2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD: Bejeweled and Enchanting like a Citrine

Kia Seltos Natalie Merola A Girls Guide To Cars Feature-1
?: Elias Garcia

What’s on the outside counts as much as the inside.

So go big and bold in Starbright! The 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD is bedazzling with its modern design and its colorful paint options are as enchanting as a well-cut citrine. On the outside, a gem-cut grille and bright LED lights give it a distinct look. Inside there’s lots of cargo space within reach of the liftgate, two rows of seating – don’t underestimate the roominess!– and a solid package of all the standard safety and tech features you could want (and get) for the money.

I took a closer look during a my week-long test drive and I’ll share what I loved, what surprised me and what inspired amazement along the way in. Overall, it’s easy to live large at a fraction of the price in this crossover. 

Related: The 2021 Kia Seltos is Here and Yes, You Want One

2021 Kia Seltos Sx Turbo Awd Side Angle Natalie Merola

This trim’s black accents and wheel design have the right touch of detail. ?: Natalie Merola

Who the Kia Seltos is for

This new subcompact crossover is lightweight and fully loaded just shy of $30,000 at $29,485. This trim level for the Kia Seltos starts at $27,890, which isn’t bad considering all of the functional infotainment and tech features you’ll find inside. It has a 1.6L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine and 175 horsepower. From seat ventilation to a drive mode selector, you feel a little bit fancy. This is the perfect crossover for a couple, small family of three or four, a dog mom/dad, the first-time driver, or drivers who want an SUV but don’t want one that boat-sized. 


2021 Kia Seltos Sx Turbo Awd Natalie Merola

Turning heads with its Starbright yellow paint color. ?: Natalie Merola

What I Love about the Kia Seltos

  • Seltos comes from “Celtos,” who was Hercules’ son in Greek mythology. I also loved the cosmic paint color names like Mars Orange, Neptune Blue and Deep Ocean Blue. It’s all about the little things.
  • The infotainment center didn’t feel cheap or plastic. It was full of useful apps, easy to use, and visually clear. 
  • The “Sounds of Nature” app filled the drive space with a sense of being one with your adventure. Other sounds included an “Open-Air Cafe” which made it feel like I was working at a cafe, especially if when I had the WiFi hotspot setup.
  • Tons of ways to charge devices for the front and back seat means everyone is happy on the next trip out and about town. 
  • Cargo space with a lot of depth and an easy-to-reach liftgate is ideal for the shorties like myself. Fit all the groceries and gear you need while having reachable access? I’m all on it. 


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Looks can be deceiving, but there is a lot of leg room back there! ?: Natalie Merola

Spacious Backseat with Storage, Charging, and Legroom

Technically you can fit three people in the backseat, but ideally, it’s more comfortable for two and they’ll have a lot of space. With a child passenger car seat in the back, it’s definitely more comfortable for 4. The center seat has a cupholder drop-down. You can put cups, snacks, handbags, and devices there, too. On the seat backs there are pouches for devices and activities/accessories storage. 

There are also air vents to keep the air flowing for quick cooling or keeping the cabin warm and comforting. It all depends on the weather and your drive needs. With enough legroom, you can comfortably fit your own baby bag or purse along with activity gear without feeling cramped or having to decide what to leave at home. You can haul it all regardless of what stage of life you’re in. 


Lots of Luxe for the Price 

The number of luxuries for under $30,000 was a surprise. They included: Heated and cooled front seats. That are leather. A wireless phone charger. Soft touch dash and door panels with stitching. Distinct speaker panels that continue the gem-cut idea that the front grille and perforated seats convey. Blind spot detectors. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A zippy, turbo charged engine. Multiple drive modes.  And roof rails– yes, they are included!

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You know you’ve got high-tech convenience when your car reminds you to eat lunch. Calendar goals achieved! ?: Natalie Merola

You Have the World at Your Fingerprints, and You Didn’t Even Break the Bank with the Budget

The infotainment is an extension of your phone in all of the right ways. Split the screen and conquer the days. You can decide if you want to view and show navigation, music, and calendar alerts. Or if you just want to focus on the current music track, you can do that, too. You control what you see and it’s easy with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. It’s a touch and button-functional screen, so I’m happy about that. Usually I am not a fan of touchscreen, but this screen stayed clear despite touching it multiple times. Want more ways to manage the music and calls? Your steering wheel has the buttons to do just that. After driving the 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD with its gem-cut grille, bedazzling paint color, and spaciousness alongside the safety and tech features, it’s easy to see why the young and mature crowds are both flocking to this subcompact crossover. It’s full of personality, while wrapping up safety and technology with affordability.

What We Listened to in the Kia Seltos

This car is young, fun and inspired us to turn up the music. This is what we listened to during our test drive:

Disclosure: The Kia Seltos was provided for this review; all opinions are my own. 

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I'm Natalie "Kitty" Merola. I'm a cool mom who loves fabulous style + beauty accessories, fast cars, video games,... More about Natalie Merola