Wednesday, February 1, 2023
News 2021 Kia Seltos Makes a Strong First Impression

2021 Kia Seltos Makes a Strong First Impression

Roomy, value-packed and ready to clobber the competition.


  • Pricing for the 2021 Kia Seltos starts at $22,995 in Canada
  • Two engine options, available AWD
  • Long list of standard features; $27,595 Seltos EX should be volume seller

MONTREAL, Quebec – Yes, another all-new small SUV is about to arrive, and this time, it’s the 2021 Kia Seltos that will seek to gain market share in an ever-expanding segment. We first saw it at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November, and now it’s making its Canadian debut at the Montreal Auto Show this week.

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The Seltos will fill the space between the Kia Soul and the Kia Sportage in the brand’s lineup, which also includes the electrified compact Niro as well as the midsize Sorento and Telluride SUVs. A subcompact model with all-wheel drive was missing here, and two years ago when Hyundai released the Kona, Kia unveiled a similar model called the Stonic, which never made it to North America because the Seltos was likely already in the plans.

2021 Kia Seltos

First impression: the 2021 Kia Seltos is a big subcompact—almost as big as the Sportage. In fact, the latter has a 40-mm wheelbase and 110-mm length advantage, in addition to 55 mm of extra width. However, the Seltos has more front-seat headroom, as much legroom front and back as well as more cargo room with the rear seatbacks folded down, according to Kia’s specification sheets. We’re actually talking about segment-leading trunk space here.

There are many, many competitors, and some of the newer ones include the Buick Encore GX, the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the Mazda CX-30. We can also name-drop the Honda HR-V, the Nissan Qashqai, the Subaru Crosstrek and the aforementioned Hyundai Kona.

Power comes from one of two engine choices. The LX, EX and EX Premium are equipped with a 2.0-litre four that develops 147 horses and 132 pound-feet of torque, connected to either front-wheel drive or AWD through a continuously variable automatic transmission—or what Kia calls IVT. The Seltos SX gets a turbocharged, 1.6-litre four and a dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic with mandatory AWD, good for 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet.

As expected in a brand-new utility vehicle, the 2021 Kia Seltos is available with a great deal of features. The base LX includes cloth upholstery, heated front seats, air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, rear seat reminder, 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated windshield washer nozzles as well as an infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. That’s a lot of content for the $22,995 base price, excluding freight and delivery charges.

The $24,995 Kia Seltos LX AWD moves up to 17-inch wheels, while the $27,595 EX is expected to be the volume seller with forward collision alert, lane keep assist, LED taillights, a power sunroof, an intelligent key system, automatic climate control with three fan intensity settings, Sofino leather seating, a heated steering wheel and more.

The $30,595 EX Premium benefits from autonomous emergency braking, highway driving assist, LED headlights, a power driver’s seat, ventilated front and heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, wireless phone charging, a 10.25-inch infotainment system touchscreen and more. Finally, the $32,595 SX piles on 18-inch wheels, head-up display, a Bose sound system with speaker mood lighting, rain-sensing wipers and the turbo engine.

The 2021 Kia Seltos will go on sale in Canada in the spring, but consumers will now be able to order one on Kia’s website. With a modern, trendy design, lots of interior space for a subcompact and plenty of features for the asking price, this new SUV should take a bite out of its rivals’ market share—not to mention steal some sales away from the Sportage. In addition, the folks at Kia said the Seltos’ projected residual value is quite good, which results in lower lease payments.

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