Home » The 2024 Kia Seltos Is The Second Cheapest All-Wheel Drive SUV In America But It’s Still Fantastic

The 2024 Kia Seltos Is The Second Cheapest All-Wheel Drive SUV In America But It’s Still Fantastic

2024 Kia Seltos X Line Topshot 3
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Model bloat is a hell of a thing, huh? While the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Kia Sportage used to be pint-sized utility vehicles, their current models are all surprisingly large, undeniably spacious, and unfortunately expensive. Thankfully, there is hope, and it comes in the form of cheaper, right-sized subcompact crossovers like the Hyundai Kona and its cousin, the Kia Seltos. The 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line is nearly the same size as an original Honda CR-V, but does it have what it takes to tempt people out of larger compact crossovers? I tested one to find out.

First, a disclaimer: The Seltos X-Line in America sits above the EX trim, while this Canadian Seltos X-Line sits above the ritzy SX trim. As such, some features like the ventilated front seats (jeez, spoiler alert) aren’t available in this trim for most readers. However, this smorgasbord trim lets us try out just about everything available on a Seltos, so let’s roll with the bright side.

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[Full disclosure: Kia Canada lent me this Seltos for a week, so long as I reviewed it, photographed it, and returned it undamaged with a full tank of gas]

What Is The 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line?

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Not only is the 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line roughly the same size as compact crossovers used to be, the Seltos itself is among the cheapest all-wheel-drive vehicles on sale today with a base price of $25,715. The only all-wheel-drive cars that beat it on price are the Subaru Impreza and Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and those both come with caveats. The Subaru Impreza isn’t as spacious as the Seltos, while the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was bad in 2016 and has only aged worse since then.

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Oh, and the value of the Seltos gets even better as you add options. If you loaded up a Toyota RAV4 to roughly match this Seltos X-Line, you’d be paying an extra $6,005. Think of this as an affordable way of getting into an all-wheel-drive crossover that’s genuinely big enough to be a family car.

The Basics

Price: $30,015 ($41,033 Canadian) as-tested

Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged 16-valve gasoline four-cylinder.

Transmission: Eight-speed conventional automatic.

Drivetrain: Full-time all-wheel-drive with locking power transfer unit.

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Horsepower: 195 horsepower at 6,000 RPM.

Torque: 195 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 RPM to 4,500 RPM.

Fuel Economy: 25 MPG city, 27 MPG highway, 26 MPG combined (9.4 L/100km city, 8.7 L/100km highway, 9.1 L/100km combined).

Body Style: Five-door subcompact crossover utility vehicle.

Curb Weight: 3,247 pounds.

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How Does It Look?

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Front

Well, it’s very crossover-y. Squared-off, upright, and with enough styling for three or four cars, it fits right in with the current crop of highly-equipped urban haulers. Did Mazda make a prettier subcompact crossover? Absolutely. Does it actually matter? Not one bit. A car like this is just a wrapper for you to put your supersized life in, and dull is typically more favorable than controversial.

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line front three-quarters

You know what isn’t dull though? This shade of blue. Hot damn, is it ever delicious, and massively in season right now. Mercedes offers a similar shade on the G-Wagen that the rich and famous are throwing money at salespeople to get, so to have the choice of something similar from Kia is marvelous.

How About The Inside?

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Interior

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Spacious, thank you very much. In fact, the Seltos is so spacious that if you have, say, a twelve-year-old Ford Escape, this will feel just as roomy. Forget the “subcompact” label, that’s just model bloat kicking in for everything else. Based on the numbers alone, the Seltos is as roomy as a Sportage was just a few generations ago.

cargo area

However, numbers don’t tell the whole story, especially when it comes to cargo space, because nothing other than a bag of Canadian milk is one convenient, flexible liter. Cargo area shape matters, and the Seltos’ cargo area is pretty much as squared-off and usable as they come.

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Contrasting all this utilitarian roominess is the presence of stitched materials on the dashboard and door cards, ventilated front seats on this Canadian example, and a sleek dual-screen setup. You really aren’t giving up much over a larger compact crossover, and you’re saving a bundle with a loaded Seltos over, say, a loaded Toyota RAV4. If you’re particularly feature-driven, it might be time to think small.

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What’s It Like To Drive?

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Engine

On the 2024 Seltos, the optional 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine gets a power boost to 195 ponies, and a new eight-speed conventional automatic transmission to replace the old seven-speed dual dry clutch transmission. The immediate result? Solid acceleration, and now you won’t arrive everywhere smelling like clutch.

