When the 2021 Kia Seltos subcompact SUV was revealed earlier this year, we had a hunch it was coming to North America. Now, it has been confirmed with the vehicle’s debut at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. Like the Kia Telluride, the 2020 MotorTrend SUV of the Year, the 2021 Seltos has a boxy upright appearance with cool LED lighting details on the range-topping SX trim. It has 7.2 inches of ground clearance and a new take on Kia’s tiger nose grille featuring a mesh-like diamond pattern.
Two four-cylinder engines will be offered on the 2021 Kia Seltos. These include a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter with 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque on the LX, S, and EX trims and a turbocharged 1.6-liter with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft on the S and SX grades. The 2.0-liter comes paired to a CVT while the turbocharged 1.6-liter has a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Sharing its underpinnings with the Soul and the funky-looking Hyundai Kona, the 2021 Kia Seltos distinguishes itself with a longer wheelbase, putting it on the larger end of the subcompact SUV segment. Front-wheel drive is standard while all-wheel drive with torque vectoring is optional. Models equipped with all-wheel drive also swap out the standard torsion beam rear suspension for a multilink setup. Drivers can select from three drive modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport.
Inside, the 2021 Seltos will feature cool design cues like pulsating ambient lighting and an available Bose audio system with speaker sporting a cool fractal pattern. On the tech front, the Seltos will be offered with an available 10.25-inch touchscreen, a 7.0-inch digital cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three USB ports, a wireless charging pad, and Bluetooth that can connect two phones at the same time. The 2021 Seltos also offers added practicality with its adjustable cargo floor and reclining rear seats. On the safety front, the 2021 Kia Seltos will be available with a number of driver assistance features including blind spot monitoring with collision prevention, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, front and rear automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane centering, driver attention warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Kia Seltos X-Line Concepts
Alongside the production Seltos, Kia also revealed two customized examples: the X-Line Trail Attack and X-Line Urban concepts. Based on the Seltos with the 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo-four, the X-Line Trail Attack gets a center differential lock feature in its all-wheel-drive system, a 2.0-inch suspension lift increasing ground clearance to 9.2 inches, 17-inch alloy wheels shod in off-road tires, a winch, and a roof rack. The Seltos X-Line Urban Concept features the same 2.0-inch lift as the X-Line Trail Attack, 17-inch alloy wheels, a hood with an integrated intake, four Hella auxiliary lights mounted on the roof, and a roof rack.
The 2021 Kia Seltos goes on sale early next year. Kia says that a base LX with all-wheel drive will start below $22,000, and the front-drive S model will have a similar starting price.
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