By on January 22, 2020

Kia is no stranger to the Ace of Base series, given its propensity to stuff its cars and SUVs to the gunwales with features generally found on cars one octave higher in price. What is a stranger to the AoB pages is the 2021 model year. Welcome to the future, folks (there are still no hoverboards).

While the little Seltos hasn’t yet been added to Kia’s build-n-price tool, the media site has more than enough collateral with which to determine the base car’s level of kit. Does it continue Kia’s value-added ways? Will it be another hit for Kia? Is it colder than the surface of Hoth outside your author’s home? The TTAC Magic 8 Ball says “signs point to yes” for all of these questions.

As with most other Kia vehicles, the base Seltos is called the LX. Powered by a 2.0-liter four banger, it’s good for 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. Neither of these figures will set the world on fire, but they are perfectly average for a car in this segment. A 175 hp/195 lb-ft turbo is available on more ‘spensive trims. A continuously variable transmission with seven Fake News gears is the lone transmission choice with the smaller mill. Alas.

Outwardly, Seltos LX is endowed with 17-inch alloys and color-keyed trim. It would seem the days of spotting base models thanks to their caster-sized steelies and black door handles are long gone. LED lighting is reserved for snazzier Seltos trims and the grille has been denuded of all brightwork. The latter will help sales staff quickly identify them on the lot as the lower-margin models from which they will inevitably steer prospective customers away.

Those customers should continue marching towards the LX, however, as its interior includes a tilt and telescope wheel, six-way adjustable cloth seats, and the same 8-inch infotainment touchscreen found in costlier EX and S models. Air, cruise, USB ports, and remote entry are all on board for the asking sum of $21,990.

And before you all carp in the comments, we know that’s not the base model shown above. Absent of the build and price tool, we went with an available picture. Use your imagination to substitute slightly smaller wheels and a lack of LED fog lamps. There’s no guarantee the jazzy blue shown here will be available gratis on base models, but Kia’s track record is pretty good in this regard.

Kia has long shed its bargain basement image, if the number of new Tellurides in the tonier parts of town is any indication. Continuing to appeal to the other end of the market is equally as important because, as we know, hooking a first-time customer often leads to repeat business.

[Images: Kia]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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21 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2021 Kia Seltos LX...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It’s disappointing to me that Kia has switched from real automatic transmissions to CVTs (okay, so they call theirs an “IVT”, but it’s still a CVT). I don’t know who builds theirs, and the jury is out as far as longevity is concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Kia builds their own. No idea about longevity, but they feel way more like a typical automatic than you’d expect, at least.

    • 0 avatar
      saturnotaku

      H/K designed and built the CVT in-house. After the disaster that was their 7-speed dual-clutch, the “IVT” is a revelation. Very smooth and natural feeling. I’d argue it’s the best gearbox of its type on the market.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        I rented a previous-gen Altima with a CVT a couple of years ago, and while the city experience was awful for all the usual reasons, it was fantastic on the highway due to its ability to keep the engine at the lowest possible RPM without banging up and down gears at all. A CVT that pretended to be a 7-speed under about 60mph might not be so bad to live with.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        They’re still offering the DCT in the Forte, in GT trim. What’s wrong with their DCT? Is it like Ford’s PowerShift DCT?

        • 0 avatar
          quaquaqua

          Nothing’s that bad, but there were some teething problems when this same powertrain went into the Tucson a few years ago at launch – it hung around for a couple years but was pulled entirely. You can still get that powertrain in a few H/K products, and even the brand new Sonata, so maybe they’ve sorted it out. But I just don’t want the complexity of a turbo/DCT in a car I’d probably keep for 150k miles.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      They have a 100,000 mile powertrain warranty so for most first owners, the durability shouldn’t be an issue, assuming the first one lasts 75,000 miles and the replacement unit is equally good.

      It’s not like the Saturn CVT from 2003 where most of them didn’t make 50,000 and the replacements were worse. Although much like the Olds diesel, GM created a cottage industry to replace them with 4T40s.

    • 0 avatar
      aja8888

      With a CVT, I’m out.

    • 0 avatar
      digitaldoc

      Unfortunately, the jury is in, and the Kia CVT already got a bad reputation for reliability. Check the NHSTSA site for last year’s Forte that uses this tranny, and there are numerous reports of premature failures on low mileage cars.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Is that what the base model really looks like? I like it a lot more than some of the recent pics I’ve seen, presumably of higher-end trims. This looks a lot less busy up front.

    Size-wise this is perfect for me, I do a lot of city parking, but don’t want something miniscule inside. Not thrilled with the powertrains, though. Would prefer a boring 2.4L/CVT to the choices here, a 2.0L or the 1.6L turbo with a DCT that hasn’t won raves from most owners.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    For about the same base price I would still go with the Renegade if for only a real transmission and more powerful base engine

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I like it, but I’m a Kia partisan.

    One of the strongest competitors to this vehicle is the excellent Niro sitting next to it in the showroom.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    For 23K I would go with the 2020 Optima Special Edition in Passion red that I just checked out last week with a full length pano roof, leather seats with heat and stylish 18″ wheels. The price was marked right on the windshield at 22995.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    I ask only for the sake of completeness, because the mind numbing proliferation of Hyundai and Kia models all about the same size and offering all about the same powertrains taxes my memory – what Hyundai is this THING based on?

    I stepped into a Hyundai showroom about six months ago and the sea of dark grey blandmobiles in 39 flavours of the week, made me turn around and leave. There is little product differentiation between all this stuff.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    About the only thing I like about this is the paint color.

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