Kia showed off its latest SUV at the LA Auto Show today, and the Consumer Reports Cars group got the possibility to spend some time with it before it goes on sale early next year.
Called the Seltos, it’s a subcompact model with angular looks and a straightforward interior. Unlike many other tiny SUVs, such as the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Venue, the Seltos provides optional all-wheel drive.
With looks that mix urban cool with an outdoorsy ambiance, optional all-wheel drive, and a beautifully low beginning rate, we anticipate the Kia Seltos will gain a lot of interest from buyers. We planned to purchase one and put it through our full testing routine as soon as it goes on sale to see whether it measures up to its promise.
With its angular lines and an optional two-tone paint job, we believe the Seltos looks a lot like the much more costly Volvo XC40 SUV. The contrast is even apter on the high-end SX trim, which includes full LED exterior lighting and other trendy exterior upgrades. Kia says that front and rear skid plates and black plastic cladding are supposed to “reference off-road capabilities,” although its optional all-wheel-drive system is designed for snowy days, not rock-studded routes.
Size-wise, it’s the same length as the Toyota CH-R. However, it has a more angular rear that ought to make for easier freight loading. It’s a little longer than the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, and Hyundai Venue. If the Seltos looks familiar, there’s a reason: Like the similar Hyundai Venue and Ford EcoSport, a variation of the Seltos debuted in other nations before going on sale in the U.S.
The Seltos has a plain, however practical interior. We like that it features many physical buttons and knobs in a sensible design. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility come standard on all trims, and a bigger 10.25-inch touch screen is optional.
Rear guests aren’t left out, either: The rear seat reclines, and EX and SX trims use rear USB ports and climate vents.
What Drives It
Two engine choices are offered: LX and EX trims get a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission that’s good for 146 hp. A 175-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is optional on the S and standard on the SX. We drove a Hyundai Tucson with a similar 1.6-liter turbo and seven-speed dual-clutch automated and found that it tended to lurch and think twice in low-speed traffic. We hope the same isn’t real for the Seltos.
Front-wheel drive is basic. However, buyers can opt for an all-wheel-drive system that Kia says is similar to the one discovered in the bigger Telluride SUV.
Security & Driver Assist Systems
The base LX trim does not consist of or provide essential sophisticated safety features, like forwarding crash warning and automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection. These features come with the next greater trim, the S, along with lane departure caution and lane-keeping help.
As purchasers move through the trim range, an increasing lineup of assist features end up being standard, including blind-spot caution with crash avoidance, rear cross-traffic warning, adaptive cruise control, and a “safe exit assist” feature that cautions occupants not to open their doors in the path of approaching traffic.