Many grown folks are back to a household of two. The kids are gone, and now, empty nesters are just trying to find a new lifestyle groove to fit into with their mate. Bottom line, many boomers are looking to down-size. For those who are seeking a smaller SUV that offers function, fashion, and fun, then the Kia family’s 2021 Seltos will fit the bill.
Compared to its Kia cuzzos, the Seltos is a little over 4-inches shorter lengthwise than the Sportage and nearly 7-inches longer than the Soul. The tweener competes with larger subcompacts like the Mazda CX-30 and Nissan Rogue Sport.
On the outside, the Seltos is striking with an athletic stance, artful body creases, and an overall profile that is very stylish. It sports a rugged “tiger nose” grille that is reminiscent of the Korean automaker’s hot ticket, the Telluride. The futuristic-like halogen headlamps (standard except on the SX Turbo) add an aggressive appeal to the vehicle with stacked LED fog lamps that sit down below. Chrome trim appointments add more panache to the Seltos’ bold and angular body design.
Once inside the Seltos, you’ll be surprised at how spacious it really is both front and back. The cabin design is modern, clean, and attractive with a swathe of tech features. The crossover’s well-contoured seating is comfy-plus and adjustable with well-placed lumbar support (EX Premium) and good bolstering. Surprisingly, talls should not bellyache about the lack of leg and headroom in the tween. The beefy leather-wrapped steering wheel also has a nice feel. The small Kia’s innards have an overall neat fit-and-finish, and sensible ergonomics. The cargo area gets a nod and the spaciousness increases when you fold down the 60/40-split backseat.
The Seltos LX and EX trims are fitted with an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen display with a rear camera that morphs into 10.25 inches in the higher trims. Standard infotainment technologies include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and higher trims will add to the mix, wireless phone charging, a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, and head’s-up display. The infotainment system runs an updated version of Kia’s UVO system with higher-resolution mapping.
Safety is wholly covered in the Seltos because it packs quite a bit of must-haves, including six airbags and a comprehensive active suite of systems. The Seltos is available with automatic emergency braking, electronic stability control, traction control, hill-start assist control, pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, a comprehensive lane-keep assist system and adaptive cruise control that is the bomb.com!
There are five trim levels, and the S is the only one available in FWD. All the other model trims come standard with an AWD system. Engine options for the Seltos include a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 146 horsepower and a 1.6L 4-cylinder with a turbocharger that kicks out 175-horsepower.
Getting behind the wheel of the Seltos S Turbo was fun. The ride quality and responsive steering receive good grades. The diminutive ute is also quite peppy and engaging once she gets turnt up; you might even get a snarl, or two, or three. Don’t get it twisted; the Seltos is quite capable of kicking some of its hater’s posterior on the road.
The 2021 Kia Seltos is a solid performer. For a ute with a sticker south of $30,000, it offers nice driving dynamics, impressive technology features, fun factor, roominess, and stand-out styling. The Seltos is definitely an SUV to put on your radar.