The 2024 Seltos, Kia’s Lilliputian crossover, gets its name from Celtus, the son of Hercules. It’s fitting, as Kia is undoubtedly in a strong position as their Telluride SUV is incredibly popular, juicing sales of the rest of the line-up.
That includes Kia’s tiniest crossover, which slots above the Soul in the Kia portfolio, yet is handily outsold by the fashion forward, yet cheaper, Kia Soul. But the latter lacks a crucial item: all-wheel drive, a crucial element in areas that are snow-afflicted.
And for 2024, the Seltos receives an extensive mid-cycle update keeps it more competitive than ever. It’s needed, given the class is rife with rivals, including the Honda HR-V, Buick Encore GX, Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Corolla Cross, Nissan Kicks and Chevrolet Trax and Trailblazer among others. It also offers a starting point for the brand, with 60% of buyers having never purchased a Kia. It serves as a good starting point, as two out of three Kias sold are now some sort of utility vehicle.
Offered in LX, S, EX, X-Line and SX trim, the Kia Seltos provides something few vehicles in its class offer: standard all-wheel drive on its base LX model. In fact, all models come with all-wheel drive, with only the S and EX being sold with front-wheel drive. The X-LIne trim is new for 2024, replacing last year’s Nightfall Edition, and comes with a unique grille, 18-inch wheels, and gunmetal and black trim finishes.
The Kia retains its overall shape, getting the expected mid-cycle fascial, with a larger Tiger Nose grille bracketed by LED headlamps and a revised front and rear bumpers. Rear lighting has also been revised while a power liftgate and 18-inch wheels are optional. While the Kia Seltos shares its underpinnings with its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Kona, its look is far different, being handsome, modern and sporty and very much a Kia.
The roof is rated to carry 220 pounds. Payload is 850 pounds on our SX test vehicle, and as much as 1,276 pounds on front-wheel drive models.
The bigger makeover appears inside, where the top half of the instrument panel gets an extensive makeover. The overall look is far more sophisticated, dispensing with last year’s screen that looked as if someone cluelessly glued an iPad atop the instrument panel. It’s been replaced by a large horizontal sheet of glass, beneath which you’ll find a standard 4.2-inch instrument cluster with digital gauges paired with an 8-inch infotainment display. A 10.25-inch instrument cluster and 10.25 inch center display are optional.
The Seltos can hold 26.6 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats in use; 53.2 cubic feet with them folded.
When it comes time to move, you’ll find the Seltos LX, S, and EX is equipped with a 2.0-liter Atkinson Cycle 4-cylinder engine that produces 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque through a continuously variable transmission. The X-Line and SX are powered by a noticeably more powerful 1.6-liter turbocharged four rated 195 horsepower with an 8-speed automatic transmission, rather than the 2023 model’s 7-speed dual clutch transmission.
The EPA rates the 2.0-liter engine at 27 mpg city, 31 mpg highway with all-wheel drive, and 28 mpg city, 34 mpg highway front-wheel drive. Turbo models fare slightly worse, but are still impressive, at 25 mpg city, 27 highway.
The all-wheel drive system’s torque vectoring maintains the vehicle’s path through corners, while a locking center differential helps distribute power front and rear when roads are slippery. There are in addition to three selectable driving modes that regulate throttle response, transmission shifts and steering feel, but they didn’t make a dramatic difference.
Notably, the Kia Seltos is not rated for towing.
Safety and Technology
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2024 Kia Seltos. While Kia has an impressive roster of standard driver-assistance safety systems, higher trims come with more standard goodies. Nevertheless, all Seltos models come with 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.
Three USB ports, including a USB-C port, are standard. A smartphone digital key is optional on all but the base LX trim. The Seltos’ software features over the-air updating, so that it should always be current.
The most immediate trait apparent on the new Seltos was its silence; it seems far quieter than before, lending it a refined demeanor. The feeling was enhanced by its handling, which proves very well-behaved with quick, nicely weighted — if somewhat light — steering.
When roads turn rogue, becoming rough, unpaved or curvy, the subcompact Seltos ably absorbs most, but not all, bumps with no theatrics, such as side-to-side rocking. Even when challenged traversing a crowned two-lane road or uneven road surface, the Seltos remains composed. Abrupt maneuvers fail to bring out tire squeal, and this little niblet always proves controllable, with higher cornering limits than you might expect in a mainstream CUV.
The cabin is roomy and comfortable with generous headroom for a subcompact. The SX trim feels nicely appointed for the price, and the added driver-assistance systems are welcome. One sour note is a common one in this class: the hard side of the center console provides an uncomfortable perch for those with long legs.
Yet the rear cargo space is impressive for this vehicle’s size.
2024 Kia Seltos SX Specifications
|Dimensions||L: 172.6 inches/W: 70.9 inches/H: 63.4 inches/Wheelbase: 103.5 inches|
|Powertrain||1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg city/27 mpg highway/26 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $24,390; As tested: $29,990, plus $1,325 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available for ordering|
The Seltos remains a solid choice in the subcompact crossover field, a segment filled with competition. But the Kia’s refined manners, good space, modern technology and its ever-rising reputation, this little Kia should continue to flex its muscular sales strength in an ever more-competitive market.
2024 Kia Seltos — Frequently Asked Questions
How much is the Kia Seltos for 2024?
Prices start at $24,390, excluding a $1,325 destination fee, options and sales tax.
Is Kia Seltos good on gas?
The best mileage can be found on the front-wheel-drive Seltos, returning 31 mpg in mixed city/highway driving. All-wheel-drive models return 29 mpg, while turbocharged Seltos trims return 26 mpg.
Is Kia Seltos a real SUV?
Lacking a low-range gear and other off-road equipment, the Seltos is a crossover utility vehicle that’s more of a foul-weather friend than a true SUV.