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2021 Kia Seltos first drive: The hits keep coming

by Fleta Camarillo (2020-07-18)

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Stylish, roomy and unexpectedly premium, the new Kia Seltos is indisputably excellent. This small crossover is the latest in a long series of hits from the South Korean automaker, a conga line of cars that includes models like the Soul, the Stinger and, most recently, the Telluride three-row SUV.

Putting the screws to rivals like the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks and Toyota C-HR, the Seltos is a small crossover designed to squeeze between the funky-looking Soul hatchback and slightly larger Sportage utility vehicle.

Setting this Kia apart from those models and Tour Quế Lâm its primary rivals, the Seltos is intended to be something of an off-roader. Obviously, it's no Jeep Wrangler, but there is some actual substance beneath that tough styling, a bit of steak to go with the sizzle. Ground clearance measures 7.3 inches, the same amount you get in a Honda Pilot. This vehicle's approach and departure angles each clock in at 28 degrees, making it reasonably useful off road. Finally, a nifty all-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential is offered in certain trim levels, which can evenly split torque between the front and rear axles for enhanced traction in slippery, sloppy or otherwise severe conditions. What's not so cool are the front and rear "skid plates." They may look to provide some useful protection, but they're nothing but flimsy plastic.

The Seltos is available in five different grades. Serving base duty is the reasonably priced LX version; stepping up from there you can get an ES model, an S 2.0, S 1.6T or the range-topping SX, which is what I'm testing here. As for pricing, this vehicle kicks off at $23,110 including destination charges, which are $1,120.