2021 Kia Seltos Off-Road Review: Is Kia’s Newest and Smallest Entry-Level Crossover Dirt-Worthy?

It's Ostrich-approved...or maybe disapproved?

It’s not every day that an ornery ostrich attacks the car while we’re filming, but that’s what happened to Roman and Tommy in the 2021 Kia Seltos.

For those who haven’t seen it before, the Seltos is Kia’s all-new crossover, positioned between the Soul and the Sportage. The base drivetrain features a 2.0-liter four cylinder with 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque mated to a CVT. However, the 1.6 liter turbo is available as an upgrade as it is on the Soul, with an accompanying seven-speed DCT. Picking the higher trims results in a healthy output of 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.

[Photos: Kia]


The 2021 Kia Seltos gets front-wheel drive as standard, but those wanting a more secure driving experience can opt for an AWD system borrowed from the Telluride and Kia’s larger crossovers. Front-wheel drive models are equipped with torsion beam rear suspension, whereas AWD upgrades the rear end to a Multi-link set up.

The biggest headlines for its AWD are the center locking differential which splits power between the front and back, and torque vectoring. Throw in skid plates front and back, over 7 inches of clearance, and a bumper designed to improve approach angle, and you get a decently formidable compact off-roader. Check out the video above to see how it fares in the Texas dirt.


Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on the available 10.25-inch touchscreen, which can be coupled to an optional 8-speaker Bose audio system. Wireless charging and three USB ports keep the front seats fully charged for road trips.

On the safety front, the “Drive Wise” driver assistance package includes collision avoidance, lane keep assist, and Smart Cruise Control, among the standard stability control and safety systems.

Rear seat passengers also get standard reclining seats, and their own climate vents on EX and SX trims.

Pricing for the Kia Seltos starts at $23,110 including destination. From there, prices can rise to just over $30,000 for a fully equipped SX Turbo model.