One of the new Kia models for the year, a yellow 2021 Kia Seltos, is parked in a city.

New Kia Models and Rumors for 2021

Kia is no stranger to whipping up some decent publicity for its new models and updates to existing models. And like with any car company, the rumor mill can churn pretty consistently for the South Korea-based car company. Currently, there is no news swirling around Kia more intensely than the news about the new Kia Seltos, the K5, the Rio, and the Sportage.

The rumors about this new model from Kia began late last year when a very conspicuous building-size banner ad for the Seltos mysteriously appeared in Los Angeles right across from the Los Angeles Convention Center during the 2019 LA Auto Show. The ad generated considerable buzz and featured a huge picture of the forthcoming, stylish new SUV.

While the ad wasn’t completely unanticipated (Kia had already launched the Seltos in other markets—such as India), up until that point there hadn’t been any word on whether or not the Seltos was going to be offered in North America. The good news is, it is, and you can buy it now.

What You Need to Know About Kia’s New Model the Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a compact SUV, similar in size the Hyundai Kona, and according to Car and Driver, “offers sharp handling similar to [the Kona] but pairs it with a taller ride height, a roomier cabin, and even more technology.”

Of course, Kia is a big player in the SUV game and already has a number of high-quality SUVs on the market. The Seltos is slated to debut nicely in between the even smaller Soul and the slightly larger Sportage.

The Different Seltos Trims

The 2021 Kia Seltos is available in five unique trims.The trims are the the LX ($21,990), S ($21,990), EX ($25,290), S Turbo ($25,490), and the SX Turbo ($27,890).

Of course, each trim comes with a variety of different features, and the SX Turbo is pretty well stocked. However, it may include a few features that seem unnecessary to some drivers. The S Turbo or EX might be enough Seltos for many.

And while there is a litany of advanced features and technologies on display with all the Seltos trims, there are several that auto journalists seem to be focusing on.

Kia Seltos’ Infotainment System

Perhaps the aspect of the new Seltos that has garnered the most praise is the massive and luxurious (albeit optional) 10.3” infotainment touch screen. Because of its generous size, the screen allows drivers to perform a number of tasks simultaneously and is safer, too, since you won’t have to squint in order to keep up with directions.

The system also comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Depending on which model you get, there are also a variety of extras you can get for the infotainment system, including up to three USB ports and even a wireless smartphone charging pad.

Under the Hood of the New Kia Seltos

There are two engine options in the new Kia Seltos, and both have thus far performed well in overseas markets and in test drives. The base model comes equipped with a 2.0-liter, 146 hp engine and intelligent variable transmission (IVT). While this engine is enough to get the job done, it doesn’t hurt if you are able to consider the second option and take the power to the next level.

The S Turbo and SX Turbo utilize a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder, 175 horsepower engine, and a 7-speed Quick-Shift DCT automatic transmission. Some have reported that the 7-speed transmission takes a bit to get going at lower speeds, but overall the engine packs more than enough power for whatever adventures you have in mind for the Seltos.

The Interior of the Kia Seltos

The interior of the Kia Seltos has also received glowing reviews, beating out its sister the Hyundai Kona and other similarly sized compact SUVs by being more spacious and offering more room for cargo. The second-row seats have generous legroom and feature sufficient reclining capabilities.

A blue 2021 Kia K5 is parked on an empty track.

Other New Kia Models and Rumors

Just because there are some pretty exciting rumors swirling around the yet to be released (at least in North America) Kia Seltos, doesn’t mean there aren’t other rumors on the grapevine for other Kia models. One of the most popular vehicles Kia produces, the Kia Sportage, has been the subject of some stimulating internet speculation.

Typically, Kia updates its models every five years, so the Sportage might not get a makeover in 2021, but it could see some significant changes in 2022. So far, there aren’t many specifics, but some have suggested there could be changes to the interior, especially in regards to the infotainment system (think about how much technology has changed in the last five years).

Another part of the Sportage that could be due for an update is the engine. Kia owners and dealers are rooting and pining for a power boost that would make upcoming Sportages even more impressive than they already are.

The Optima Replacement

Another big piece of Kia news is that the Kia Optima is set to get a replacement in 2021 with the all-new K5. The K5 is going to be a beast and includes a fastback design and some prodigious power under the hood: up to 290 horsepower with a 2.5L turbocharged engine. That is in addition to a slate of safety features that will come standard and make the K5 not only an exciting ride but a safe one too.

In terms of design, the K5, while it will look unbelievably sporty, will have a trunk rather than a hatchback. On the inside, a slew of stylish electronic upgrades will be on tap and make the K5 the car of the future, today.

A closeup shows the headlight and grille of a red 2020 Kia Stinger.

Kia Stinger Refresh

It is rumored that the Kia Stinger is also set to get some pretty gnarly upgrades in 2021, including under the hood. While the current iteration already has plenty of power, rumors are swirling that there will be the option to get a 3.3L turbo V6 engine capable of generating 390 horsepower with the 2021 version. If that is the case, the Stinger will be an unbelievably exciting ride.

Finally, the Kia Rio Gets Minor Changes

Finally, the 2021 Kia Rio is also rumored to undergo a minor transformation. The Rio has already been released in Europe and should hit North America soon. While the changes are merely modest, the most noticeable alterations are the upgraded 8” infotainment touchscreen and the mild-hybrid engine that utilizes regenerative braking and electric torque assistance to increase fuel efficiency.

Besides those tweaks, the Rio is largely the same great car drivers have loved for years. The updated Rio, a transformed Sportage, the new K5, and the soon to be released Seltos, are the models generating the most buzz in the internet’s atmosphere. It will be interesting to see just how successful each of these models are in the near future.