However, this newfound refinement and, um, odor reduction comes at a cost: Low-speed transmission response. If you’re creeping along at say, 20 mph or less and suddenly want to merge, the powertrain control systems take a couple seconds to perhaps send some faxes before sorting things out. Could you accidentally run one of these crossovers directly into the passenger door of whatever you’re trying to merge in front of? If you’re an idiot, sure. For most people though, this transmission behavior will just be disconcerting, and potentially enough to pass over the car altogether.

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Wheel

A weird transmission delay is a shame, because there’s lots to like about how the Seltos drives. The steering, while light at low speeds, weights up nicely on the highway, and ride comfort is remarkable for a subcompact crossover. I believe the technical term for the condition of Toronto roadways is, um, shite, yet the Seltos swallows up expansion joints and skips over potholes. Short wheelbase who? You can even lock the front-to-rear torque split 50:50 on all-wheel-drive models for deep snow, beachy silt, heavy loam, and possibly even TV game show quicksand. Maybe don’t try that last one, but you get the idea. It’s a crossover utility vehicle, with a little extra emphasis on utility.

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Does It Have The Electronic Crap I Want?

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Infotainment

Oh, buddy. Oh, buddy. This absolute mack-daddy spec 2024 Kia Seltos has electronic crap you want, electronic crap you never knew you’d want, and electronic crap childhood you would’ve thought was impossible. Sure, the typical fully-loaded feature set of CarPlay, head-up display, navigation, premium sound, panoramic roof, power driver’s seat, et cetera is on deck, but there’s so much more going on here than that.

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For instance, displaying a camera feed of your left or right blind spot in the digital cluster depending on which turn signal is activated is still genius several years on. Can I get sunglasses with that built-in? Oh, and then there’s the key, which looks like a detonator from a 1980s action film. Every time you lock this thing, you can pretend you’re Mel…nope. You can pretend you’re Steven…no, that legacy hasn’t aged well either. Hmm. Well, you can pretend you’re cooler than a polar bear in a hot tub full of dry ice. Then there’s the stereo on my loaded Canadian example — you don’t expect a Bose system to be excellent for its class, but this one is. However, we’ve only reached the tip of the Seltos’ iceberg of gizmos.

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This Kia Seltos is genuinely doing the most with digital instrument clusters because although this isn’t the most configurable unit in the game, it features a simulated sky during the day and shooting stars at night. You don’t even get shooting stars in a Maybach gauge cluster. It’s a similar deal with the ambient lighting, which can pulse on-beat with the music at proper driving speeds. Is that even legal? Who cares? It’s provocative, and indicative of Kia’s willingness to take risks and get the people going.

Three Things To Know About The 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line

  1. You can lock its all-wheel-drive system for winter traction.
  2. It’s surprisingly spacious.
  3. Canada’s version gets way more toys.

Does The 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line Fulfill Its Purpose?

2024 Kia Seltos X-Line rear three-quarters

Damn near perfectly. Aside from an occasionally recalcitrant transmission calibration and the expense of this trim, Kia has absolutely nailed the essence of the subcompact crossover. It’s not too big, not too small, not too sparse, not too posh, not too tall, not too low, and just the absolute poster child of right-sizing. Oh, and perhaps the best part? Unlike the Hyundai Kona, all of the Seltos’ gimmicks are fun, not posturing. Isn’t it amazing what a good facelift can do?

What’s The Punctum Of The 2024 Kia Seltos X-Line?

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Kia has built a better Hyundai Kona.

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(Photo credits: Thomas Hundal)

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Lauren
Lauren
7 months ago

The Corolla Cross Hybrid stands out in fuel efficiency, surpassing expectations for a compact SUV. Unlike some, like the one you mentioned, it excels on the highway with impressive mileage, making it a smart choice. Explore more on fuel-efficient options with Whatinguide before settling.

Racingtown
Racingtown
7 months ago

This stuck out at me:

—25 MPG city, 27 MPG highway, 26 MPG

Seems mediocre for a small CUV. My 2023 CRV gets 32-34 on the highway. The Corolla Cross Hybrid would be my choice in this segment, even if it’s a few grand more.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago
Reply to  Racingtown

It is surprising the hit that the 1.6T took with the switch to the transmission, especially on the highway where one might think it wouldn’t be any different. Last year it was 25/30, and a Kona with the same powertrain is 24/29 (plus offers it in FWD)

The standard powertrain hits 28/34 in FWD form, but it seems all about the same as compact vs. midsize sedans nowadays where the highway MPG difference between this and a size up (like your CR-V) is slim to none. Springing for a hybrid seems to be the way to go, like you said re: the Cross in the segment.

