2021 Kia Seltos Review- Prices, Performance, MPG figures, Features, Interiors, And Rivals

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Kiran Menon

Content writer August 04, 2020 at 12:06 PM
The 2021 Kia Seltos is the all-new subcompact crossover entrant from the Korean manufacturer. The urban commuter SUV comes loaded with features and is an attractive proposition in terms of both looks and price. Based on the Hyundai Kona, the Kia shares a lot with it including the engines offered and much of its chassis underpinnings. With prices starting at $21,990, let's find out more about the 2021 Kia Seltos.

2021 Kia Seltos Highlights:

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a subcompact crossover SUV introduced to go against the Chevrolet Trax, Hyundai Kona, and the Honda HR-V. Prices for the 2021 Kia Seltos starts from $21,990 for the base LX to $27,890 for the top of the line SX AWD. Engine options are limited to two; a 2.0L inline 4 making 146 hp and a 1.6L turbocharged inline 4 producing 175 hp.

Know More About the Kia Seltos

As per Kia, the Seltos is targeted towards the youthful millennials looking for a vehicle that stands out from the crowd. The 2021 Kia Seltos is offered in a total of 4 trims namely; LX, S, EX, and SX with both FWD and AWD offered as drivetrain options. Let’s find out how the 2021 Kia Seltos fares against its competitors.

What are the Trims and Prices of the 2021 Kia Seltos?

The 2021 Kia Seltos is an all-new model being introduced as a subcompact crossover slotting between the Kia Soul and the Sportage. Offered in 5 trims namely; LX, S, EX, S Turbo, and SX Turbo, the 2021 Kia Seltos brings along a wide range of options touching both the ends of the automotive world with every trim which are - luxury and performance. The base trim "LX" of the 2021 Kia Seltos is priced at $21,990 and goes up till $27,890 for the range-topping "SX Turbo" trim. A destination charge of $1,120 is over the top of the given prices.

While AWD is standard across the lineup, the "S" trim, priced the same as "LX" at $21,990, offers FWD as standard. Thankfully, an additional $1,500 over its MSRP will get you the optional AWD system as well, which is coupled with the "Front heated seats" option as well. This is something exclusive to the "S" trim only. For all the trim-wise key features offered in the 2021 Kia Seltos, please follow the table below.

Trims LX S EX S Turbo SX Turbo
MSRP (FWD) - $21,990 - - -
MSRP (AWD) $21,990 $23,490 $25,290 $25,490 $27,890
Key Features Power-Adjustable Outside Mirrors Everything in the LX trim, plus Everything in the S trim, plus Everything in the EX trim, plus Everything in the S Turbo trim, plus
  17-inch Alloy Wheels Outside Mirrors w/ LED Turn-Signal Machine Finish 17-inch Alloy Wheels Machine Finish 18-inch Alloy Wheels Half Chrome Door Handles
  8-inch Touch-Screen Infotainment with Bluetooth Music Streaming Forward Collision Avoidance-Assist Camera Smart Key w/ Push-Button Start, Remote Start, and Immobilizer Power Windows w/ Driver One-Touch Auto-Down UVO link w/ 10.25-inch Touch-Screen, Remote Connectivity, Voice-Command Navigation, and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  6-Way Manually Adjustable Driver's and 4-Way Manually Adjustable Passenger Seats Cloth and SOFINO Seat Trim w/ Blue Stitching 10-Way Power-Adjustable Driver's Seat w/ 2-Way Power Lumbar Support Adjustment 6-Way Manually Adjustable Driver's Seat 10-Way Power-Adjustable Driver's Seat w/ 2-Way Power Lumbar Support Adjustment
  Projector Beam Headlights with Auto Headlight Control LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) w/ Projector Beam Front Fog Lights Power Sunroof w/ Sunshade Remote Keyless Entry All-LED headlights with LED Front Fog Lights

The "S Turbo" is a barebones trim but is priced higher than the "LX, S, and EX" due to the punchier engine and drivetrain setup with the 1.6T I4 motor and a 7-speed DCT. As a purist, try and stretch for the SX Turbo trim if you can as it comes loaded with the best goodies in the segment, oozing luxury and sportiness around itself.

Which trim of the 2021 Kia Seltos Should I buy?

If you like occasional sprints and can let go of some sporty elements such as the paddle shifters and a few horses under the hood, we'd recommend you go for the EX trim as you get the best of luxury features as standard and as an SUV owner, it also gets you a more capable electronically lockable AWD system for a reasonable price.

What about the engine offered in the 2021 Kia Seltos?

The 2021 Kia Seltos has two engine options. The first is a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter with 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. This engine is standard on the LX, S, and EX and is accompanied by Kia's Intelligent Variable Transmission CVT.

The second option is a 1.6-liter turbo engine that produces 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It is standard on the 2021 Seltos "S Turbo" and the most extravagant "SX Turbo" trims and comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available for the Seltos and has similar mechanical components as the larger Telluride


2021 Kia Seltos

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Chevrolet Trax

2020 Hyundai Kona







2.0L inline-4

1.8L Inline-4

1.4L Inline-4

2.0L Inline-4 








CVT with overdrive

6-speed automatic

CVT along with a manual mode


146 hp @ 6200 rpm

141 hp @ 6500 rpm

138 hp @ 4900 rpm

147 hp @ 6200 rpm


132 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

127 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm

148 lb-ft @1850 rpm

132 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

0-60 MPH

10.5 sec

10.6 sec

11.5 sec

10.0 sec


17.5 sec

17.8 sec

17.9 sec

17.3 sec


120 MPH

121 MPH

116 MPH

120 MPH

In terms of acceleration, the base Seltos manages to reach 60 mph in around the mid-10s. Although the Seltos is based on the Kona, the Hyundai manages to hit 60 mph half a second quicker. The Kona is about 100 pounds lighter than the Seltos and therefore manages to edge ahead. The Chevy Trax is the most underpowered here and the Honda inches ahead of it with a couple more horsepower.

