2024 Kia Seltos review: Great small SUV, terrible name
Positives: Lots of space; great technology; Exuberant acceleration with turbo engine. Smart design throughout; Strong safety ratings
cons: Below average fuel economy for the turbo engine; Weak core engine
Go ahead and forget the name for a second. In fact, you’re probably always better off forgetting the name, and perhaps calling it something completely different — whatever you concoct will almost certainly be better than the 2024 Kia Seltos. Frankly, this little SUV deserves better than to look like a drug advertised during “Danger!“With scary side effects. It’s one of the best small SUVs we recommend, and a great example of why you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. It offers plenty of passenger and cargo room for the price, exceptional technology, a rare engine upgrade option, and attractive style , especially indoors.
The Seltos gets its first major update for 2024, including a subtle redesign that makes the front and rear a little less busy. The corner-to-corner LED taillight bar is probably the most noticeable change. The interior gets the same curved, dual-screen structure as other Kia vehicles, with screen size determined by trim level (most get the larger combo). A new Seltos X-Line trim level gets a more aggressive grille and raised roof rails to make accessory mounting easier. It also gets the same turbo engine upgrade as the SX, which gets 20 more horsepower for 2024 coupled with a traditional eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the old dual-clutch automatic.
Finally, the Seltos is a better option. The excellent new Chevy Trax and Buick Invista have taken away much of Kia’s value proposition, but the Seltos nonetheless offers more equipment (including the option of all-wheel drive), a higher-quality cabin and an engine upgrade. The Seltos is also a compelling alternative to our other recommended choices in the subcompact SUV segment, such as the Mazda CX-30 and Volkswagen Taos, while outperforming the popular but disappointing Honda HR-V and Toyota Corolla Cross. Well, except for that name. Eek.
Interior and technology | Passenger and cargo space Performance and fuel economy
What does leadership look like? Pricing and Trim Levels | Fault ratings and safety features
What’s new for 2024?
The Seltos gets a subtle, but substantial, update for 2024. You can read about the highlights above or dive deeper in our 2024 Kia Seltos first drive review.
Seltos SX interior with ‘Brown’ color option; Seltos S blue seat option; Base Seltos LX with smaller screen assembly
What’s the Seltos’ interior and in-car technology like?
If there’s one area where the Seltos stands out at its relatively low price, it’s the quality of its interior materials. The door sills, instrument surfaces, center console and luggage area are all made of hard plastic – and there’s much more throughout than you’ll find in a Kia Sportage or even a Niro. To be fair, this isn’t unusual for this segment, and there are actually higher quality materials than the widely popular Chevy Trax/Buick Invista twins. Like these, though, Kia’s designers have cleverly adapted to the dictates of its accountants by elevating several key areas with upgraded materials and distinctive design elements. The 3D geometric pattern of the speaker grilles, the metallic-looking passenger handle, the stylish silver trim piece surrounding the air vents and start button, and optional upgrades that include distinct seat colors and, on upper trim levels, matching imitation leather trim. It definitely looks more expensive than it is.
Also helping the visual appeal of the interior is the new-for-2024 curved dual-screen structure that extends across the dashboard. The base LX gets a combination of a 4.2-inch instrument panel and an 8-inch infotainment screen with surrounding physical buttons; All other models get 10.25-inch displays for both the gauges (with four layout options) and the infotainment system. The latter’s actual menu controls and knobs move down below the climate controls, which feels odd, but puts them within quick reach. While the base system is certainly easy to use, the upgrade is one of the best, most feature-packed, and easiest-to-use infotainment systems available. We also like the two-tier storage solution dedicated to smartphones: the smaller drawer above is for phone holding and storage (it’s also a wireless charger in the upper trims) and the deep bin below with two USB ports can store another phone or whatever else you want. Unfortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can’t be connected wirelessly, but wired versions are standard.
How big is Seltos?
The Seltos may be a subcompact SUV with much smaller exterior dimensions than its larger Sportage sibling, but it still offers plenty of interior space. In fact, it’s one of the few options in this segment that would be well-suited for small families. There’s enough room for a large child seat, and the square roof and rear doors make loading and unloading this child easier than many competitors. For those without kids, the back seat offers plenty of comfort and room for a full-size adult without the low roof and claustrophobic view of some competitors. The eight-way power driver’s seat found on EX, X-Line and SX trim levels offers an abundance of adjustability and space.
Cargo space is also very good for this class. There’s a generous 26.6 cubic feet of space in the back, which allowed us to secure five suitcases with room to spare. Although it’s not the best in its small class (the Ford Bronco Sport and Volkswagen Taos are larger), it’s at the top. The maximum cargo capacity of 62.8 cubic feet is also generous and speaks to its boxy dimensions that should make transporting larger items easier.
