Kia’s 2022 Seltos is a compelling and one of the more affordable subcompact AWD crossovers on the market. It’s also an economical small family all-weather vehicle that’s endowed with a host of standard safety features.
Offered in LX AWD, S FWD, S AWD, EX AWD, SX AWD and new Nigthfall Edition AWD, we tested the SX AWD that came standard with a 1.6-liter turbo inline 4-cylinder engine.
Seltos SX is a snappy looking crossover with its squint, narrow headlight assembly, subtle cladding and front/rear skid plates. Its overall sweeping exterior design gives it an off-road ready look.
The classy look follows through to the interior with its low 18-inch step-in. The test Seltos came with the Plum interior package that included Syn Tex heated front seats and plum color Syn Tex trim on doors. Aside from that eclectic color, a racy flat-bottom steering wheel grabs the eyes as does the large 10.25-inch infotainment display that supports rearview and frontal view camera’s, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto connectivity plus “Sounds of Nature,” an array of soothing sounds.
The vertical stack houses a wireless phone charger, gear selector for the 7-speed DCT automatic transmission, horizontal array of HVAC switches, drive mode switch for Normal, Eco and Sport modes and other peripheral features. There’s also an AWD Lock switch that engages the rear wheels and can be engaged at speeds under 38 mph. Above that it automatically disengages and returns to AWD mode sending all torque to the front wheels.
Over on the analog gauge cluster, a driver information display nestles between the tach and speedometer for driver assist functions, features and alerts like the warning it displays when opening a door in traffic.
Seltos’ rear seat is comfy for two adults or three youngsters. Even a middle seat rider has decent leg room as the transaxle hump is low allowing two small feet to be placed upon it.
The crossover’s cargo area, that has a 29-inch lift-over, is surprisingly spacious. With the rear seats upright, there’s 26.6 cubic feet of cargo space measuring 32.5 inches deep, 43 wide and 29 high. Flip the folding 60/40 rear seatbacks and capacity expands to 62.8 cubic feet for 65 inches of loading depth.
Residing beneath the cargo floor is a space saver tire around which some small items can be stowed.
Depending on the trim model selected, Seltos is offered with two engine choices. The base engine is a 2.0-liter inline 4 with 146-hp and 132 ft/lb of torque and EPA mileage estimates of 27/31 with AWD. Standard in SE and Nightfall is a 1.6-liter inline 4 that generates 175-hp and 195 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 25 city, 30-highway mpg with the 7-speed automatic.
So powered, and under full throttle acceleration, Seltos exudes a linear application of robust power. The little four moves 3,317-pound Seltos with quickness. There’s certainly no want for power.
Kia does not list a tow rating for the Seltos but I would suspect it can handle a small, light utility trailer or a pair of trailered kayaks.
With 7.3 inches of ground clearance, Seltos can handle mild off-road trails and modest snow depths.
As for ride and handling, Seltos is a smooth and quiet rider on Kumho 18-inch tires. Its suspension nicely soaks up road imperfections and tar strip bumps.
The crossover feels planted in sharp turns and it parks easily with its 34.8-foot turn circle. Seltos is exceptionally nimble and enjoyable to drive.
The SX model comes with an extremely long list of standard safety features such as the most desired forward collision warning with pedestrian alert, lane keeping/following assist, lane departure warning, driver attention warning, blind spot collision avoidance/assist, rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist, rear occupant alert, smart cruise control and more.
For all this, Seltos carried a base price of $27, 990. After adding snow-white pearl paint ($345), sunroof ($700), cargo mat ($95), carpeted floor mats ($130) and delivery ($1,175), the bottom line reflected an especially affordable $30, 435.
So priced, Seltos offers a lot of content and AWD crossover for the money. And it comes with impressive government 5-star safety ratings of four for an overall score; five for driver frontal crash, four for passenger; five for front/rear seat side crash; and four for rollover.
Like all Kia vehicles, Seltos has a generous 10 year/100K powertrain warranty, 5/60K basic warranty and 5/60K roadside assistance coverage. With this, it’s an all-encompassing crossover.