A white 2021 Kia Seltos is driving on a highway away from a city.

2021 Kia Seltos vs 2020 Ford EcoSport

Compact crossovers are the wave of the future for the auto industry. Perfect for just about anyone, these petite SUVs are versatile, practical, and fun to drive. Now that we’ve entered a new decade, it only fits to kick things off with a battle between two of the coolest compact crossovers available. So we are going to take a look at this comparison: the 2021 Kia Seltos vs 2020 Ford EcoSport. Both are great on gas and have more room than you might first imagine. Let’s take a closer look.

Size and Space

Since the 2021 Kia Seltos and 2020 Ford EcoSport are both members of the same class, they both seat up to five people. Great for small families, couples, and even singles who need a little more space than a sedan can provide, these two vehicles offer plenty of cargo room as well.

Behind the back row of seating in the Kia Seltos is 26.6 cubic feet of space. That’s a lot for a vehicle in this class. If you happen to require more room, you can fold down the second row of seating to expand the cargo area to 62.8 cubes.

As for the Ford EcoSport, it is quite a bit smaller on the inside. With 20.9 cubic feet of space behind the back row, you won’t be able to fit as much inside without switching up the cabin configuration. If you world the back seats down, you can open up about 50 cubes of space.

The Verdict: If you need more space for cargo, the 2021 Kia Seltos is the ride for you.

Power and Performance

A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos is shown from above drifting in sand after winning the 2021 Kia Seltos vs 2020 Ford EcoSport comparison.

If you decide to go for the 2021 Kia Seltos, you will be able to choose between two engines. The first is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Equipped with FWD, this powertrain pushes out 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. You may also opt for AWD with this engine on every trim except the base. The second powertrain option is a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This sporty combo generates 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. If you choose the AWD drivetrain, you will enjoy a maximum towing capacity of 3,300 pounds.

Similarly, the 2020 Ford EcoSport is also available with two engine options. The standard engine is a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder. Equipped on every trim except the SES, this engine produces 123 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. Mated with FWD and a six-speed automatic transmission, it’s not nearly as powerful as the Kia Seltos. If you opt for the SES model, it will be powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 166 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque. As a sportier model, it is equipped with 4WD and can tow up to 2,000 pounds.

The Verdict: If you want more power, go for the 2021 Kia Seltos.

Base Trims

As a way to package various features, new vehicles often come in different trim levels. Higher trim levels tend to mean more advanced features on the inside and out, and most trims build off the base model.

The 2021 Kia Seltos LX is the base level. Rolling on 17-inch alloy wheels, this vehicle features keyless entry and an advanced infotainment interface. Displayed on a large 8-inch touchscreen, this system operates with Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a rearview camera with guidelines for easier reversing. You can easily make calls or send text messages hands-free and stream your favorite music through the six-speaker stereo system. Standard safety features include a tire pressure monitoring system, hill-start assist, electronic stability/traction control, and a series of six airbags throughout the cabin.

Looking at the 2020 Ford EcoSport S will give you a slightly different view. This base model rides on smaller 16-inch alloy wheels and features keyless entry as well. It also has a similar six-speaker stereo system, but that’s where the similarities end. The infotainment interface is displayed on a tiny 4.2-inch monitor that operates with Bluetooth. While you can make calls and send texts hands-free, this system is missing smartphone integration capabilities. It does have a 4G LTE Wifi hotspot, though.

The Verdict: The 2020 Kia Seltos LX has more useful features on the base level.

Premium Trims

The upcoming Kia Seltos is available in five trims, including the LX, S, EX, S Turbo, and SX Turbo. Meanwhile, 2020 Ford EcoSport is available in four trims, including the S, SE, SES, and Titanium. At this point, we are going to look at the top trims for comparison.

Rolling on 18-inch machined alloy wheels, the Seltos SX Turbo comes with several upgrades, including LED headlights, foglamps, a refreshed grille with an integrated LED light bar, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and heated front seating. Remote start and push-button start give the vehicle a futuristic feeling, and the wireless charging pad helps to reduce clutter inside the cabin. The upgraded infotainment interface is displayed on a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen that works with navigation and UVO link. The steering wheel has been wrapped in leather, and the stereo has been upgraded to a premium Bose system. Advanced safety features include blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and emergency braking.

Moving over to the EcoSport Titanium, you will find various luxury features as well. This model rides on 17-inch wheels and features a chrome accent package and rain-sensing wipers. The leather-clad seating is very welcoming, and the stereo has been upgraded to a Bang & Olufsen system. The improved Sync 3 infotainment interface uses an 8-inch touchscreen with added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functions. HD radio and navigation are also included. The seats and steering wheel are heated, and extra safety features have been included. You will find systems such as rear cross-traffic alert, blindspot monitoring, and rear parking sensors.

The Verdict: The 2021 Kia Seltos comes with more advanced features on its luxury trim level.

A red and a blue 2020 Ford EcoSport are driving through a city at night.

Paint Options

Paint color is important when buying a new vehicle. The upcoming Kia Seltos is available in 12 various shades, including monotone and two-tone colors. Monotone options include Cherry Black, Snow White Pearl, Steel Gray, Gravity Gray, Mars Orange, Neptune Blue, Dark Ocean Blue, and Starbright Yellow. As for the two-toned shades, you can choose from Dark Ocean Blue/Clear White, Dark Ocean Blue/Cherry Black, Starbright Yellow/Cherry Black, and Clear White/Cherry Black.

The 2020 EcoSport is offered in 10 unique paint colors. They are all monotone and include Shadow Black, Smoke, Moondust Silver, Diamond White, White Platinum, Blue Candy, Lightning Blue, Race Red, and Canyon Ridge.

The Verdict: The 2021 Kia Seltos has more paint options and color combinations.

Find the Right Compact Crossover

The facts don’t lie. Between the two compact crossovers, the 2021 Kia Seltos is the stronger option. It offers more horsepower, torque, and towing capacity for people who enjoy road trips and adventures. It has more room for luggage, groceries, and sports gear. Plus, its base model is better equipped, and the premium trim has more luxurious features. If you want to buy the 2021 Kia Seltos, keep in close contact with your local Kia dealership, so you know when it hits the lot.