Standard AWD on most trims
Roomy for its size
User-friendly infotainment system
IIHS Top Safety Pick
So-so base engine
Unrefined available DCT transmission
No significant changes
Price: The 2023 Kia Seltos has a starting price of $22,890. The top model, the Kia Seltos SX AWD, begins at $28,249. The destination fee is $1,295.
Seltos is a practical and stylish choice in subcompact SUVs. It offers unique styling that’s sleek and refined with a hint of ruggedness. This is a versatile SUV with a roomy interior for its small size, impressive Kia tech features, and excellent safety scores. All-wheel drive comes standard on most trims, which is a nice bonus.
The Seltos competes in a challenging field of subcompact SUVs. Some of its top competitors are the sporty Mazda
CX-30, the off-road-ready Subaru
Crosstrek, and the value-packed Chevrolet Trailblazer. All of the above are worth cross-shopping if you’re in the market for a small and affordable SUV.
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2023 Kia Seltos pricing
A Kia Seltos LX with AWD begins at $22,840, while the S FWD model starts at $22,890. As an S AWD model, the 2023 Kia Seltos starts at $24,390. The destination fee is $1,295.
A Kia Seltos Nightfall Edition AWD begins at $27,040, while the EX AWD model begins at $26,140.
Capping the lineup is the Seltos SX AWD, which starts at $28,340.
The price of the Kia Seltos is about average for its class. The pricing is very similar to rivals like the Mazda CX-30, Subaru Crosstrek, and Volkswagen
Taos. A few options in this class that are a little more affordable include the Chevrolet Trailblazer and Nissan Kicks, but you can’t get a Kicks with AWD.
The 2023 Kia Seltos
Driving the 2023 Kia Seltos
The base 4-cylinder engine moves the Kia Seltos around just fine. Its performance is merely adequate, but it’s fuel-efficient — partially thanks to the CVT transmission — and it’s powerful enough for the daily commute.
The available turbocharged engine is an excellent upgrade if you want a little extra pep in a small SUV. It brings a pretty significant improvement in performance with an additional 29 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque over the base engine. There’s a slight fuel economy penalty, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for lively performance.
The turbo engine uses a 7-speed DCT automatic transmission. It’s better for sporty driving than the CVT that comes with the base engine, but it can be a bit slow to downshift when you want extra zip.
Except for the S trim, every Seltos comes standard with all-wheel drive. The Subaru Crosstrek and Jeep Compass Trailhawk are better off-roaders, but AWD gives the Seltos good all-weather traction and mild off-road capabilities. If you don’t want or need AWD, the S trim with FWD is the most fuel-efficient variant of the Seltos.
The Seltos is maneuverable on city streets and easy to park thanks to its small footprint, but some of its rivals, like the Mazda CX-30, offer sportier handling. As for driving comfort, it’s reasonably smooth and comfortable for highway cruising, but you might want something with a longer wheelbase if you’re looking for long-distance comfort.
The 2023 Kia Seltos
One of the biggest strong suits of the Kia Seltos is one of the roomiest interiors in its class. Considering its small size, you might be surprised by the amount of passenger and cargo space in the Seltos. The back seats have adult-friendly legroom, and the cargo hold has more than enough room for most drivers’ daily needs.
The interior design of the Seltos is pleasant and upscale for its price tag. All of the controls are easy to use, and it has one of the most intuitive infotainment systems in its class. Interior materials are pretty nice and get nicer as you work your way up the trims. You can’t get actual leather seats, but the upper trims have premium leatherette seating.
It’s worth noting that the SX Turbo trim is available with a Plum interior color package. If you want an SUV with purple seats, this is one of your few options.
The Seltos is a head-turning SUV that strikes a nice balance of premium and rugged. The ride height and skid plates give it a bit of an outdoorsy look, but the sleek body lines and sharp light signature make it appear modern and high-tech.
The Seltos has some daring paint options like Mars Orange and Starbright Yellow. It’s in on the growing trend of contrast roof and mirror options with multiple 2-tone color schemes available.
As for the size, the Seltos is a subcompact SUV slotted between the smaller Soul and the bigger Sportage in the Kia lineup. Its dimensions are similar to the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Mazda CX-30, and Jeep Compass.
UVO infotainment systemThe infotainment system in the Seltos is user-friendly and packed with features. All but the base LX trim upgrade to a bigger and fancier 10.25-inch screen with navigation.
Unique styleAs part of its palette of fun paint color options, the Seltos offers four 2-tone paint schemes with contrasting roofs and mirrors, plus other unique styling options like purple seats.
The base LX trim of the Kia Seltos is well-equipped for the money. It uses a 2.0-liter engine with a CVT transmission, and all-wheel drive comes standard.
Standard features include an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple
CarPlay, a USB port, cloth seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, split-folding back seats, and the basics you would expect like air conditioning and cruise control.
Standard Kia Drive Wise safety tech features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-following assist, rear occupant alert, automatic high beams, and driver attention warning.
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Every trim of the Seltos other than the base LX trim comes standard with a bigger 10.25-inch infotainment system with navigation. A few other nice features on all but the base trim include automatic climate control, remote start, roof rails, and partial or full leatherette seats.
The S trim is the only one available with front-wheel drive, which is nice if you’d rather have better fuel economy than the improved traction of AWD.
If you want the exciting turbocharged engine, it’s standard in the Nightfall Edition and SX Turbo models. The Nightfall Edition comes with an appearance package with a unique grille and 18-inch wheels, and dark exterior accents. It also has blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The EX model is the top trim you can get with the base engine. It has excellent premium features like a wireless charging pad, full leatherette seats, and a power sunroof.
If you want a Seltos that flirts with luxury SUV territory, the SX Turbo model has Bose premium audio, a larger digital gauge cluster, and more safety tech features like adaptive cruise control (with stop and go), Safe Exit Assist, and the Highway Driving Assist semi-autonomous driving system. It’s also available with Plum seats, a unique touch.
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Engine and transmission
There are two engines available under the hood of the Kia Seltos. Most trims are powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 producing 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Nightfall Edition and SX Turbo models use a more robust 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 rated at 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The base engine uses a CVT (continuously variable transmission), and the turbo engine uses a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.
All-wheel drive is standard in most trims, but the S trim gives you a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The S FWD model is the most fuel-efficient version of the Seltos. The turbo engine comes with a slight fuel economy penalty compared to the base engine with AWD, but every Seltos is pretty good on gas.
2.0-liter inline-4 (LX, S, EX)146 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm132 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/35 mpg (FWD), 27/31 mpg (AWD)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Nightfall Edition, SX Turbo)175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/30 mpg
This story originally ran on KBB.com.