By Sue Mead
Kia says its 2024 Seltos is a small sport utility capable of big things. Launched in the US in 2021, after coming to the global market in 2019, this subcompact crossover is positioned between the maker’s smaller Soul and the bigger Sportage. It now gets a mid-cycle update that brings new styling inside and out, adds more power, and offers additional features and technology. Also new is the X-Line trim level that replaces the Nightfall Edition. On sale now, Seltos comes in LX (starts at $24,390 and available in all-wheel drive only); S ($24,990 with FWD, $26,490 with AWD); EX ($25,790 FWD, $27,990 AWD); X-Line ($28,690 AWD standard); and SX ($29,990 AWD standard).
This Korean automaker has come a long way since joining the American automotive industry in 1992. At that time, Kia Motors America offered only small cars that were sold at low retail or “bargain basement” prices. Over the past three decades, Kia has not only grown its portfolio of models, but has been award-winning in nearly every category of the market. Last year was record-breaking for Kia in a number of ways; the carmaker enjoyed best-ever retail sales in the US, grew its market share to five percent, raised its conquest rate to 60 percent, and was number one in J.D. Power’s VDS (Vehicle Dependability Satisfaction) survey–the first time a non-luxury marque has taken this spot.
What is it?
Looking at the Seltos, you’ll notice that its new styling gives a slightly retro impression overall, with a more rugged exterior design; it rides on 17-inch wheels. The tiger-nose grille is more prominent, beset by new integrated signature lighting, along with a redesigned front and rear bumper, available LED headlights and four different wheel options. A smart power liftgate is available. The new X-Line trim level enjoys an exclusive grille design with gunmetal finish, unique 18-inch wheels, a black bridge-type roof rack, and gloss-black door garnish.
The cabin that has an open, airy feel with attractive materials and surface finishes that vary with different trims. The “tech-focused” interior has been reworked, and sports a new seamless infotainment panel that stretches across the dashboard. Dash elements include a digital gauge display, and a 10.25-inch panoramic touchscreen (a smaller display with analog gauges is standard on lower trim levels). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trim levels, while SiriusXM satellite radio, wireless charging, and a Wi-Fi hotspot are options. A Bose premium audio system with eight high-performance speakers is available, as are heated and ventilated front seats.
In response to an increasing number of buyers who are interested in going off-the-beaten path, Kia has partnered with the AllTrails+ app (see below).
What moves it?
There are two engines available for the 2024 Seltos. Available in lower trim levels is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder mated to a CVT automatic. The engine produces 146 horsepower. The EPA estimates highway fuel economy of 34 mpg for FWD models with the 2.0-liter.
Also available is a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 195 horsepower. That’s up 20 horsepower over last year’s 1.6-liter turbo. The engine mates exclusively by an 8-speed automatic transmission. With AWD, the 1.6-liter engine will return an EPA-estimated 30 mpg on the highway.
The Drive and Takeaways:
I drove the new Seltos powered by the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine on a first-drive held in the Newport, Rhode Island. The engine was peppy, and moved this small runabout well when navigating city streets, traveling along winding back country roads, and motoring on a busy freeway. Notable were the smooth-operating transmission, and the quietness of the cabin. Hyundai credits the hushed interior to sound-absorbing windshield glass. Also impressive is the crisp steering response and well-mannered brakes.
Although I didn’t have the opportunity to assess traction on dirt roads or any other traction-compromised surfaces, I am impressed that Kia’s AWD system is torque-vectoring, with a lock mode that will distribute the power evenly between the front and rear axles.
I also appreciated this CUV’s good ergonomics, with plenty of elbow room for its size and its appealing and smart-looking styling. Kia says the Seltos has best-in-class interior room and second-row legroom. The rear cargo area can swallow up to 27 cubic-feet of stuff with the back seat up, and 63 feet with the rear seat folded.
Seltos has a long list of safety features that includes Kia’s Forward Collision Avoidance and Assist 1.5 with Cyclist Detection and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist (on all trims). Also standard are Blindspot Collision Warning with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Collision Avoidance Assist, navigation-based Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go and Curve Detection, Highway Driving Assist. And available on upper trim levels is Intelligent Speed Limit Assist/Intelligent Speed Limit Warning.
Kia America has teamed up with the AllTrails+ app to amplify outdoor adventures. Now through December 31, 2023, customers that purchase or lease a new 2023 or 2024 Seltos SUV are eligible to receive a promo code for a six-month trial of the AllTrails+ premium app, an outdoor and adventure trail app with an extensive suite of features designed to help users save time, stay safe, be prepared, and never miss a turn when planning outdoor adventures. The AllTrails+ platform helps users find and explore new trails, connect to routes best suited for their unique needs, and get outside with peace of mind provided by navigation tools, exclusive features, and reviews and photos from other AllTrails+ users. The app boasts trail coverage on all seven continents and within every country, making it the world’s largest and most trusted global exploration app.
2024 Kia Seltos Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)