The Kia Soul has proven to be very popular in the compact family car market and its replacement – the 2021 Kia Seltos – does pretty well to build on that momentum, even though the competition is tougher than ever before.
Compared with its predecessor, the newcomer features substantial changes that give you a refined driving experience. It’s a bit larger in size than Kia’s Soul but not as expensive or as big as the more pricier Sportage. The Seltos manages to deliver style and space at an impressive price point.
It comes equipped with a base 146 hp engine but you can opt for a more powerful turbocharged engine for 175 hp. For such a compact SUV, the Kia Seltos provides plenty of oomph in terms of acceleration. Unlike the Soul, the Seltos comes with an all-wheel-drive option, which is highly recommended if you want that extra traction on dirt roads and in bad weather.
Interior and Connectivity
A quick look at the interior will reveal premium-quality material, which almost makes you feel as if you got more than you paid for. For such a compact SUV, the Seltos has plenty of room for over four adults. You can make room for storage space by folding down the rear seats for about 63 cubic feet of cargo space, which is more than we can say for most compact SUVs.
The touchscreen infotainment display is compatible with Android Auto Integration and Apple CarPlay, but we recommend getting the optional 10.3 inch display. Navigation gives you the ability to split the screen so you simultaneously view the map and make changes to the radio station.
Depending on the trim you choose the Seltos can be equipped with a smartphone charging pad, up to 3 USB ports, and a 7.0 inch colour display in the gauge cluster. Another pricier addition is the 8 speaker Bose audio system along with fractal textured speaker grilles.
Ride and Handling
Unlike most subcompact SUVs that offer disappointing fuel economy, the Seltos delivers a superior driving demeanour at a competitive fuel economy. Base models are powered with a 2.0 four litre cylinder, but higher end trims come with a turbocharged 1.6 litre. The base model features driver-assistance features and comes with infotainment equipment – which is standard fare for most modern SUVs.
In terms of safety, the Seltos is very likable – especially because the company has rolled out AWD across most of its trims, as well as differential lock and hill descent control. It is worth mentioning that the lane centring and smart cruise technology are a tad bit better than what many luxury vehicles at twice the price tag are offering.
The Sport+ comes with six airbags, traction controls, pedestrian and cyclist detection, reversing camera, lane keep assistance, and more.
The Seltos rides very well along bumpier and choppier roads, a bit better than some luxury vehicles – which is always a plus in our book.
These are the kind of features you wouldn’t expect on a subcompact SUV in this price tag. That said, there are other good choices in this class, including the Mazda CS-30 and the Hyundai Kona, both of which offer noticeably better handling than the Seltos.
Kia offers some of the best warranties in the industry and the Seltos comes with a 10 year or 100,000 mile power train coverage on its trims. The only other company that comes close to this level of coverage is Hyundai.
The Seltos is an excellent family car that, by and large, has been successfully carried over from the Soul. There is generous occupant space and features plenty of room for adult passengers. The changes are substantial enough for us to recommend buying if you’re in the market for subcompact SUVs.
If you can, try to get the upper trips because they are only modestly pricier than the base model but come with many standard features. A fully loaded SX Turbo isn’t going to break the bank and also combines all the standard features you would expect with a luxury SUV.
The Seltos boasts roomy seats and class-leading cargo. A no-brainer if you have a large family and/or need to haul lots of stuff around.
The entry-level Seltos is vastly superior to what many entry-level variants would be light, making it our choice for anyone looking to buy a compact SUV.
Are you interested in buying the 2021 Kia Seltos? Head on over to carexpert.com.au for more in-depth Seltos reviews.