There’s a staggering number of crossovers out there, which can make choosing the right one a confusing chore.
While the very definition of this segment of vehicles seems to suggest the best of both a car and an SUV, the reality is that they can be compromised in important ways. The 2024 Kia Seltos has been refreshed to minimize its apparent trade-offs in a bid to stay ahead of the competition.
Among the subtle changes to the 2024 Seltos is its overall styling. You can identify the new model with the updated lighting, but that’s about it. A light bar connects the taillights, while the front end features a larger grille and redesigned daytime running lights. It’s nothing revolutionary, but is fresh enough to catch your eye. Its corporate cousin, the recently redesigned Hyundai Kona, is slightly more attractive, but the Seltos has some boxy appeal.
The interior takes larger strides in terms of modernization. The dash houses a pair of 10.25-inch screens, one for driver information, and the other for infotainment duty. This technology isn’t even reserved for fully loaded models, either – even the mid-grade EX trim gets the displays. While the rest of the cabin features hard, textured plastics, the seats are nice and soft.
Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, safe exit assist that can warn of vehicles approaching from behind, and lane-keeping assistance. The EX Premium trim is where adaptive cruise control enters the mix, while SX and the top X-Line trim tested here also come with a highway driving assistance feature that adds some automated steering help.
Standard goodies include heated front seats, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Other trims include ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, a power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers, a wireless phone charger, head-up display, and the ability to use a connected smartphone as a key.
Despite the big touchscreen inside, there’s a host of physical controls for most functions. The infotainment system may not seem like anything special, but it responds to touch inputs quickly and has full-screen smartphone projection.
Trigger the power tailgate on this X-Line model and you’re greeted with 752 L of cargo room. The caveat here is that measurement is when the cargo floor is lowered. It has to be in a higher position to provide a flat load floor when the rear seats are folded, which cuts into the outright volume at least a little. Even so, there’s 1,778 L with the seats stowed, which is plenty.
Cabin space is above average, and the tall roof does a lot of heavy lifting here, offering the Seltos more rear-seat head- and legroom than the Subaru Crosstrek and Hyundai Kona. That helps this small crossover feel more spacious, although adults won’t find the confines in the back especially comfortable for prolonged periods. The front seat also has to be moved forward quite substantially in order to accommodate a rear-facing baby seat in the back.
While entry-level versions of the Seltos feature a 147-hp 2.0L motor, the top two trims use an updated 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 195 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. That’s an improvement over nearly 20 hp compared to the year before. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which shifts gears with limited hesitation. Overall, this setup has more going for it than the engines in the likes of the Crosstrek or gas-powered Toyota Corolla Cross.
Driving Feel: 7.5/10
The Seltos doesn’t provide the most engaging drive despite what the turbo engine might lead you to believe. Ride quality is rough on some roads, with a stiff feel overall, although the Seltos responds well to steering inputs. The turning circle is tight, which allows for quick U-turns and parking manoeuvres.
Fuel Economy: 6/10
The turbocharged variant of the Seltos is rated to burn 9.1 L/100 km combined – a figure that proved elusive during testing, albeit barely. The full week finished with an indicated average of 9.5 L/100 km.
With a starting price of $27,944 before tax but including freight, the 2024 Kia Seltos seems like a great place to start your crossover buying journey. However, that’s for a front-wheel-drive example; to get all-wheel drive is another $2,000. That extra traction is included across the rest of the lineup, up to and including the top X-Line trim tested here that’s priced at $41,144 before tax.
A price tag of more than $40,000 for a subcompact crossover is a little excessive – although it’s becoming increasingly commonplace in today’s market. Either way, the 2024 Kia Seltos is relatively spacious, practical, well equipped, and powerful. While the top two trims cost about as much as a slightly larger offering like the Kia Sportage, this entry’s smaller size has plenty of appeal.
|9.4 / 8.7 / 9.1 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb
|752 / 1,778 L seats down
|2024 Kia Seltos X-Line
|Price as Tested
$250 – Pluton Blue Paint, $250