How well do you know your Greek mythology? Do you know who the son of Hercules (the famous son of Zeus) was?
If you guessed Celtos, congratulations! If you didn’t, then no sweat. All you really need to know is that the new 2021 Kia Seltos is named after Hercules’ son. Kia chose the name because it “represents the brave and assertive spirit of Celtos, with the ‘S’ in its adapted name implying speed and sportiness.” Kia also hopes you’ll choose the new Seltos for the same reasons.
Figuring out if the new Seltos fits your lifestyle is a choice only you can make. However, to help you either put the Seltos back into the mythology books or in your front driveway, we’ve put together a quick reference guide on what Kia’s newest SUV member has to offer. Your destiny awaits.
Kia outfits the new Seltos with two different engine variations — at least for U.S. buyers. The base engine is a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. For those with a peppier driving style, check out the 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder that offers 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. In a vehicle that weighs just over 3,000 pounds, that turbo engine should move the Seltos along at lightning speeds. Sorry for the pun, Zeus.
A continuously variable transmission (CVT) mates to the 2.0 liter engine. Meanwhile the turbocharged powerplant enjoys a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Kia actually produces the 2021 Seltos in an all-wheel drive configuration, with only the S model coming standard as front-wheel drive.
Available Color Schemes
Kia is offering the 2021 Seltos in the following bold colors.
- Cherry Black
- Snow White Pearl
- Steel Gray
- Gravity Gray
- Mars Orange
- Neptune Blue
- Dark Ocean Blue
- Starbright Yellow
Kia offers two-tone color schemes as well. Choose from Starbright Yellow accented with a Cherry Black Roof, Dark Ocean Blue with a Clear White roof, Dark Ocean Blue with Cherry Black, or Clear White with a Cherry Black roof.
Before we get too deep into the trim levels Kia offers on this new compact SUV, know that they will be limiting color choices on base models. Though you’ll only be able to pick from standards such as white, black, and gray, even these common colors pop on the Seltos backdrop.
Here’s what we know about the trim levels available on the 2021 Kia Seltos.
Kia offers the Seltos in five trim levels: the LX, S, EX, S Turbo, and SX Turbo. The brand has also teased Seltos X-Line Concept, which resemble a Subaru Forester-looking off-road-centric design theme. Whether these concepts will become production models or not remains to be seen.
Base LX models will ride on 17-inch wheels. In a slightly confusing twist, Kia offers both the LX and S models at a base price of $21,990. The difference between the two base models is that the S trim only comes in limited colors.
Speaking of color schemes, customers will have to choose between a contrasting roof (two-tone colors listed above) and a sunroof. However, cloth and leather seating are both available.
The highest end SX Turbo model starts at $27,890. It comes with all the bells and whistles the Seltos offers, including wireless charging, push and remote start, LED accent lights, 10-way power adjustable seats, and a bevy of other nifty upgrades.
Technology and Features
When it comes to technology, the 2021 Seltos comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen. A 10.3-inch screen appears on the list of standard equipment in higher trim levels. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, navigation, and a Bose sound system round out some of the higher-end technological offerings.
Creature comforts begin with heated front seats and span to a leather-wrapped steering wheel and push-button start. The 2021 Seltos doesn’t offer dual climate control, but we imagine that’s something Kia will add in the next update.
Finally, the 2021 Seltos has an astounding 62.8 cubic feet of cargo space. It will mean you need to fold down the rear seats, but CNet.com reports that’s nearly the cargo capacity of a Chevrolet Equinox.
Details continue to surface when it comes to the 2021 Kia Seltos, so check with your local Kia dealership for the latest on colors, trims, and options available.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have yet to rate the 2021 Kia Seltos. However, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reports there’s plenty to be had when it comes to Kia’s standard safety features. You’ll likely find systems such as electronic stability control, ABS brakes, and traction control. Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Lane Keeping Assist are just a few of the optional safety systems available on the 2021 Seltos.
The peppier 1.6-liter turbo engine achieves 25 city and 30 highway EPA-estimated miles per gallon. These numbers — which are respectable for a turbo AWD model — are reflected by FuelEconomy.gov. Front-wheel, 2.0-liter models make about 29 city and 34 highway MPG. All-wheel models with this larger engine should achieve about 27 city and 31 highway MPG. CarandDriver compared the Seltos’ fuel economy ratings to that of the Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-30, and Nissan Rogue Sport. The Hyundai Kona, the Seltos’ kissing cousin, also posts similar fuel efficiency numbers.
As you may have pieced together, the Hyundai Kona is one of the biggest competitors the new Seltos will have to face. As Edmunds’ experts pointed out, “the choice between the two largely comes down to deciding which car’s styling and design you like better.” According to CarandDriver, though, the Seltos has more interior room, sits taller, and offers more technologically than the Kona. Really, we recommend you test drive both cars and see which one feels best.
Consumer Reports identified the Chevrolet Trax, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Rogue Sport, and Subaru Crosstrek as prime competition for the Kia Seltos. Nicknamed the “Telluride in Training,” the 2021 Seltos received mixed reviews altogether from experts. That’s a bit to be expected from the first run of a new model, though.
What They Are Saying About The Seltos
For example, reviewers at CNet.com weren’t pleased with the engine’s responsiveness (or lack thereof). It was a downside MotorTrend’s experts were quick to point out as well: “We had a chance to briefly drive the base 2.0-liter and didn’t notice the same kind of balance, feedback, or weight that we saw on the SX 1.6. Bear that in mind when shopping.” For those of you looking to get the best driving experience out of the 2021 Seltos, we recommend parting with a few more greenbacks. Upgrade to the turbo version.
The same mix of reviews covers both the exterior and interior design as well. “Limited space for passengers in the back seat” gave Edmunds’ reviewers the feeling this SUV is more suited to one or two main occupants. CarandDriver disliked the hard plastics but did appreciate that the Seltos “shares some of the Telluride’s class-climbing excellence.”
Motor1.com added that “cues like body cladding and the optional 17-inch alloy wheels with their spider web design toughen the little crossover up.” There’s no denying the “younger style” injected beneath this peppy crossover’s resplendent exterior.
The Last Word
Scheduled to appear in showrooms this spring, the 2021 Kia Seltos certainly upholds the family tradition. Whether that’s in reference to Kia or Zeus, we’ll let you decide. Take the new Seltos for a spin and we think you’ll start to get a feel for what Kia has to offer—and where the SUV segment is headed.