The Kia Seltos is the newest compact crossover SUV from the Korean brand. It was introduced for the 2021 model year with an overall good reception. The 2024 model year sees more than just a refresh of the exterior design. There are a few key improvements, specifically, with this Seltos SX Turbo variant.
Engine – The standard 2.0L 4-cylinder engine remains the same. It still produces 147 hp & 132 lb-ft of torque (109 kW & 179 Nm) just like before the facelift. This SX, and new X-Line trim, also retains the 1.6 L turbocharged engine but it now produces more power. 195 hp & 195 lb-ft of torque (145 kW & 264 Nm). That’s a bump of 20 hp over the pre-facelift version Seltos. Because it’s turbocharged, peak torque is hit at a very low 1,500 rpms and is sustained until the rpm needle hits 4,500. This low end torque makes the car feel peppy and while performing an overtake on a highway, the engine feels strong and up to the task without much fuss.
Fuel Economy – The downfall of this engine, like many other turbocharged engines, is the fuel economy. It’s not horrible but it’s not as good as some other compact crossover SUVs. Granted, most other crossovers of this size use naturally aspirated engines with the exception of the Mazda CX-30. But that turbo engine is in a league of its own.
Anyway, this 2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD is rated for 9.4 L/100km (25 MPG) in a city and 8.7 L/100km (27 MPG) on a highway. I averaged 8.8 L/100km (26.7 MPG) so the fuel economy figures are easily achievable in the real world.
Transmission – The biggest change to the 2024 Kia Seltos SX is the replacement of the awful 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. That transmission was slow to shift (by DCT standards) and you always got the impression that the computer was still trying to learn how to use a clutch. Setting off from a stop was jerky and there was hesitation from the car.
Thankfully, the turbocharged engine is now paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is a traditional automatic which means that the shifts are smooth, it doesn’t hesitate when setting off from a stop, and if it were to fail, it should be easier to repair than a DCT. It’s not the fastest shifting automatic out there but for a car like this, it’s more than acceptable.
Braking – The 2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo tips the scales at 1,525 kg (3,363 lbs). But the brakes have no issues in stopping this crossover SUV within a reasonable distance. There is quite a bit of brake pedal modulation but this aids in performing smooth stops.
Handling – Unlike the Mazda CX-30, this Kia Seltos was not designed to be a sporty crossover. Having said that, it’s not too bad to drive when you find yourself on a winding mountain road. The steering is lacking in feel but it is direct and light for ease of maneuverability.
With the Turbo trim levels being only available with AWD, the 2024 Seltos can handle loose surface and light off-roading without too much fuss. It’s not a sophisticated AWD system but there is an AWD lock button on the center console which allows more of the engine’s power to be sent to the back wheels. Switch the car into Sport mode with the AWD lock engaged and you can get the back end to swing out on loose surfaces.
Ride Comfort – The 2024 Kia Seltos has slightly firmer suspension than the Hyundai Kona that it is based on. Having said that though, the ride still feels plush over rough roads. Big bumps are smoothed out and the suspension quickly settles the body over big road undulations.
One area, however, that can be improved is the seat comfort. The seats themselves are supportive and have enough adjustments, including lumbar for the driver. But the padding is too firm. The back seats have a bit more padding than the fronts but it’s usually the driver’s seat that sees the most use.
Interior Space – The 2024 Kia Seltos has similar amounts of legroom as other crossover SUVs. For my above average height of 6’4”, I have no issues in the driver’s seat. But sitting behind myself, it’s not enough legroom. Again, I am above average in height so more average sized adults should have more leg space. Headroom in the Seltos is greater than most other crossovers across both rows of seats.
Where the 2024 Seltos really shines is behind the seats. Cargo capacity is greater than most of its competitors with 752 L (26.5 cu-ft) behind the 2nd row seats and 1,778 L (62.8 cu-ft) with the rear seats folded.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – A big plus for the Seltos is that the engine is very quiet. Even when accelerating at a normal rate from a stop, it hardly intrudes into the cabin. Obviously it will be quite loud if you take it past 3,500 rpms and onwards. Road noise is more intrusive into the cabin, particularly on highways.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2024 Kia Seltos is one of the last and few inexpensive crossover SUVs on the market today. It starts at just $25,195 CAD ($24,390 USD) for the LX FWD. But, as you start to move up in the trim levels, you will find yourself paying over $35,795 CAD ($29,990 USD) as is the price of this SX Turbo trim. At least getting into this Turbo trim will cost you less than the top spec trims of the HR-V or Corolla Cross.
Gadgets – The standard Kia Seltos obviously doesn’t have as many features as this SX trim but it still comes equipped with heated front seats, an 8” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity (wired), bluetooth, and 17” alloy wheels to name a few.
But if you spend the money on this SX trim, you’ll get heated rear seats, a sunroof, power liftgate, a larger 10.25” touchscreen but still wired CarPlay & Android Auto, keyless entry with push button start, leather upholstery, power adjustable driver & passenger seats, and a heated steering wheel to name a few.
Additionally, the Kia Seltos has some features that are quite rare on compact crossover SUVs. Some of these features include ventilated front seats and a head-up display. Granted, the ventilated seats are air cooled which are not quite the same as those found in some luxury vehicles and the head-up display is the kind that displays information on a piece of plastic rather than projecting the info on the windshield. But at least this car has those features.
Interior Design – The 2024 Kia Seltos receives larger 10.25” driver and infotainment displays. The lower trims still use analog gauges along with a 4.2” TFT cluster and the aforementioned 8” touchscreen. The climate controls also see a change to their design but they remain as physical controls and thankfully they’re not integrated into the infotainment touchscreen. The rest of the interior doesn’t see changes.
Exterior Design – The tweaks to the exterior design are just that, tweaks. The front fascia and rear taillight designs are subtle. It would require the new Seltos and the older Seltos to be side by side in order to spot the differences.
Safety – The 2024 Kia Seltos is equipped with just about every safety & driver aid that is available on this vehicle. Blind spot sensors, lane departure warning with lane keep, forward collision alert with emergency braking, and safe exit assist to name a few are all standard features on the Canadian spec 2024 Seltos. The only options that get added on as you move up to the EX Premium trim are advanced forward collision avoidance assist, highway drive assist, and an electronic parking brake.
Warranty – In Canada, the 2024 Kia Seltos is covered by a 5 year / 100,000 km new vehicle and powertrain warranty. In the United States, the basic warranty is 5 years / 60,000 miles and the powertrain warranty is 10 years / 100,000 miles. For more information on Kia’s Canadian warranty, click here. For Kia USA warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – The last time I reviewed this car, I actually liked it. But I couldn’t recommend the top spec SX trim because of that horrible 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. With this new one, I can because the new 8-speed is better and at the very least, it should cost you less in repairs if it breaks down. So overall, I still think that this is a good little car. You have a choice of two engines, FWD or AWD, spec it up with a lot of options, or leave it bare bones and it’s one of the less expensive crossovers on sale.
Thank you to Kia Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Kia.ca