Car Comparisons

2022 Kia Seltos vs Toyota Corolla Cross Comparison Test

Comparison Data

2022 Kia Seltos SX Turbo
2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE
Engine Displacement
Engine Cylinders
Turbo I4
Peak Horsepower
175 hp @ 6,000 rpm
169 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Peak Torque
195 lb-ft @ 1,500–4,500 rpm
151 lb-ft @ 4,500–4,900 rpm
Fuel Economy
9.4 / 7.9 / 8.7 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
8.1 / 7.4 / 7.8 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
Cargo Space
752 / 1,778 L seats up/down
688 / 1,840 L seats up/down (w/AWD)
Base Price
A/C Tax
Destination Fee
Price as Tested
Optional Equipment
$250 – Gravity Grey Paint, $250

If you were after the most bang for your buck below $35,000, say, five years ago, neither of the subcompact crossovers seen here would’ve been available for your purchasing pleasure.

In truth, that’s the case for the vast majority of entries in this burgeoning segment, although arranging a comparison between the 2022 Kia Seltos and the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross is just about the ideal cross section (pun only partially intended). Kia came out swinging with the Seltos a few short years ago and quickly bareknuckle-boxed its way to the top – no small feat for a brand still battling stereotypes in spite of the strides it’s made.

Meanwhile, it was just last year that Toyota slapped a Corolla badge on a crossover for the first time, taking advantage of a name that’s become synonymous with simplicity, reliability, and affordability. While the Seltos has the wow-factor, the segment’s newest entry takes a vastly different approach.


But first, their similarities. Dollar for dollar, there isn’t much separating the Seltos and Corolla Cross – particularly at the tops of their respective lineups. In the case of the 2022 Kia Seltos SX Turbo you see before you, it carries a pre-tax price of $35,240 including a $250 paint charge and a non-negotiable $1,795 freight fee. Then there’s the range-topping 2022 Toyota Corolla XLE it’s up against – a $35,880 proposition including its $1,890 freight charge.

The rest of the Seltos lineup ranges from $25,790 to $32,990, depending on trim, with only the cheapest skipping all-wheel drive. Likewise, all but the most expensive Corolla Cross models are priced from $26,780 to $32,480, again, with the most affordable version foregoing all-wheel drive in the name of affordability. That makes them competitive not only with each other, but within the segment as a whole.

Kia Seltos: 9:10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 8/10


Starkly contrasting how closely these two are priced is how differently they are powered – again, at least when it comes to this most expensive Seltos. It’s the only one in the lineup with a turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood, with totals of 175 hp and 195 lb-ft sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The rest of the lineup uses an automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT) that’s paired with a naturally-aspirated 2.0L four-cylinder. It makes just 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, and past experience has proven it to be perfectly adequate, although the upgraded engine is that much more impressive. It’s only the turbo motor’s transmission that proves problematic, with the seven-speed shuddering in a way that’s symptomatic of dual-clutch units in general but is no less unflattering.

The Corolla Cross also employs a 2.0L, which generates 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque regardless of trim. Like all Seltos models besides the SX, it channels that output to the wheels via a CVT. It also manages to feel anemic in a way most other crossovers this size simply don’t – especially not the turbocharged Kia it’s up against in this competition.

Of course, it might seem unfair at first blush to put the Seltos and its peppy powertrain up against this Toyota and its rather meagre one, but then that misses the point entirely. That these two are priced so competitively makes Kia’s offering that much more appealing, with the turbo motor providing the kind of acceleration the Corolla Cross is lacking, all for a little less money.

Kia Seltos: 9/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 6/10

Fuel Economy

The Corolla Cross manages to best the Seltos – along with virtually every other entry in the segment – when it comes to fuel consumption, with a combined rating of 7.8 L/100 km with all-wheel drive and 7.3 without. Not including hybrids, this Toyota is one of the few crossovers on the market with official ratings below 8.0 combined.

The Seltos is rated to burn a combined 8.7 L/100 km with its turbo motor, a figure that drops to 8.2 without. Skipping all-wheel drive cuts it to 7.7. Noteworthy, however, is the turbocharged version’s ability to overachieve, with this week-long comparison test coming in at 8.5 L/100 km across a total of about 700 km. The Corolla Cross finished the week at 9.3 over the course of roughly 390 km.

Kia Seltos: 8/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 7/10

Driving Feel

Dynamically, these shouldn’t be confused for anything more than the commute-friendly crossover they are, although both are responsive and feature adequately predictive all-wheel drive systems. Where the Corolla Cross drives an awful lot like its namesake compact car, with good comfort and pliability, the Seltos is firm and flat. They also differ in how they handle, with the Toyota’s steering coming across as light and lifeless compared to a sense of connectedness behind the wheel of the Seltos.

