Slotted around the Soul, Niro, and Sportage, the Seltos offered an excellent balance of size, space, standard all-wheel drive, performance, and efficiency.
When the first Seltos arrived at Kia dealerships in 2020, it was seen as a welcomed arrival in the middle of the COVID-19 Pandemic. An all-new vehicle that was sized perfectly for those looking for a small-ish SUV with good fuel efficiency and plenty of space.
It was quite good, according to our original write-up on it. Slotted around the Soul, Niro, and Sportage, the Seltos offered an excellent balance of size, space, standard all-wheel drive, performance, and efficiency. It was also positioned into what was to be an emerging market that offered consumers an SUV that was not too small nor not too large.
Sales have been plugging along since its introduction. The Seltos held its own in 2023, just a thousand or less units short of the Soul. However, the model did see an increase from 2022 sales volume and helped in the brand’s sales success last year.
Last year saw a mid-cycle refresh of the Seltos. The 2024 edition incorporated some of the brand’s current design tenets, while keeping its own distinctive identity. Bringing one on for review was indeed on the list of things to do for the new year. Considering that winter finally arrived in our Twin Cities’ backyard, it seemed like a perfect time to put a 2024 Seltos SX with all-wheel drive to the test.
The mid-cycle updates were mostly visual. The grille texture has changed, as have the trim pieces around the front clip. The front lighting arrangement was slightly revised to incorporate more LED components. The Seltos has a unique advantage with its lower front clip, as it angles back for a greater angle of approach compared to its competitors.
Out back, the taillight and liftgate design were updated. A new vertical taillamp lens adds to a new horizontal strip across the tailgate. The wheels are all new for 2024, including this SX all-wheel drive tester’s 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels. The silhouette, glass profile, and satin chrome trim are carryover designs.
Also, the Seltos receives a major interior update bringing it in line with current brand design signatures. You will find this on the dashboard, where Kia integrated their new tablet-like instrument panel stretches two-thirds of the way. This panel is divided into two 10.25-inch screens. The left one houses the digital instrument cluster with a customizable center information screen. The right screen is for the infotainment touchscreen housing all playback and connectivity.
Of course, to connect your smartphone for CarPlay and Android Auto, you must connect it with a cord. However, Bose provides eight speakers throughout the cabin and a Sound Connected Mood Lamp in this SX tester. Kia also serves up familiar switches and controls throughout the cabin. They work exceptionally well with the right amount of logic.
Seating in this SX tester is upholstered in a two-tone SynTex upholstery. The front seats were pretty supportive and quite comfortable. Rear seat room is very good with plenty of leg and head room for six-footers. Cargo space starts with 26.8 cubic feet behind the second row of seats. Once they are folded down, you have 62.8 cubic feet of available cargo room.
Powering this SX tester is a 195-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, putting down 195 pound-feet of torque. This engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and Kia’s Dynamax all-wheel-drive system. Combined, there’s plenty of power when you need it. Passing is done smoothly and swiftly. When it comes to fuel economy, we witnessed an average of 25.2 MPG.
The ride quality in this Seltos SX was pretty good with minimal feedback over rougher road surfaces. I also noted that it was light on its feet when it came to evasive maneuvers and concerning. You can feel the control, but I wished that they had better all-season tires for improved grip on winter surfaces.
The steering system’s on-center feel was solid. It held its own with the right amount of response down to the wheels with a good turning radius. The brake pedal feel was also solid. The system turned in good stops in normal, panic, and winter situations.
The 2024 Kia Seltos comes in five trim levels with two engine choices – starting from $24,390. All trims come with all-wheel drive, which is standard equipment on the lowest priced Seltos. This SX AWD tester arrived with a sticker price of $33,085.
With its mid-cycle refresh, Kia made sure that it meant business with its smaller SUV offering. It has continued to do so, offering Soul owners to upgrade to this more capable model without breaking the bank completely.
However, the size class the Seltos competes in is pipped for choice. Where the decision is made comes down to space and performance. If you choose wisely, the Kia Seltos could be the right choice among smallish SUVs.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Kia America
All photos by Randy Stern