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

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What do you want in a new car?

With so many options out there, what factors make you decide what you want? For me, it’s three things: how the car fits my life, cost, and looks. The all-new Kia Seltos covers all of the bases for me. It’s comfortable and has a roomy rear seat that my kids would be comfortable in. It is super affordable, as in “Is that a typo or is that really how much it costs???” affordable. And, it looks good. The 2021 Kia Seltos is going to appeal to a lot of car buyers and you might be one of them.

Meet the Kia Seltos: Kia’s All-new Subcompact Crossover

The 2021 Kia Seltos is small on size, small in price and big on adventure, performance, and style. What’s not to like?

The 2021 Kia Seltos Shows Us Its Off Road Capability

Are you looking for sleek, aggressive, rugged, AND budget-friendly? Meet the 2021 Kia Seltos. ? Jill Robbins

What’s in a Name?

A rose by any other name or something like that…sound familiar? Are you curious about why Seltos is called Seltos?

Seltos is derived from Celtos, which is the name of Hercules’ son. Did you know Hercules had a son? Me either. If you’re fascinated by the meaning behind what your car is called, this is a cool story.

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Objects in the mirror may be…more Kia Seltos’! ? Jill Robbins

That’s Really How Much it Costs

The 2021 Kia Seltos is super affordable. It has a starting MSRP of $21,990. The fully loaded model tops out at $27,890 and there are a few intermediate trims in there. This is a crazy affordable price point for a crossover with this much room. And the fuel economy? The gift that keeps on giving. The Seltos gets an average of 31 miles per gallon. I spent an afternoon on this car on the highway, on the back roads, and off the road entirely. I pushed this car hard because it was freaking fun to drive. The fuel efficiency was impressive.

2021 Kia Seltos

The rear seats in the 2021 Kia Seltos fold down if you need the extra space in the back to transport luggage or gear. ? Kia Motors

Related: Do you know more women than ever are driving car purchases?

Who is this Car for?

The Kia Seltos is definitely a stage of life vehicle. It has appeal for older Gen Xers or Baby Boomers or Gen Y and Gen Z but for different reasons.

  • Empty nesters or anyone who wants to downsize. If you’re in the throes of soccer mom life, the Kia Seltos might not offer enough room if you’re looking at this to be your primary mom-mobile. If you’re past the point where you need to haul around a ton of kids and a ton of stuff on a regular basis, this might be your new car.
  • Young professionals or first-time car buyers. The price point makes the Seltos attractive to young buyers on a budget. It’s also nice looking with a roomy rear seat if you need to transport clients.
  • A second car or a commuter car for a family. I am still in the throes of soccer mom life and the Kia Seltos doesn’t offer enough rear storage for four suitcases but this would be an awesome car for my husband to drive to work each day. It would also work for a trip for two – there’s plenty of room in the back for two bags. More bags might be a tighter squeeze but still doable depending on how you pack.
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The Kia Seltos gives you plenty of “clip in your clop” whether you’re driving off-road in Texas or on the city streets. ? Jill Robbins

The 2021 Kia Seltos Wins the Prize for Comfort

I’m 5’10 and I found the Kia Seltos very comfortable. I had plenty of legroom in the front seat and, unlike some subcompact crossovers, I didn’t feel like my head was bumping up against the roof of the car.  The rear seat was surprisingly roomy. I wouldn’t want to ride back there every day but for a short or occasional trip, it wasn’t uncomfortable.

And Can We Just Dish On this Paint Color for a Minute?

This unique color is called Starbright Yellow. I’m sort of a car paint color nerd and this one truly wowed me. It’s eye-catching without being in your face.

There’s also a Mars Orange option that I haven’t seen in person yet. And Neptune Blue which is fairly close to the Voodoo Blue Toyota paint color that I’m absolutely obsessed with. I told you I was a paint color nerd. There are also two different white paint options, black, gray, and a more subdued blue.