What are the fuel economy and performance specifications of the Kia Seltos?
The Seltos LX, S, and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a modest 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a continuously variable transmission that simulates eight gear ratios. Front-wheel drive is standard on S and EX models; All-wheel drive is optional on those models and, curiously, standard on the base LX model. Kia claims zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds with standard front-wheel drive, and 9.6 seconds with optional all-wheel drive. These will be among the slowest numbers in the sector. Fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined. These drop to 27/31/29 with all-wheel drive. These numbers make it among the most efficient in its class, although the differences are minimal.
The X-Line and SX models get a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 195 hp and 195 lb-ft. Few options in this sector offer anything close to this. The 0-60 time is listed at a relatively modest 8 seconds by Kia, however Motor direction I clocked it at 7.3 seconds — a time that seems more in line with how quick the Seltos feels. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine as well as a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy drops to 25 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 26 mpg combined. We managed just 23.5 mpg in just over 100 miles of mixed city and highway driving.
What is the Seltos driving experience like?
We have yet to test a Seltos with the base powertrain. We found it to be underpowered in the lighter Kia Forte sedan – which is probably not a good sign – and the IVT is unusual. It simulates gear ratios during most driving conditions, making it feel natural enough (a bit like a dual-clutch gearbox in Turbo models, in fact), but when accelerating hard, it will hold on to the revs like a CVT does before ” Shift up” at the end. rate. It’s strange, but again, we haven’t experienced it in a Seltos.
Turbo models are a different story. It offers the kind of power that might be above average for the segment above, while blowing most smaller competitors out of the water. Fuel economy certainly takes a hit, but the low-end grunt and (relatively) quick acceleration should be a welcome trade-off for many. The new eight-speed automatic transmission for 2024 is essentially unnoticed during normal driving, which is generally a good thing, as it has none of the unusual mannerisms of the base engine’s CVT or the previous turbodiesel’s dual-clutch automatic transmission. When more aggressive shifts are needed, the transmission isn’t as responsive as that old dual-clutch. The Sport Engagement mode doesn’t change the character of the car’s acceleration as before either. However, for most drivers, we think this ultimately represents a net positive result.
The rest of the Seltos’ driving experience is typical for a Kia: capable, composed but not particularly memorable. The ride overcomes larger bumps surprisingly well for an inexpensive crossover, perhaps in part because 18-inch wheels are the largest size available. At the same time, its chassis shows poise in corners and we can happily take it along a mountain road without feeling like a hopeless fish out of water. It never transcends the sporting realm the way the Mazda CX-30 (or even the Chevy Trax) does, but that’s more a fact than a complaint. There’s also a fair amount of road noise inside, which is another tell-tale sign of its price point.
What other Kia Seltos reviews can I read?
First drive review of the 2024 Kia Seltos
We detail all the changes made for 2024, including the upgraded turbo powertrain and new X-Line trim level.
Kia Seltos luggage test
We find out how much the Seltos’ 26.6 cubic feet of cargo capacity is in terms of the actual stuff.
First drive review of the Kia Seltos
Our first experience with a Seltos. Although changes have occurred since then, you can read more about its architecture. There are also some pictures of her with deer.
What is the price of the 2024 Seltos?
Because the Seltos LX comes standard with all-wheel drive, it’s only $600 cheaper than a better-equipped Seltos S. In a way, this gives the Seltos two entry-level options: one that prioritizes all-weather traction and one for comfort/convenience features. A similar situation exists with the EX and Meanwhile, the SX offers near-luxury levels of technology and features for the price of entry-level compact models.
All prices below include the $1,325 destination charge. Since all-wheel drive is more tied to trim level than other SUVs, we’ve noted below its inclusion as standard.
LX AWD: $25,785
S front-wheel drive: $26,385
All-wheel drive: $27,885
Ex-front-wheel drive: $27,185
Ex-all-wheel drive: $29,385
X-Line AWD: $30,085
SX all-wheel drive: $31,385
What are the Seltos’ safety ratings and driver assistance features?
Every 2024 Seltos includes standard forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, driver inattention warning system, and automatic high beams. All but the LX include blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. Only the SX adds Kia’s excellent adaptive cruise control with steering assist (“Highway Driving Assist”).
The NHTSA has not crash-tested the 2024 Seltos at the time of this writing, but the result is unlikely to be different from last year’s: four out of five stars for overall and frontal protection; Five stars for side protection. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not tested the 2024 Seltos, but chose it last year as a Top Safety Pick for the best possible crash-prevention ratings. The standard halogen headlights earned a “Poor” rating, while the SX’s LED upgrade earned the best possible rating of “Good.” These headlights are the same for 2024.