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2024 Kia Seltos: A Well-Designed Workhorse With Sophisticated Design

by | December 22, 2023

The Kia Seltos gets a facelift for 2024.

It’s true that while pricey cars get all of the attention, it’s the mainstream cars that are the true works of art. After all, when you have a car with a six-figure price tag, it’s fairly easy to endow it with a pleasing design and exemplary performance. When the vehicle’s out-the-door price is one-third of that, compromise comes into play. It’s here where the vehicles that most deftly handle compromise win.

And so it is with the 2024 Kia Seltos, Kia’s Lilliputian crossover. It receives an extensive mid-cycle refresh in a class rife with rivals, including the Buick Encore GX and Envista, Chevrolet Trax and Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Nissan Kicks, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Corolla Cross, Volkswagen Taos and the Seltos’ mechanical cousin, the Hyundai Kona.

But it makes for a great entry into the brand. In fact, 60% of Seltos buyers are new to Kia. But the 2024 Kia Seltos offers something that few vehicles in this class offer: all-wheel drive on the Seltos LX, S, EX, X-Line and SX. In other words, it offers it across the line. Only Subaru does this. If you prefer front-wheel drive, you can get it on the Kia Seltos S and EX grades.


New bumpers and revised lighting highlight the changes of the 2024 Kia Seltos.

For 2024, the Kia Seltos sees gets the X-Line trim level, which is basically a renamed rendition of the 2023 Seltos Nightfall Edition, and sports a unique grille, 18-inch wheels, with a body detailed with gunmetal and black trim finishes.

Other Seltos models also benefit from a facelift, with a bigger Tiger Nose grille bookended by LED headlamps. Front and rear bumpers have also been revised, as has the Seltos’ rear lighting. A power lift gate and 18-inch wheels are optional.

Certainly the new look is handsome, more so than its Hyundai Kona stablemate.

But the Seltos also brings with it more than just a beautiful face.

A new instrument panel lends the cabin a more refined feel.

But the Seltos’ makeover is more than skin deep. After all, the carpet has to match the drapes. So inside, there’s a new instrument panel that lends the interior a premium design sophistication that’s notably lacking in many of its rivals. As with any modern vehicle, its main focus is the standard 4.2-inch instrument cluster with digital gauges and an 8-inch infotainment display. A larger 10.25-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch center display are available. Its software features over the-air updating, so that it should always be current. Three USB ports, including a USB-C port, are standard. A smartphone digital key is optional on all but the base LX trim.

And this is a roomy little bugger for a vehicle measuring 172.6 inches long and just under 71 inches wide. There’s 26.6 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats in use; 53.2 cubic feet when they’re not. Inside, our SX test vehicle was rated to carry 850 pounds. Front-wheel drive models are able to haul as much as 1,276 pounds. And its roof can carry 220 pounds.


The interior proves suprisingly refined in appearance.

The 2024 Kia Seltos LX, S, and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle four-cylinder engine that develops 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque through a continuously variable transmission. It’s EPA-rated at 27 mpg city, 31 mpg highway with all-wheel drive, and 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway front-wheel drive.

Better to opt for the pricier Seltos X-Line and SX if your budget allows, as it comes with a more potent 1.6-liter turbocharged four generating 195 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s EPA-rated at 25 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.

You’ll notice, however, that if you prefer front-wheel drive, you can only get the base powerplant. And although all-wheel-drive models are thirstier, they come with torque vectoring, which helps the Seltos carve through corners ore effectively. It also has a locking center differential that distributes power front and rear when thoroughfares become slick. However, you’ll have to leave that trailer at home; the Kia Seltos is not rated for towing.

Rear seat room is about what you’d expect given its size.

Three adjustable driving modes controlled steering feel, throttle responsiveness, and gearbox changes on our test vehicle, a Kia Seltos SX, although they didn’t significantly alter the drive experience.

Standard driver-assistance safety systems include Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Speed Limit Assist, Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Lane Following Assist, Rear View Monitor, and Rear Occupant Alert. Seltos S and higher trims add Safe Exit Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Assist, while Seltos SX offers Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Junction Turning, Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, and Highway Driving Assist.


Thankfully, some controls aren’t put onto the screen.

The new Seltos’ silence is the first thing you’ll notice. Compared to its previous model or its competition, it’s much quieter, giving it a more premium feel. The Seltos’ handling adds to the experiencem being remarkably well-behaved. The steering is fast and finely weighted, if still somewhat light. The subcompact Seltos effectively absorbs most bumps, but not all of them. It does so without side-to-side shaking, maintaining its composure even when faced with obstacles like uneven pavement or a crowned two-lane road. Unexpectedly, it corners more capably than you’d expect, never producing tire squeals during sudden movements. Its’s quite impressive.

For a subcompact, the inside offers plenty of room and comfort, and the rear baggage area is rather large given the vehicle’s size. The driver-assistance technologies are a pleasant addition, and the SX trim seems well-appointed considering the price. That said, the unpadded side of the center console proves painful for those with longer legs. But such an oversite is typical in this class.

The 2024 Kia Seltos proves to be a good value

Yet the 2024 Kia Seltos proves to be a worthy compact crossover SUV, with a strong design presence inside and out, up-to-the-minute technology and impressive performance. It’s a well-executed balancing act that’s admirable.

And its price won’t leave you in the poorhouse. Our loaded SX tester didn’t break the $30,000 barrier, a miracle in this day of overpriced vehicles. That makes this Kia an affordable SUV worthy of putting on your shopping list.


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