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Can we just dish on this Starbright Yellow paint color for just a minute? And this pop of red on the wheel? I can almost hear angels singing. ? Jill Robbins

I believe car appearance and paint color matters. You’re in your car every day. You wouldn’t want to wear glasses or carry a backpack in a color you absolutely can’t stand. Your environment should make you feel good, so if anyone ever scoffs at you for wanting a car in a particular color, don’t let it rattle you.

I had the opportunity to drive the Seltos on different types of terrain last week at Kia’s press event in San Antonio. It handles well on the highway, on the back roads and even off the road altogether. This crossover is going to appeal to a lot of car buyers because of its versatility.

Related: Minivans Versus SUVs: Which is Right for You?


? Kia Motors

Models and Pricing Broken Down:

There’s a difference of about $6K between the base model and the fully-loaded Seltos. This lays out what you get with each trim package:

  • LX (base model) is $21,990. You’ll get an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, a rear camera, Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto, Remote Keyless Entry. The LX comes with torque vectoring and center lock all-wheel drive, and an intelligent variable transmission. The LX model has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine.
  • S 2.0L Model is $21,990. Although this is priced the same as the base LX, it’s got some additional safety features and some design features that aren’t on the LX, such as an LED light bar, roof rails and heated outside mirrors. AWD is available as an add-on.
  • EX Model is $25,290. With this price, jump comes additional design and tech features, like a power sunroof, push-button start, wireless phone charger, and automatic temperature control. 
  • The S 1.6T is $25,490. This price point offers a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine with an Intelligent Variable Transmission. Aside from the different engines, this is different than the other S mode in that it has standard torque-vectoring AWD with center lock. If performance is on your list of important features along with price and practicality, this model is one to scope out.
  • The SX, which is the model I drove, is the top trim level at $27,890. It offers a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, UVO link, Bose Premium Audio with a sound connected mood lamp. It also offers features standard on the EX model, such as wireless phone charger, push-button start and more. 

There’s definitely some variation in features and handling. While I might not put performance at the top of my list, something like an upgraded touch screen might entice me to shell out the extra bucks for the top of the line SX.

What Else Do You Need to Know About the 2021 Kia Seltos?

  • We know it’s only February but the 2021 Kia Seltos is in dealerships NOW. Go drive one.
  • This vehicle can go off road. While it isn’t something you’d want to take out in extremely rough terrain, it did very well off road at a private ranch in Texas. While the Kia Seltos isn’t designed to be your farm and ranch workhorse, it could be used as a “lunch runner” car or a manger’s car on a working ranch.
  • The Seltos joins Kia’s line of now four SUVs. The new in 2020 Telluride, the Sportage, and the Sorento are all selling well. If the Seltos isn’t your car, one of the others might be.
  • The Seltos has a good-looking and sleek exterior with some seriously aggressive capabilities. It’s pretty yet tough, so if you need to identify with your ride, this might speak to you.
2021 Kia Seltos

The 2021 Kia Seltos has great “soft” off road capabilities. While it’s not built for driving up the side of a mountain, it handles well on the dirt roads and through the mud. ? Jill Robbins

The 2021 Kia Seltos is definitely worth a look. If it isn’t the right car for you right now, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind for the young drivers in your life, or, anyone who might be downsizing.

2021 Kia Seltos

The 2021 Kia Seltos is very tech-forward. The screen on the standard package is 8″ and 10″ with the upgraded trim. The Kia Seltos also boasts Bose speakers in the SX model. It works well with Apple Car Play or Android Auto to blast your Hamilton Soundtrack. Or…you know…whatever your thing is. ? Kia Motors

2021 Kia Seltos

Disclosure: I was Kia’s guest for this test drive. It was really nice of them to arrange this event in my hometown so I didn’t have to travel, but they did provide hotel so I could be the first one on the road in the morning. All opinions and feeding of ostriches are my own.

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Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins