A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos is driving next to a lake.

The Kia Seltos: A Future Legend


You might not know this yet, but Kia has an exciting new addition to the burgeoning subcompact SUV segment. To get a better idea of what this means, let’s look at how this new offering from Kia compares to the current lineup of Kia SUVs. The new SUV is called the Kia Seltos, and it will slot between the Soul and Sportage models. The Seltos will be competing against vehicles such as the Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Jeep Renegade. It is scheduled to go on sale by March 2020, and with a starting price around $20,000, this is one to watch out for.

The Seltos has been drawing comparisons to the Telluride, even though it is smaller, and competes in a different segment. This is good news as the Telluride is one of Kia’s most stylish offerings. The Seltos will not disappoint. Similar to the midsize Telluride, the Seltos carries on with the tiger-nose grille, giving it a sporty and sophisticated look. The Seltos also manages to look bigger than its dimensions with bold lines and athletic shoulders while also maintaining impressive aerodynamics. Kia says the Seltos will have a drag coefficient of 0.33. Not bad.

An Interior Fit to Capture the Erymanthian Boar

Now you would think that since the Kia Sportage has a bigger footprint, it would have more interior space, but that’s not the case. The Seltos actually has more interior cargo capacity and has more headroom upfront and in the rear seats. While it’s not a lot more, it’s impressive that Kia was able to get so much out of a smaller space.

As you’d expect, the interior is expansive with space for five adults. The second row also includes 60/40 split-folding seats along with a reclining seatback. And with top-of-its-class cargo capacity, the Seltos is positioned to compete in and out of its segment. Add a sound connected mood lighting system, with color-adjustable lighting within the speakers, and you have a truly modern and fun car. Though, Kia did not stop there. There’s also a two-step floor that can be moved down to improve cargo volume further, and, of course, more modern touches, such as a head-up display.

Let’s not forget the addition of a Bose premium sound system, with eight high-performance speakers, a digital amplifier, and dynamic speed compensation. This will definitely rev up your driving experience, whether you’re cruising around town or on a road trip. You’ll be comfortable too, as the interior features an in-depth ergonomic design, with plentiful passenger and cargo space, not to mention the reclining second-row seats.

The black interior of a 2021 Kia Seltos is shown.

Options Enough to Beat the Lernaian Hydra

If you’re looking for some of the Kia Soul’s style, you will not be disappointed with the Seltos. Optional is a two-tone exterior color scheme. You’ll be able to choose between two colors with a black roof and Dark Ocean Blue with either a black or white roof. That’s a fun option that you don’t see many manufacturers offer.

Where the Soul and Seltos and Sportage differ is in the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD). The Soul is only available as front-wheel drive, and the Sportage does not make AWD standard on any trim levels. With the Seltos, AWD is standard on all trim levels except the base S trim. So if you’re looking for AWD, the Seltos will be an attractive option, as it will be much easier to find in a Seltos trim. This continues with Kia’s emphasis on capability and style. The Seltos provides all-weather capability with Lock Mode, which maintains a 50/50 front and rear distribution of power for improved traction.

Enough Technology to Get Rid of the Cretan Bull

Another cool feature of the Seltos is that it will have an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen. This comes with the latest multimedia system from Kia. Currently, you’ll find an 8-inch touchscreen in the Sportage, for example. With the Seltos having the most up-to-date system, there are also more options for your convenience, such as a split-screen that allows you to customize the home screen. Kia has really outdone themselves with the interior, between the extra space and improved technology; this is starting to sound like a really fun car for a road trip.

Safe Enough to Get Kerberos from Hades

Kia maintains that, first and foremost, safety is “a number-one priority for the brand in all of its cars.” You won’t be surprised then that the Seltos has a ton of standard safety features. These are features usually reserved for luxury vehicles: try Hill-Start Assist Control and front and rear-parking sensors. And that’s just what comes standard. Optional features include Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, and Lane Keeping Assist. There is even a Driver Attention Warning system that monitors for signs of driver fatigue, and Safe Exit Assist, which lets you know of oncoming objects, so you know when it’s safe to open your door.

A yellow 2021 Kia Seltos, which is soon to be popular among Kia SUVs, is driving in the city.

The Son of Hercules

The Kia Seltos’ name stems from the son of Hercules in Greek mythology, Celtos. The “S” in the name is meant to imply speed and sportiness, while Celtos is known for his brave and assertive spirit. The Seltos is aimed at the youthful and tech-savvy consumer, and this is certainly a vehicle that succeeds in standing out from the crowd, living up to its name.

Jenny Chang, program manager for the Seltos, gave some insight on why Kia went in this direction with the new Seltos. “Rather than just an A to B vehicle, we want Seltos buyers to be proud of owning the vehicle,” Chang offered. To paraphrase Change, the Seltos not only looks capable, it is. It has a new bumper that improves its approach angle and gives 7.2 inches of ground clearance. The idea is that Kia wants this vehicle not just to look the part; this is a vehicle with available AWD and improved ground clearance for the purpose of taking it off-road, not just for the muscular appearance.

The Seltos is designed for the consumer who has an active lifestyle, and you don’t have to be Hercules’ son to appreciate it. A 1.6-liter turbo-four engine is offered in multiple trim levels, and with 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, you can be assured to have plenty under the hood for almost any adventure.

Kia: A Brand Built on Legendsh

If you couldn’t tell from the Telluride, and now the Seltos, Kia is gunning for the consumer who is active and expects more from their crossover SUVs than just good looks. This is an exciting addition to a crowded subcompact SUV market. With so many vehicles positioned to compete in this segment, it’s hard to generate this kind of buzz, but Kia has certainly pulled it off with a genuine attempt to provide the consumer with what they want in an SUV.

When you consider the versatility of the Seltos, it’s hard to find an equal in its class. Between the high-riding muscle and expected excellent mpg ratings, and the advanced technology onboard, there really is not a better option. We hope this is the direction all car makers will be going in this segment, as we are sure they will be shortly because the Seltos should be a big hit for Kia in an already impressive SUV lineup.