2024 Kia Seltos

Refreshed, Kia Seltos is an even more compelling offering for 20204.

Seltos, Kia's smallest true crossover, was introduced in 2021. For 2024 it gets updated styling, new wheel designs and an updated interior featuring a dual-screen instrument panel. Seltos is offered only as a 5-passenger, 4-door wagon with front- or all-wheel drive. Competitors include the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Dodge Hornet, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-30, Nissan Kicks, Toyota Corolla Cross and Volkswagen Taos. Buyers might also consider the mechanically identical Hyundai Kona.

Seltos models include the LX, S, EX, X-Line and SX. LX, S, and EX are powered by a normally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 146-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That engine mates to a continuously variable automatic transmission. X-Line and SX get a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder that makes 195 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. It mates to an 8-speed automatic. S and EX come with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive ($1,500 option). All others come standard with all-wheel drive.  Towing is not recommended.

Prices start at $25,000 and climb to more than $32,000. Standard safety features include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure waring, driver-attention warning and lane-keeping assist. Also offered with blind-spot warning, wireless charging pad, LED headlights, Bose audio system, adaptive cruise control and heated-ventilated front seats.

 Seltos' base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine proves underwhelming in most driving conditions. It's a bit sleepy off the line and provides more noise and motivation in highway passing situations. It's also hampered by a sluggish continuously variable automatic that saps all of the life out of the engine. Still, it's serviceable enough around town with a light load.

Stepping up to the turbocharged engine in the X-Line or SX provides a noticeable improvement, making Seltos one of the quicker vehicles in the class. The engine is quick to build power and the alert and smooth shifting 8-apeed automatic does an excellent job of providing a good balance between power and economy.

Speaking of economy, the base engine is EPA rated at 27 MPG city, 31 MPG highway and 29 MPG combined. The turbo mill nets ratings of 25 MPG, 27 MPG and 26 MPG overall. Both ratings are on par with other offerings in the class but fall well below hybrid competitors. Both engines run fine or regular-grade gasoline. The 13.2-gallon gas tank provides a highway range in excess of 350 miles.

The all-wheel drive system does not have a low range and is not intended for extreme off-road use.

Dynamically, Seltos provides a comfortable and controlled ride, but eschews twisting roads. The suspension absorbs bumps nicely and maintains composure over badly broken pavement. As the same time, there's just too much compliance to be considered sporty as Seltos has too much body lean in quick transitions.

Steering is perfectly weighted, but devoid of road feel. Brakes have good stopping power, but are prone to early anti-lock activation in hard stops. Interior noise levels are very low for the class, making Seltos one of the quieter offerings - despite the noisy base engine.

Inside the new interior is mostly just a refresh with a new dashboard. Materials are class appropriate and uplevel models feature large digital screens. The layout is modern, if a bit dull, and extremely functional.

Cabin space is quite good for a subcompact crossover. Four average-size adults can sit in comfort, but those larger than 6-foot-2 might want a tad more leg room. The front seats, though narrow, provide good support and plenty of adjustment. Rear seats are somewhat flat, but provide enough comfort for longer trips. Entry exit is excellent thanks to large door openings, a tallish build and low step-in height. Outward visibility is excellent.

From a tech standpoint, Seltos has all of the expected goodies, though some are optional, like the big 10-inch touchscreen. The Bose audio system is especially impressive. One nit, uplevel models require a USB connection for Android Auto and Apple Car Play.

Seltos provides a maximum cargo capacity of 63 cubic feet, that's nearly tops in the class and quite impressive. There is even an exceptional 27 cubs with the rear seats up. The load floor is flat and hatch opening large. Interior storage is good with open and covered bins throughout, large map pockets and a decent glovebox.

Bottom Line - Kia gives Seltos a mild refresh for 2024. It addressed a few of the shortcomings like interior noise and a bland interior and held prices down. As a result, Seltos remains an excellent value in the class and a solid choice for urban dwellers and empty nesters. Skip the base engine and step up to the X-Line or SX if you can.