A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos from the front races down a rural road.

5 Reasons to be Excited about the Kia Seltos

I’m not one to gush about too many vehicles out there––I have my dignity, after all––but sometimes I’ll see something that truly warrants a modicum of praise. The all-new 2021 Kia Seltos, for example, does a lot of things right and actually deserves a bit of gushing as a reward. After all, it’s not every day that you see a compact SUV that includes all-wheel drive at a reasonable starting price––not to mention some very impressive engine options.

Technology and safety features are also well on point with the Seltos (I have no idea what that name possibly means, but I’m not about to look it up). In other words: it just all comes together beautifully to make a great option for the compact SUV market. If you’ve been hoping for something like the Kia Soul with AWD as an option (or even standard), then the 2021 Kia Seltos will probably be just the thing to scratch that itch for you.

But don’t just take my word for it, consider the following and see if you’re as excited about the prospects here as I am…

Reason #1: AWD Standard

One of the things I find most exciting about the 2021 Kia Seltos is the fact that it can come with AWD standard on one of its two default trims: the Seltos LX. Considering it starts off at a very reasonable price, this means you can get AWD on a compact SUV without going overboard on your budget. Just having AWD available at all on the starting trim would be great, but that it is, the default really presents some great performance and functionality.

Although the Kia Seltos is not being designed as an off-roading beast, per se, the standard AWD on the LX could certainly give it some great potential. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people take this as a solid jumping-off point and adding their own adjustments and modifications to create a true off-roading beauty. In fact, Kia showed off a few different off-road-focused concept versions of the Seltos that certainly turned some heads. While we won’t be seeing those at a dealer any time soon, I could easily see those concepts inspiring some after-market flourishes on a lot of models out there.

Reason #2: Available 1.6L Turbo Engine

A closeup of a turbo engine in a 2021 Kia Seltos.

So, the standard engine on the 2021 Kia Seltos, which is what you get on the first couple of trims, is a 2.0L I-4 engine that offers up to 147 hp and up to 132 lb-ft of torque. While that’s not exactly going to redefine everything we thought we knew about engines in a compact crossover, it’s certainly a fine place to start. When you consider that it comes with AWD standard on the LX trim (as I pointed out a minute ago) and other great features, it’s certain to make some fans quite quickly.

More impressive, however, is the available engine that comes standard on a pair of Turbo trims available for the Seltos. This is a 1.6L I-4 engine with a Turbocharger, which puts out up to 175 hp and up to 195 lb-ft of torque, plus it comes paired with a 7-speed quick-shift automatic transmission. While this might not compare to what you’ll find in a sports car, it’s certainly enough power for such a compact and sporty vehicle as this. It is an absolute blast to drive and really makes the Seltos stand out as something special in the market.

Reason #3: Great Standard Safety Features

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the 2021 Kia Seltos is that it effectively has two starting trims: the LX that I mentioned a moment ago, which comes with AWD, and the S. Both of these models start off at the same price, but the S has FWD instead and gives you more features in terms of safety and interior options. In other words, you can choose between either AWD in a starting model or more tech and safety features.

If you go with the Seltos S, for example, then you get some of the Kia Drive Wise package of safety features standard. This includes forward collision avoidance, a driver attention warning, and high-beam assist that automatically dims your high-beams when oncoming traffic is detected. A lane departure warning, a lane-keeping assist feature, and lane following assist are also included as standard safety features in the S trim.

Reason #4: Great Standard Tech Features

Speaking of great standard features in the more robust S trim, safety is not the only thing that Kia has packed into it. It has an 8-inch Infotainment touchscreen display, a steering wheel with audio and phone controls, remote keyless entry, and heated front seats. The steering wheel and gearshift knob are both leather-wrapped for extra luxury and comfort, and it all comes together in a very nice package that makes you feel surrounded in sophistication.

Reason #5: Even Better Optional Features

The gray and black front interior of a 2021 Kia Seltos.

Great standard features are nice, sure, but let’s be real: the available options and upgrades are always where it’s at. The 2021 Kia Seltos is no exception to that, and when you start looking at the excellent features and options on the higher SX Turbo trim, then you can see the full potential of what the Seltos has to offer. For starters, you get that powerful 1.6L Turbo engine along with 18-inch machined alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, and an upgraded grille with integrated LED lighting.

Inside the Seltos SX Turbo, you’ll find a real masterpiece of luxury and design. It includes a 10-inch Infotainment touchscreen display with Navigation, numerous USB charging ports, a wireless phone charger, and a Bose premium audio system––this comes with connected mood lighting that can change color and even pulse with the beat of your music for a driving experience that really delivers something special. The SX Turbo includes a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a smart key with push-button start and remote start, automatic temperature control, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.

The safety features on the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo are also everything you could want and ensure that you are well protected when you get behind the wheel. You get the full Kia Drive Wise package here, including a driver attention warning, high-beam assist, a lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and a lane following assist system. The SX Turbo also includes a blind spot collision avoidance assist system, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist, forward collision avoidance assist, smart cruise control with stop and go, and a safe exit assist system that helps prevent passengers from exiting the Kia when an oncoming vehicle is detected.

What More Do You Want?

Whether you are looking at the standard features that you can get on either of the 2021 Kia Seltos’s starting trims, or the features on higher trims like the SX Turbo, the Seltos has pretty much everything you need. Assuming, of course, you’re in the market for a compact SUV that is surprisingly fun to drive. Perhaps the most important thing about the Seltos is that it’s not taking anything away from the Kia lineup, only adding to it. Making the current and upcoming selection of Kia vehicles the best it has ever been.