cubic feet. That outshines much of the competition in this class.
All new this year, the 2021 Kia Seltos does offer an overall smooth ride on the highway. The interior noise level is minimal, the ride is bumpier when taking the Seltos on some of the more unpredictable roads these days with construction.
Keep in mind the Kia Seltos is taller and longer than the Soul and I like the European flare it offers. Also, to point out is the eight-inch touchscreen on the dash, but an upgrade will give you a 10.3-inch touchscreen, which is standard on the SX trim.
SHOULD YOU NEED TO KNOW: The 2021 Kia Seltos is the latest in a line of Kia introductions that offer another option in the small crossover SUV line of choices.
MILEAGE: Mileage on the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD I drove came in at 25 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway with a combined of 27 miles per gallon overall.
COST: The cost of the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD I drove was $29,485.