I know what you’re thinking: Great, just what the world needs—another small crossover SUV. But hold on a sec, because, as it turns out, the all-new Kia Seltos is a worthwhile addition to this crowded segment.
The automaker’s sixth crossover, the subcompact Seltos rides on the same underpinnings as the Hyundai Kona. The little crossover’s sport-utility cred is enhanced by an available AWD system. While not meant for true off-roading, the setup’s locking center differential can enhance traction on dirt, snow, or other suboptimal surfaces.
In everyday driving, the Seltos’ handling is reasonably sharp and confidence-inspiring, but the ride quality can be a little rough. Powertrain choices include a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine (146 hp) that’s standard on lower trim levels. The turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-banger (available on two of five trim levels) puts out 175 hp and delivers stronger acceleration, although it may be more than many buyers need.
Inside, the somewhat noisy cabin has enough room for four adults. Folding the rear seats back nets 63 cubic feet of cargo room, and a handy flat floor can be lowered several inches to accommodate larger items.
Factor in lots of advanced safety features, many of them standard equipment, and you’ve got a new small crossover with enough strong points to make it stand out from the crowd.
Vehicle layout: 1.6-liter turbocharged inline 4 (175 hp), 7-speed automatic, AWD
MSRP, base model: $21,990; as tested: $29,485
MPG, city/highway/combined: 25/30/27
Safety ratings: NHTSA, IIHS: not yet rated
Spare tire: Compact temporary
Final assembly: Gwangju, Korea
Basic warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles
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