Fruit Snack
Fruit Snack
7 months ago

So the word “fantastic” has pretty much lost its meaning then, got it.

Eric Smith
Eric Smith
7 months ago

the Seltos is so spacious that if you have, say, a twelve-year-old Ford Escape, this will feel just as roomy

At first I did a double-take wondering how you knew I drove a twelve-year-old Ford Escape as my daily and have been thinking about what’s coming next. Then I thought about it and immediately felt both dumb and old as I realized that no, my Escape is twenty years old, not twelve. Time sure flies I guess?

Thanks for the write-up though! I’m leaning to a PHEV for what comes next but this at least put the Seltos on my think-about-maybe list.

Last edited 7 months ago by Eric Smith
D-dub
D-dub
7 months ago

I bought a ’24 Seltos S AWD 3 months ago to replace a ’13 CRV. They are damn close in size. The Seltos is the most spacious “subcompact” CUV, and also a reasonably good deal compared to most new car prices. I got mine for $29K OTD with a middling amount of haggling.

I was also considering the Corolla Cross, but they are mostly unobtainable without dealer markup, and the cargo space is a bit squished in comparison with the Seltos. I’m sure it’s far more reliable than the Seltos though.

Last edited 7 months ago by D-dub
GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago

U.S. does get ventilated seats, but only on the top SX, where they’re optional…instead of standard as they are in Canada on EX Premium, SX, X-Line. I get why brands do that with heated seat availability in Canada (but don’t like it, it’s cold here too!), but the bun coolers too?

The Trax is the value buy in the segment among the FWD players but these aren’t far behind IMO. Comes in under many if not most competitors like the Crosstrek for AWD too.
I’ve always read mixed on the ride though. Some say it’s harsh and noisy, at least on the SX with the larger wheels, don’t know how it fares on smaller wheels.

Snowsenses
Snowsenses
7 months ago

Absolutely love our ’21 Seltos SX, it’s great at everything it tries to do/be. 45k miles now and zero issues, nothing but DIY oil changes. Extremely impressive self-driving features for a $30k car, very aggressive self steering. Very nice infotainment, super comfortable on long trips, more practical than a CX-30. Surprisingly quick 0-20 or 30 too

Last edited 7 months ago by Snowsenses
Ben
Ben
7 months ago

hot tub full of dry ice

Philosoraptor asks: Is it still a hot tub if it’s full of ice?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
7 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Compared to that same tub filled with a polar bear soaking in liquid nitrogen yes, it is.

Gewf631
Gewf631
7 months ago

After spending weeks cross-shopping cars in this segment and price, I helped my mother purchase a ’24 EX a couple months back – not quite all the bells and whistles of the upscale trims, but enough that she’s been really happy. The piece of mind of a 5-year warranty is just icing on the cake.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago
Reply to  Gewf631

The EX has always seemed like a sweet spot in the lineup (and segment as a whole) to me for non-car people. Simpler powertrain (less of an issue now that the 1.6T dropped the DCT), most of the creature comforts of upper trims like you said, and now still a couple grand less than an equivalent HR-V or Corolla Cross. The new Trax is the value buy in the segment but an EX Seltos is only a little more than a loaded Trax and does have some more content (rear armrest, rear A/C vents).

Canada gets an EX Premium trim that seems to add a lot of the upper-trim features, would be nice to see that here, but Canadians tend to buy more better-equipped smaller cars and I’m sure Kia figures Americans would just step up to a Sportage.

Last edited 7 months ago by GreatFallsGreen
D-dub
D-dub
7 months ago
Reply to  Gewf631

No 10 year warranty? Is that in Canada?

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
7 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

Not sure about Ed’s location, if he’s in the U.S. and just referring to the 5 year/60k bumper-to-bumper warranty, but both that and powertrain are 5 year/100,000 km in Canada. So about ~2k more miles than the US for bumper-to-bumper at least.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
7 months ago

If you smear a mixture of chia seeds all over the Seltos would you call the result a KIA Pet?