Kia Seltos: 8/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 8/10


Beyond how they stack up on a dollar-for-dollar basis is the bang-for-your-buck these two deliver. In keeping with Kia tradition, the top trim comes loaded with amenities that separate it from most of the rest of the segment. Heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear ones, a head-up display – those are rare amongst subcompact crossovers, which helps to set the Seltos apart.

Despite costing a little more, the fully loaded Corolla Cross feels anything but – particularly next to the stacked Seltos. They’re a little more competitive further down their respective lineups, but the Seltos has an obvious advantage when it comes to features for the money. In XLE guise, the front seats are heated but not ventilated, the rear seats go without temperature controls (odd considering they come in the equivalent Corolla sedan), and there’s no supplementary display like there is in the Seltos.

Kia Seltos: 9/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 7.5/10


The Corolla Cross leads the way on the safety front, with a full suite of features across the lineup compared to a paltry selection with the Seltos. There’s no blind-spot monitoring in the cheapest version of this Toyota, but every trim gets adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic, forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and following assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights.

In the case of this Kia, the entry-level LX trim has blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a safe exit assist system that can prevent the doors from being opened in the case of traffic approaching from behind – that’s it. Lane-keeping and forward collision warning with auto emergency braking are part of the EX package, while the EX Premium and SX Turbo add adaptive cruise control and the brand’s highway driving assist function.

Kia Seltos: 7/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 9/10


There’s very little separating these two in terms of the space they offer, and they easily count among the most useful crossovers this size. Credit their tall and upright shapes, with both providing ample headroom front and back. Rear-seat legroom falls in the Seltos’s favour, but it’s not a significant enough advantage to count for much.

Likewise, cargo room is where this Kia pulls at least a little bit ahead in its most useful configuration, with 752 L behind the back seats compared to 688 L in all-wheel-drive Corolla Cross models like this one. However, the Toyota’s cargo hold expands to 1,840 L with the rear bench stowed compared to the Kia’s 1,778 L.

Kia Seltos: 9/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 8.5/10


Despite their similar shapes, diverging designs leave little confusion between these two. Both are tasteful, while the Cypress Green paint of this Toyota tester is an excellent no-charge choice. Inside, it looks a little more like its namesake small car, with the same bulging dash design. The two-tone upholstery seen here helps brighten the space a bit, too.

The Seltos has serious shades of third-gen Forester, with a similar shape to that Subaru’s nose. It’s a bit boring inside, except for this SX Turbo’s new-for-2022 burgundy synthetic leather upholstery that’s pure class despite feeling just so-so. Otherwise, there’s a bit too many glossy plastic surfaces, which attract scratches, fingerprints, and dust in a hurry.

Kia Seltos: 9/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 9/10


Seat comfort has long been a sore spot for Kia (another intentional pun), and while the ones in the Seltos are markedly improved over what this brand used to provide they’re still not great. Quite the opposite is true of the Corolla Cross, with the same cushy seats here that are found in its sedan sibling.

Overall, interior materials are about the same in both of these – and that means nothing to get excited about, but stuff that’s fairly competitive in the segment as a whole. The plastics feel a little hard and hollow, particularly on the dash and doors, but it’s fine for the price of these little CUVs.

Kia Seltos: 8/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 9/10

User Friendliness

Whether climbing aboard or interacting with their various functions and features, these are simple machines in the best ways possible. Plenty of practical buttons and knobs fill out their cabins, while Android Auto and Apple CarPlay provide easy access to connected devices.

The Seltos features one of the easiest-to-use infotainment interfaces around, with an eight-inch touchscreen standard and a 10.25-inch unit included in the EX Premium and SX Turbo trims. In the Toyota, the touch display varies from seven to eight inches, depending on trim, and while the system itself isn’t quite as good as Kia’s it does the trick.

Kia Seltos: 9/10; Toyota Corolla Cross: 9/10

The Verdict

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross XLE is a perfectly capable crossover that makes good use of its footprint, but nothing about it feels special – especially not next to the 2022 Kia Seltos SX Turbo. There’s an unignorable sense that your buck is going a lot farther with this Kia, from all the extra amenities sprinkled across the lineup to the available turbo engine, and the overall character it has that the Corolla Cross is lacking.

Further down the lineup, the Corolla Cross has advanced safety features in its favour, which is undoubtedly important stuff. Of course, there’s also Toyota’s reputation for reliability that can’t be ignored. But otherwise, this subcompact crossover doesn’t have the tangible goods to compete with the best, which it happens to be up against here. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck in this segment, the Kia Seltos is still the way to go.