2022 Kia Seltos Review
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2022 Kia Seltos Review

The Kia Seltos proves that an everyday commuter doesn’t have to be boring. We put Kia’s new subcompact SUV to the test, with a closer look at its price, interior, and on-road performance.

Key Features:

  • Choice of two engines
  • Generous rear-seat legroom
  • 3. 5 year/100,000-km bumper-to-bumper warranty

Direct Competitors:

  • Hyundai Kona
  • Toyota Corolla Cross
  • Volkswagen Taos

Canadians are increasingly fond of compact SUVs, and the Kia Seltos will likely be the right combination of size and features for many of them. Introduced as an all-new model for 2021, and slotting between the smaller Kia Soul and larger Sportage, it comes with a choice of two engines, front- or all-wheel drive, a handsome and comfortable interior, and numerous features including driver-assist safety technologies.

It shares its engines with the Hyundai Kona, but with enough differences in its overall dimensions and trim levels that they can be considered competitors. While it has a lot of good rivals in this crowded segment, the Seltos has a lot to offer, including good driving performance and a long bumper-to-bumper warranty.

How much does Kia’s small SUV cost?

The Seltos comes in LX and EX trim levels with its 2.0-litre engine, and as the SX Turbo with 1.6-litre turbocharged engine. Only the LX is available with front-wheel drive, at $23,595; and it’s $25,595 in all-wheel drive. 

2022 Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Kia Seltos EX, EX Premium, and SX Turbo

Everything else is AWD-only, with the EX at $28,195, the EX Premium at $31,195, and the SX Turbo at $33,195. All trims are all-in for features, and add-ons consist of accessories such as roof-rack bike carriers or wheel locks. But unless you want a black car, you will have to add $250 to get any of the other available seven colours.

The Hyundai Kona starts at $22,099, but its base trim is missing some items found on the entry-trim Seltos, such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Toyota’s Corolla Cross starts at $24,890 and runs to $33,990, while the Volkswagen Taos is among the pricier rivals at $26,695 to $36,695.

Here’s our full Kia Seltos vs VW Taos comparison review.

2022 Kia Seltos interior

The Seltos features a handsomely-styled cabin that looks better than its price. Even where hard plastic is used, it’s nicely-textured and has a quality appearance, and it’s well-integrated with soft-touch materials that send the dash upscale, and with excellent fit-and-finish. 

2022 Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Entry-level Seltos LX comes well-equipped

All trim levels include heated front seats, with cloth upholstery on the LX models, and very convincing leather-look vinyl on the EX and SX levels. The EX and up include a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and the EX Premium and SX add air-cooled front seats, plus heated rear seats. 

The front seats are bolstered and supportive. There’s more rear-seat legroom than in many competitors, although those seats are flatter and harder than the front chairs.

Seltos interior tech and connectivity features

The LX and EX get an eight-inch centre touchscreen, while the EX Premium and SX graduate to a 10.25-inch screen that’s intuitive and easy to use, especially with its volume and tuning dials, and hard buttons to bring up the menus. 

All systems include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the larger screen further packs in navigation, satellite radio, and the Kia Connect app that lets you control functions from your phone, including remote locking and engine start, vehicle check, and a “find your car” feature if you can’t remember where you parked. 

2022 Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Range-topping Seltos SX Turbo’s premium cabin

At the top of the trim line, the SX Turbo exclusively includes a head-up display, Bose premium sound system, flat-bottom steering wheel, and chrome door handles. Automatic temperature control is included on the EX and up, but it’s not dual-zone, which it should be for this cabin’s upscale look and the vehicle’s price.

2022 Kia Seltos performance & drive impressions

Two different powertrains depending on the Seltos trim

The LX and EX trims use a 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to an automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT), although Kia prefers to call it an “intelligent variable” or IVT. 

The SX Turbo uses a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder with seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, an automatic that shifts faster than a conventional unit. Only the LX FWD drives its front wheels alone. All others use an AWD system that primarily powers the front wheels, but brings the rear ones into play as needed for traction. 

How does the 2022 Seltos handle?

2022 Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Despite its lower power numbers, the 2.0-litre does a surprisingly good job of keeping up with traffic, getting a little puffy only when asked for the hardest of highway-speed acceleration. It’s more than enough for most urban adventures, and the CVT is a good fit to it. 

Moving up to the turbocharged SX gives you 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The power delivery is smooth and linear, making it a comfortable driver in city traffic as well as in wide-open spaces.

While its primary purpose is as an everyday hauler, the Seltos is sportier than you might expect. The steering is quick and responsive, and it’s well-balanced in the corners with only a bit of body roll. 

It’s not a sports car, of course, but it’s proof that an everyday commuter doesn’t have to be boring. If your drive includes a rougher cottage trail, the AWD-equipped models include a centre differential that can be locked at lower speeds, along with hill descent control.

Verdict: is Kia’s subcompact SUV worth it?

At a range of $23,595 to $33,195, the Seltos is about mid-pack in the compact SUV/crossover segment, but has a lot to offer for that. In addition to its features, some of which you’d expect on pricier vehicles, the Seltos earns a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and has a 5-year/100,000-km warranty on almost everything bumper-to-bumper. Overall, it’s solid value for a solid little performer.

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