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

How long have you been waiting to make that joke?

D-dub
D-dub
7 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

I call our Seltos “The Freshmaker”, with a spicy accent like the old Mentos commercials.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqgqgcE8Zck&t=28s

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
7 months ago
Reply to  D-dub

Waiting for the you tube videos of Seltos driven into pools of diet Coke.

Last edited 7 months ago by Cheap Bastard
D-dub
D-dub
7 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

I’d watch that commercial. Especially if at the end the driver holds up the keyfob and smiles at the camera as a narrator says “Seltos – The Freshmaker!”

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
7 months ago

Yeah, but why does the article only use pictures of the new Subaru Forester?

*insert “They’re the same picture” gif here*

Please can we do gifs?!

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
7 months ago

Maybe it’s the color, but it doesn’t seem as aggressive and overdone as the rest of their cars.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
7 months ago

“Does It Have The Electronic Crap I Want?”
Well *I* want an Atari ST emulator. I DON’T SEE ANY MENTION OF AN ATARI ST EMULATOR MISTER!!!

Travis Bach
Travis Bach
7 months ago

My wife and I bought a 2023 SX with all the options back in Jan when we found out we had a little one on the way. It was unloaded off the truck in the morning, we were actually looking at a sorento, saw the seltos, drove it(computer hadn’t even fully booted yet) and we drove it home before noon. I love the thing – it’s comfy, surprisingly quick and agile, enough room for stuff. And, if you leave it in “sport” mode, you reduce that low speed acceleration delay a good bit.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
7 months ago

After all of the pretty awful recalls and issues this and Hyundai brands have had recently there is no way in hell I would buy one of these.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

Some of that stuff is legit. Some of it is overblown.

1). Kia boys/USB theft? A TERRIBLE look and some piss poor engineering for sure, but in the grand scheme of things it’s kind of overblown. The only vehicles affected by this are the ones with traditional key ignitions, which are only the basest trim of the base cars. But the media is conveniently glossing over that part to drive clicks.

2). Reliability issues? As far as the current ones go it’s way overblown. The recall numbers are essentially on par with most other major manufacturers. But again, the media gets a hold of a Hyundai/Kia headline and everything goes to hell.

There are lots of different measures for how reliable a car is and none are perfect, but if you take a look at all that’s out there Hyundai/Kia usually range from middle of the pack to the top third or so. Make of that what you will.

3). Terrible dealerships? You bet. Spot on. In my search for an N that wasn’t marked up I left multiple dealerships feeling like I needed to shower. They’re bad, point blank….although I’ve never had a “good” experience with a non premium dealership. It’s not like Honda, Toyota, VW, et cetera are treating you like royalty. That being said IMHO this is a big part of the reason why Genesis is struggling to take off.

4). Depreciation? Oh god. Don’t get me started.

There are pluses and minuses, like there are with any brand. My experience owning a Hyundai has been decent to good, but your mileage may vary.

Drew
Drew
7 months ago

Another minor issue with Hyundai (but not Kia, weirdly): they only sell the PHEVs in specific states. This would not be so bad if the dealerships didn’t suck, but dealing with an out-of-state dealership that may (probably will) be terrible isn’t fun.

Usernametaken
Usernametaken
7 months ago

Depreciation is mitigated pretty strongly the further you move down the lineup and options list.

There’s a pretty hard floor for a warranteed new car with low miles in good nick, so if you’re shopping the bottom of the range there’s just not that far to fall before it would quickly become the best value for someone who just needs a reliable go machine

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
7 months ago

Eh my sister’s soul was a mid-trim example and got broken into thanks to that nonsense. That scandal has been easily the worst look for Hyundai/Kia. They deserve the bad press for that one, and even more bad press for how awful and slow the response has been.

The dealers like many, vary, but yeah, there are some downright awful Kia/Hyundai dealers. Our area has a couple that aren’t all that bad though.

