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2021 Kia Seltos Is an Entry Level Fancy SUV

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a subcompact SUV that is positioning itself between Soul and Sportage, and will be offered with all-wheel drive as an option.


When you take a look at the Kia line, it's hard to believe that just 20 years ago, this company started out in the country with a handful of models of higher quality that doubtful. SUVs are growing across the automotive industry. There are now three SUVs at Kia (Soul, Seltos and Niro) while there are two at parent company Hyundai (Venue and Kona).

But we are not talking about clones. The 2021 Kia Seltos is not a copy of the Kona, and even less of the Venue. And it's not just any variant of the Niro, let alone Soul within the family. In fact, the 2021 Seltos takes advantage of its own platform. Higher and longer than the Kona, the platform offers more and it's obvious when you discover it, statically or behind the wheel. To situate it well, it is positioned between the Niro and the Sportage in the range. More spacious than the first and less than the second, it is more trendy than the two because of its more recent design, obviously.

Trims and Pricing

The 2021 Kia Seltos trim levels are LX, S, EX and SX. The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos has a base price of $21,990, which is about average for the subcompact SUV class. The Seltos' top trim starts at $27,890. The SX Turbo AWD with full package is priced at $29,485.

Starting at $21,990, the 2021 Kia Seltos S1 comes with some impressive standard features, and options like All-Wheel Drive and S Turbo with 195 lb.-ft. torque and 7-Speed Quick-Shift DCT Automatic:

Here are some other standards features:

  • Automatic emergency braking technology
  • Lane keeping and departure technology
  • LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights
  • Front fog lights
  • Roof rack rails
  • Cloth and Sofino seat trim with blue accents
  • Heated front seats (on AWD models)

In terms of design, we don't see any resemblance to a Hyundai product . The 2021 Seltos has a more adventurous look, displaying a front part that incorporates the latest face of the manufacturer with a touch of Telluride and a hint of Sportage. The rear part is more conventional, but nevertheless elegant, revealing almost Chevrolet Trailblazer tunes.

2021 Kia Seltos rear view

In my opinion, the best value for money resides in the EX AWD version at a price of $ 27,595, which entitles all-wheel drive as well as a host of options and driver assistance technologies, such as a sunroof, leather seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot sensor, emergency braking in the event of a collision, transverse traffic detection in reverse mode and even a remote starter.

In addition, the turbo engine is reserved only for the most expensive version. In my opinion, Kia could have offered it as a unique option, like a unique trim.

The Turbo

With the turbo engine, the experience is obviously different. The 7-Speed Quick-Shift DCT Automatic transmission helps to harness the power really well. While it offers quick and smooth transitions when driving normally, it's a little lazy when the driver hits the accelerator.So when you put the pedal on the floor, you must first deal with an annoying delay. Once the organs of the vehicle are awakened, it's convincing, but again, the transitions of the box could be more flexible, faster. But I like this laziness of the engine. Here is why. When your passion make you to drive faster or especially when young people want to immediately drive faster the system will not allow them to do that. Therefore, in this way it is safer.

The 2021 Kia Seltos has an interesting size. It is not too big or too small. Its driving is satisfying and the passengers have a lot of space in the interior. Once behind the wheel, the driver benefits from the well-born chassis, and a well-balanced handling.

2021 Kia Seltos side view yellow color

Here are some strong points we liked.

The 2021 Kia Seltos has a vivid turbo engine and dual clutch transmission, a healthy road behavior and a good amount of interior space. Speaking of the interior, it has generous standard equipment and simple controls. I particularly liked its audio quality and was truly surprised how great is the audio quality when you connect your phone to the infotainment system and make a phone call. In fact, I have found that the phone connection sound quality is one of the best in Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

The Interior

One thing is certain: the 2021 Kia Seltos interior is among the most spacious and airy in the category. We can see it especially in the back, where the generous legroom makes it possible to easily accommodate two adults. Some of the interior dimensions of the Seltos even exceed those of the Kia Sportage, located one row above in the hierarchy of Kia SUVs, and sold for almost $ 3,000 more.

2021 Kia Seltos Interior

This generosity is also applied to the loading volume of the trunk, especially when the rear seat is folded. Even when in place, the double-level floor and the length of the surface create one of the most practical boxes in the segment. However, the thin carpet and the cheap plastic on the walls can wear out very quickly.

The finish is better in the rest of the interior. Hard plastics dominate there too, but it's common in this category. The precise assembly and the contrasting trims still make the environment welcoming, just like the seats, which provide good support without being too firm. Proof that luxury sneaks into entry-level vehicles, the front bucket seats are not only heated, but also ventilated and electric in the Seltos EX Premium and SX Turbo. Even the rear occupants benefit from heated seats in these versions!

Perched on top of the dashboard, as the trend wants, the touch screen has the same logical multimedia system as in other Kia vehicles. Whether it measures 8 inches (LX and EX) or 10.25 inches (EX Premium and SX Turbo), this display is accompanied by "physical" buttons and a duo of wheels which facilitate access to the main functions. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are there, as is a pair of USB ports. The two high-end versions are entitled to a wireless charger for mobile devices, while the SX Turbo is distinguished by a Bose sound system.

This model also includes a head-up display projected on a plastic lens that comes out from above the dashboard. Less elegant than direct projection on the windshield, this solution remains practical. Regardless of the version, the traditional dials and the trip computer display the same simplicity as the main controls . Together with the easy-to-modulate driving position, they contribute to the excellent ergonomics of the Seltos.

My driving experience of the 2021 Kia Seltos was very satisfying. It displays a very good road behavior. The turbo engine distances the competition in terms of flexibility and breath at medium speed. Without being a bomb, it allows you to accelerate effortlessly in all circumstances.

Kia has to do an aggressive marketing for the 2021 Seltos as all major car manufacturers make SUVs, and I think this vehicle can be a great success for Kia.

Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.

Reference: CAAQuebec, 985FM and RMP Web.