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What about the mpg figures of the 2021 Kia Seltos?

The 2021 Kia Seltos manages to return a combined 29 mpg in the city and an impressive 34 mpg on the highway. That’s due to the frugal powertrain of the Kia and the well-optimized transmission. Combine these figures to the 13.2-gallon fuel tank of the Seltos and you will have a range of over 350 miles.


2021 Kia Seltos

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Chevrolet Trax

2020 Hyundai Kona

MPG (City)





MPG (Highway)





MPG (Combined)





Fuel Capacity (Gallons)





Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)





The Chevy Trax returns the lowest fuel economy figures among all the crossovers here and is behind by a decent margin when compared to the others. The 2021 Seltos manages to take top honors here, owing to its super-refined motor and great transmission. The HR-V and the Kona are on the same page, as far as economy figures and range are concerned.

What about the interiors and cargo space in the 2021 Kia Seltos?

Kia offers a ton of features on the 2021 Seltos On the upper trims, the interiors tend to feel more premium, owing to the use of leather in a lot of places. The leather seats, upholstery, gear knob and accents elsewhere, adds to the richness of the Cabin. The bigger infotainment screen and the additional features on the top 2 trims ensure the Seltos offers the upscale appeal that many cars of this segment lack.

The seats offer decent comfort and the roomy interiors add to the airy feel of the cabin. The rear seats are nice and wide and can seat three people with modest levels of comfort. Spending long hours inside the cabin won't be a tough task and will be very enjoyable since you feel less tired and brisk afterward. 


2021 Kia Seltos

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Chevrolet Trax

2020 Hyundai Kona

Seating Capacity





Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)





Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)





Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)





Kia has done its homework well and shines the brightest in the practicality counterpart flaunting the maximum passenger volume in the 2021 Seltos as opposed to the competition. The rest of the competitors offer almost similar space but the Seltos's panoramic sunroof enables a much more roomy cabin as opposed to the Honda HR-V. 

How is the 2021 Kia Seltos’s infotainment unit?

All Seltos models will have a touchscreen infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, but the optional 10.3-inch unit is the one to get. It offers navigation and the capability to split the screen so you can view the map and directions at the same time you're making changes to the radio station.

Depending on which model you choose, the Seltos can also be equipped with a wireless smartphone charging pad, up to three USB ports, a head-up display, and a 7.0-inch color display in the gauge cluster. An eight-speaker Bose audio system will also be optional and features fractal-textured speaker grilles.

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How’s the Exterior styling of the 2021 Kia Seltos?

The 2021 Seltos takes a different take on Kia’s traditional design language. Its prominent tiger-nose front grille paired with black and chrome finishes all around gives it a rather unique and attractive appeal. The crown jeweled LED headlights, as Kia calls it, looks beautiful with a complete floating LED DRL that extends all the way up to the hood.

The rear looks rather busy with so many elements working together for attention which includes a flowing form LED taillights that are merged well with a bold chrome strip in between them. All in all, then 2021 Kia Seltos makes a strong point with its aggressive and imposing stance that is sure to impress the young buyers more.


2021 Kia Seltos

2020 Honda HR-V

2020 Chevrolet Trax

2020 Hyundai Kona

Curb Weight (lb)





Length (inches)





Width (inches)





Height (inches)





Ground Clearance (inches)





Wheelbase (inches)





Dimensionwise, the 2021 Seltos is among the big boys of the lot with almost equal road presence as the popular Hyundai Kona. Together, these Korean twins beat the HR-V and the Trax in terms of massive footprints.

Some of the standout exterior features of the Kia Seltos are:

  • Automatic LED headlights, DRL’s, and taillights with high beam assist
  • Heated ORVMs with turn indicators
  • Roof rails
  • Front fog lights
  • Shark-fin antenna

What about the Safety and Reliability of the 2021 Kia Seltos?

Kia has engineered the Seltos in such a way, that it passes all the modern safety tests across the world. There are reinforcements all around the Seltos and the front crumple zones ensure that this Kia absorbs all that comes in front of it, in the case of an unfortunate event.

That said, the IIHS and NHTSA are yet to rate the 2021 Kia Seltos. That said, for a satisfying and reassuring drive, Kia has bundled the Seltos with the following set of safety features

  • Blind-spot collision warning
  • Lane change assist with rear cross-traffic collision warning system
  • Smart cruise control
  • Parking distance control
  • Dual front, side, and roof-mounted airbags
  • ABS with ESC, Traction control and brake assist
  • Anti-theft system with remote keyless entry
  • Tire pressure monitoring system with individual tire indicator

Should I Buy the 2021 Kia Seltos?

The Kia Seltos is a bang for buck crossover in the subcompact SUV segment and will be a solid competitor in the coming years given that it is the first generation of the Seltos in America. The overall quality of materials used inside and outside is a total deal-breaker for many rivals and enough to solidify Seltos’ place in the market.

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