2021 Kia Seltos: The pros and cons

kia seltos

Designed primarily as a replacement to the eccentric Kia Soul, the more contemporary Kia Seltos is built on the same platform as the Kona from fellow South Korean car brand Hyundai. As one of the newer five-seater crossovers on the market, the Seltos brings a lot of modern flair to the table. Let’s take a look at the Kia Seltos’ pros and cons so you’ll know if this subcompact crossover from the South Korean car maker is the right car for you to own.


1. Contemporary overall styling

kia seltos

It would seem that Kia is targeting young professionals and families with a little bit of spending power with the Seltos. With a sleek and modern silhouette, the Seltos is characterized by an all-black front grille, complemented by a rear spoiler, rear privacy glass, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Some upgrades found in select trims include chrome exterior accents, roof rails, and LEDs in the headlights, fog lights, taillights, and daytime running lights.

2. Two-tone options

Aside from five solid color options, the 2021 Kia Seltos offers buyers with a couple of two-tones, available only to the SX variant. Buyers can opt for Starbright Yellow/Black and Clear White/Black combos for their paint exterior.

3. Flexible powertrain


The Seltos engine—a 2.0L In-Line 4-cylinders, DOHC, D-CVVT gasoline unit—pushes the vehicle to an impressive 147hp and 179Nm of torque, more than enough for a car designed primarily to be a daily driver. Meanwhile, gear changes entrusted to an infinitely variable transmission (IVT) system that comes with a Drive Mode Select feature, allowing driver to choose between five different driving modes (Smart, Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom).

4. Contemporary interior design

Kia Seltos 2021

Inside, the Seltos cabin radiates an ergonomic and intuitive design, beginning with a head-up display that provides vital trip information while ensuring the driver’s eyes are on the road at all times. The roomy interior is made more welcome with comfortably styled seats and tasteful appointments such as Smart Entry, Push Start convenience (SX only), automatic climate control (SX only), and a 6-speaker, 8-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatibility.

5. Spacious and comfy backseat

In many two-row SUVs, it can be difficult to fit three people in the second row even though they advertise five seating positions. Fortunately, this isn't true of the Kia Seltos. With plenty of legroom and elbow room, children and even full-sized adults won’t have a problem riding in the back, even if all three seating spaces back there are occupied.

6. Advanced safety features

kia seltos

There are many driver-assist technologies that can be found on the 2021 Kia Seltos, particularly the SX AT variant, which comes with Electronic Stability Control, Downhill Brake Control, Hill-Start Assist Control, and even an Engine Immobilizer In addition, there’s a rear camera display, parking distance warning, and Smart Cruise Control, with the latter allowing the Seltos to automatically adjust vehicle speed to keep occupants safe.


1. Base model could use more safety features

With a starting price of PHP1.1 million, the LX is the only Seltos trim that doesn't have driver-assist systems mentioned earlier. This is a major drawback, especially when considering that several other vehicles below that price point have those technologies as standard.

2. Cabin materials are pretty basic

Again, at the price point, you’d half-expect the Seltos to have a bevy of soft-touch surfaces onboard. Not only that, full leather isn't available. Kia does provide a seat upholstery made out of leatherette, but with the asking price for each trim running over a mil, some people will likely demand the real thing. Also, a power-adjustable driver's seat isn’t even available.

Yay or nay?

For its target market, the 2021 Kia Seltos delivers on all spades. But a flexible SUV it is not. So unless you’re the part of the specific target market for this spacious little driver, you may want to look elsewhere for your next vehicle.

Photos from Kia

Also read:

2020 Kia Soluto vs. the competition: Your other subcompact sedan options

Which 2020 Kia Forte color is best for you?

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