First Drive: 2021 Kia Seltos Shows Good Things Come in Small Packages

New Seltos is a practical SUV, but there are some shortcomings

2021 Kia Seltos Consumer Reports

Kia adds another SUV choice to the mix with its new Seltos. At the time of this writing, we’ve driven the Seltos we bought over a thousand miles, shuffling it through the hands of Consumer Reports' auto engineers and editors, to gather our early impressions.

The Seltos slots between the Soul and the Sportage, where it competes with the Chevrolet Trax, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Rogue Sport, and Subaru Crosstrek.

Both front- and all-wheel drive are offered as is the case with its sister vehicle, the Hyundai Kona.

Two engine choices are available: 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 turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 175-hp is optional on the S and standard on the SX.

Buyers need to trade up to the higher trims to get important safety gear, such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.

After logging 2,000 break-in miles on the all-wheel-drive Seltos S model we purchased, it was run through more than 50 testsat our 327-acre Auto Test Center and out on the road. These tests included evaluations of acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, headlights, and controls.

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Update: Since this first drive was originally published in February 2020, we finished testing the Seltos.

See the complete Kia Seltos road test.

What we bought: 2021 Kia Seltos S AWD
Powertrain: 146-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine; continuously variable transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $23,490
Options: $210 (floor mats, cargo tray)
Destination fee: $1,120
Total cost: $24,820

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