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2024 Kia Seltos Premiere Showcases New Features And Tech, But No Electrification

At the 2022 Los Angeles auto show this week Kia premiered its refreshed 2024 Seltos compact SUV for the U.S. market. The new Seltos has a host of new features, design tweaks, additional safety and entertainment technology, more powerful engines, and 3 new colors as well. But one feature is conspicuously absent: there is no electrified version to be found.

Previously, I considered whether Kia might have a hybrid (HEV) version of the Seltos in the works. That now doesn’t seem to be the case for the 2024 model year, in the U.S. at least. For the current year, the Seltos is solidly in the middle tier of Kia’s U.S. sales by model, with 6 Kia models selling in higher numbers and about 5 or 6 selling in lower figures. Kia has sold 36,655 Seltos SUVs through October of this year, which is down about 20% from last year. Certainly, the new features and other revisions will help generate renewed interest in the Seltos, but I can’t help but think Kia is missing an opportunity here. They could make a hybrid version of the Seltos, which is an “entry level” or gateway to larger, more expensive SUV models in Kia’s lineup, two of which have HEV and PHEV versions. Such an entry level, mainstream, compact SUV hybrid would give Kia an advantage over Japanese, American, and European competitors which mostly lack hybrid SUV options in this smallest size. In fact it appears that the only other diminutive hybrid SUV/crossover competitor is from Lexus, in the UX hybrid that starts just north of $35,000. The theoretical Selots hybrid would likely start at around $10,000 less than the Lexus UX and that could go a long way to help Seltos’ sales figures improve.

I would assume, if the brand in question were not Kia or Hyundai, that the availability and pricing of the “size up” compact SUV hybrids like the CRV from Honda or the Rav 4 from Toyota was the reason not to offer a hybrid option on their smallest SUV. But Kia and Hyundai are committed to expanding their electrified vehicle lines and have ambitious growth targets for their hybrid and electrified vehicles, each year for the remainder of the decade. Certainly, Kia’s new Niro HEV, PHEV, and EV, Sportage HEV and PHEV, Sorento HEV and PHEV, along with the EV6 are all contributing to Kia’s healthy electrified vehicle sales growth, to date. And certainly, more electrified options will be available from Kia next year and the year after, so perhaps I am simply a bit impatient. But it seems to me that the only reasons Kia would hold off on introducing at least one additional HEV version of the Seltos is either: a shortage of hybrid components, or they may be focusing on a different model first. That different model could be any of their other vehicles, if true. But if the trend of offering hybrid versions of their gas only SUVs continues, and starts with their higher volume sellers, then it would make sense that the Telluride would be the next hybridized SUV, if not the Seltos, since it is also one of their top sellers.

The additions of new safety and infotainment tech, design features, a new trim and colors as well as more power in the 2024 Seltos will stand up well against competing entry level compact SUVs from other brands. The new Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features in particular, which include Forward Collision Avoidance with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning (in upper trims) provide enhancements that may help the Seltos stand out among other entry level compact SUVs.

What do you think, readers? Does the lack of an electrified Seltos disappoint you? Should Kia have at least made an HEV version for 2024? Please leave your thoughts and questions below.

Image courtesy of Kia.

Justin Hart has owned and driven electric vehicles for over 14 years, including a first generation Nissan LEAF, second generation Chevy Volt, Tesla Model 3, an electric bicycle and most recently a Kia Sorento PHEV. He is also an avid SUP rider, poet, photographer and wine lover. He enjoys taking long EV and PHEV road trips to beautiful and serene places with the people he loves. Follow Justin on Twitter for daily KIA EV news coverage.