I don’t replace cars a whole lot so depreciation isn’t a huge factor for me.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
7 months ago

I like a lot of Kia’s cars (driven many as work rentals), but wow….spot on with the dealerships. I know it is beating a dead horse who is trying to upsell you to finance upholstery protection at this point, but my two experiences trying to deal on a Kia were abysmal. Well, one experience…..the other time they wouldn’t even let me test drive a Stinger GT. Mind you I was a 30-something professional with a good job, not a teenager wanting to go for a joy-ride. They acted like the thing was a freaking Ferrari. In fact, I’ve been treated nicer when I randomly wandered in to a Ferrari showroom just to look at a Tributo.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago
Reply to  sentinelTk

I had a similar experience shopping for Elantra Ns. One place had one marked up that was listed at MSRP online. It essentially had a post it note smacked next to the monroney that said “lol add $3,000”. I said I’d be a buyer at MSRP and with a fair offer on my trade. The sales manager got so verbally aggressive with me I had to walk away. He told me that “you might not pay the markup but someone will” along with a string of insults that I blocked from my memory.

Another one had $3,000 worth of clearcoat on it that they claimed wasn’t a markup. I quoted them the price that coating the car would actually cost, called them on it, and never got a response. Eventually my wife took a “if you want an N you’re getting the CUV” stance and I went back to the drawing board. I eventually found a dealership that sold it to me for $500 under MSRP and was very pleasant and professional to deal with.

I’d go back to them in a heartbeat, but they’re now under new ownership so I doubt it’s the same. But overall? Yeah, Hyundai dealerships are pretty damn bad. I can’t deny that even though I love my car.

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
7 months ago

The “If you don’t then someone will” kills me. Just had one try that on my wife while shopping an SUV. It was in transit and they wanted a non-refundable deposit on it. She said we’d wait until it is on the lot. He said that it won’t be available by then so that is why we have to deposit now. She explained that if that was the case, they don’t need a deposit and that they don’t understand how supply and demand works in that case. If it is guaranteed to sell, then you don’t need a non-refundable deposit. We ended the dealing.

3 weeks later….call from the dealer. The car is on the lot if we wanted to look. The car that had to have a non-refundable deposit because there was such high demand. She declined. Stupid dealers.

Last edited 7 months ago by sentinelTk
Robot Turds
Robot Turds
7 months ago

Not sure if its really that overblown. Of the people I know who own Hyundai/Kias? ALL of them are burning a lot of oil. There’s one guy on Youtube called the car Wizard and according to him nobody will even bother working on the 4 cylinder engines. They’re junk and there is a risk in offering to repair one of these when its likely its going to eat the crank bearings anyway.

Vb9594
Vb9594
7 months ago

Point 3: Somehow, I lucked out and had a great experience with my Hyundai dealer. No pressure and a lot of fun.

Citrus
Citrus
7 months ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

In 5 1/2 years the only issue my Hyundai has had was that the wiper motor broke – land of heavy snow did it in maybe? – and the air conditioning generally sucks. Otherwise, great.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
7 months ago

It seems like building better, and somehow slightly cheaper, Hyundais is sort of Kia’s MO, like what Skoda does for Volkswagen

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
7 months ago

What people miss about these is that it’s an engaging platform. Unfortunately it seems as though the new Kona/platform may have sucked all the driving joy out in favor of more space and softness, but the last gen Konas/the Seltos are pleasant to drive by economy box standards. Obviously my N is an extreme/mechanically distant example but I’ve also driven the regular 1.6T AWD Kona and I thought it was really fun for what it was.

I remember telling the guy who sold me my GTI that I’d cross shopped a turbo Kona and he more or less told me I was an idiot who didn’t know anything about cars…but they’re not that far off, and the Kona’s driving experience was closer than you’d expect. I do wonder if nixing the completely unnecessary but still engaging DCT may have zapped a little of that out…because what a DCT gives up in smoothness it gives back in engagement, but I get why they moved on.

DCTs have no purpose in commuter cars and ultimately I think they’ll be dead outside of racing/high performance applications in the next few years. Unless you like to drive hard, which most people don’t, the benefits aren’t exactly plentiful, and the jerkiness in traffic can be a real pain the ass.

Edit: I also wanted to mention that this is a segment that the Koreans do really well with/were ahead of the curve on, so they take these cars very seriously and they get more development budget than they do elsewhere. If you want a small lifted hatchback Hyundai and Kia are in fact your best bet as long as you’re willing to deal with the depreciation and other potential hiccups.

Last edited 7 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Drew
Drew
7 months ago

I’d cross shopped a turbo Kona and he more or less told me I was an idiot who didn’t know anything about cars

Sounds like the dealer experience: you go in knowing more than they do, they pretend to be experts, and they pretend whatever they can sell you is the best option for you.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
7 months ago

I like these. I was hoping that KIA would have given the Soul AWD but this is almost as good.

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