Review: 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD

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Contributing Author: Anne Fleming


$29,485 as tested


The new 2021 Seltos with its 1.6 Liter Turbo 4-Cylinder engine is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This AWD model has acceptable acceleration with 175 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft of torque. This newest introduction to the subcompact utility vehicle segment responds well, brakes responsively, and handles overall in a satisfactory manner.

The dual-clutch transmission has been reported to be sluggish and not as quick as it could be. Reliability (one of the biggest criteria when buying a new car) remains open, or undetermined, as this is a new model.

Fuel Economy

27 Overall/25 City/30 Highway mpg
Really outstanding fuel economy for a CUV in this class.

The Car

Kia announced that March 2021 was their best sales month in the history of the company in the USA, thanks in part to the launch and sales of the #Seltos. This model is based on the same platform as the Kona, but with a slice of design inspiration from Land Rover. Kia creative engineers knocked it out of the park with this one, as they continue to take a formula of outstanding, innovative design and add value, space, and technology at the ‘KIA price point’. Their industry-leading warranty is icing on the cake (more on that later).

Simply put, we love the Kia Seltos. It’s universal and has great appeal. And, while it is in the CUV category, it does prove to have more space than many rivals. Competitors are the Honda CR-V and the Subaru Crosstrek. Each is a winner in its own right, but the Seltos has them at full attention, especially with all the technology built into it.

NOTE: With whatever model you are considering, a test drive is a must. Little things come up in a test drive that one never can foresee, including personal preferences and/or dislikes and aversions to various features, like seating and interior design. While car buyers enjoy the ease of buying a car online, be sure to do your homework to ensure you know what to look for. A $30-40,000 purchase that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted, could leave you unhappy with your decision after a week or so of living with it. Alright, let’s get back to the review and car features.

The Seltos has managed to deliver more cargo room and a more spacious second row for passengers than previously mentioned brands and models. With the rear seats folded flat, there is just shy of 63 cubic feet of packing space – bravo. There’s also a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat for easy, convenient movement.

This model features a reclining back seat which was put to use when my friend Matt called me as his full-sized mountain bike got a flat tire. I went to pick him up and we easily stowed the bike in the back of the Seltos – with no cramping.


Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Dual Front Seat-Mounted Side & Full-Length Curtain Airbags. Electronic Stability Control. Downhill Brake. Hill Start Assist Control. Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist Ped, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist-Rear, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning and Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist.

Electronic Parking Brake, Smart Key and Push Button Start, Remote Start, Safe Exit Assist. Add in a five-year/60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance program for protection.


Our test vehicle sits on 18” alloy wheels and features useful roof rails and fog lamps. It has an Upgraded Grille with Integrated LED Light Bar, LED Daytime Running Lights and Taillights. It also features heated outside Mirrors w/ LED Turn Signal Indicators and a Compact Spare Tire.

8″ Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Rear Camera with Dynamic Guidelines. Heated Front Seats. USB Multimedia Port, Combo Leather-Cloth Seats and Trim, Steering Wheel Contact for Bluetooth, Audio and Cruise Control. 60/40 Folding Seats and Easy-Reclining Rear Seats.

UVO LINK with Navigation and 10.25″ Display – comes with 1-year subscription. Dual-Level Cargo Floor. BOSE® premium Audio, SIRIUS XM Radio with 3-month free subscription. 7″ LCD Color Instrument Cluster. Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go. Highway Driving Assist. Electronic Parking Assist. 10-Way Power Drivers Side Seat with Power Lumbar.

Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror, Illuminated Sun Visor Mirror, Rear USB Charge Port, Rear Passenger Air Vents, Safe Exit Assist.

Aesthetics & Styling

The 2021 Seltos takes this CUV category by storm with its well-designed look and ambient lighting.

We felt like we were in a spa when we experienced the new age sounds Kia had conjured up for us in the infotainment system. More evidence of the attention to detail Kia designers put into their vehicles. We did feel like this helped to mitigate a somewhat noisy – and boxy – front cabin. But whatever the reason, we thought the new age sounds were innovative. We also love the Land Rover-ish appeal, at an under $30K price point.

This brand has been named J.D. Power’s #1 Mass Market Brand 5 years in a row. It’s not hard to see why!


Kia has hands-down the most competitive warranty in the auto business.
10 Year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty. Five Year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty; Five Year/60,000-mile Roadside Assistance Program.

Anne Fleming began reviewing cars years ago. After a disempowering car buying visit made her realize how undervalued women’s voices were in the automotive world, she started a platform for women to rate their car dealership experience and make their voices heard.

Visit to write a review about your car dealership experience.