2022 Kia Seltos Review - Easy
Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD
I suppose I can be an occasional automotive Luddite. I’m mentally throwing wrenches at the twenty-year-old German project car in my garage since it’s not nearly as straightforward to repair as the thirty-year-old Japanese project car right next to it. More than once I’ve pondered the possibility of adapting carburetors to both.
But progress marches forth. Automotively, we’ve progressed over the past decades from simple hybridization to full electrification - I’m likely to lay down my wrenches altogether if I need to repair an EV when I’m sixty. Beyond powertrains, the massive number of driving aids and electronics doodads and geegaws (yeah, I’m old) packed within each new car on the road would likely inspire awe in a time-traveling Apollo-program engineer from 1968.
That’s why I find the 2022 Kia Seltos refreshing. Yes, it’s fitted with all of the safety tech we expect from our cars these days, but the Seltos presents them in a friendly, easy-to-use manner. Yeah, it’s a damned crossover like basically everything else on the road - but it’s what people want. The Seltos is an effortless vehicle with which to live.
Yeah, thirty grand all-in seems a bit steep for what has basically become an entry-level vehicle. Blame..well..everything for the inflation of real prices over the past couple of years. Just don’t be that guy that has to get our moderators wielding the banhammer in the comments. Realistically, many folks looking at a car in this price range will be considering a lease, where the monthly payment terms can be somewhat predictable and future concerns about maintenance can be laid off onto the next owner upon lease turn-in. For someone in that position - able to swing a $300 to $400 monthly payment on a comfortable, roomy-enough crossover, it’s hard to argue against the Seltos.
I’m personally looking forward a couple of years to my own household fleet. I’ve a daughter who will head off to college in a little less than two years - I don’t relish the idea of sending her off to a school 2-3 hours away in a vehicle as old as she is with some reliability issues. I’d rather - if she needs a car while on campus - consider something new with an affordable monthly payment. As it turns out, she drove a Kia Soul during driver’s school - and hated it. The controls were fine, but the funkiness of the deep dashboard and weird proportions played tricks with her vision. The Seltos, being mechanically quite similar to that Soul without the extra helpings of weird, would be a compelling alternative.
Not that I personally dislike the Soul styling, but the Seltos is attractive enough without being jarring to look at. I could do without the split cladding detail on the lower edges of the doors, but it’s innocuous enough that it doesn’t bother me after a few sideways glances. It’s “generic crossover” done well.
While at home in central Ohio all-wheel drive isn’t strictly necessary, we do get the occasional blizzard in which the additional tractive power afforded by the Seltos’ AWD system would be appreciated. However, as the kid is considering a school further north into the snow belt, she might encounter more situations where she simply can’t get anywhere without four driven wheels. With 175 horsepower from the turbocharged four, blasting out of snow drifts is a bit easier too. The base models have a 146 hp two-liter non-turbo - it should prove to be adequate for most uses as well.
Driving the Seltos is unremarkable. It’s almost forgettable - in a good way. The ride is controlled and comfortable. A decent bit of road and engine noise do make their way into the cabin, but it’s typical of vehicles at this price point. The noise and ride quality aren’t annoying - it’d be perfect for those long highway cruises back home loaded with laundry for dad to wash. The cargo space is plenty once those clothes are folded, too - 26.6 cubic feet with the rear seat up, and 62.8 cubes with the seats folded. Perfect for when the kid gets her own apartment and adopts the large dog we can’t have at home because miserable dad has allergies.
The interior feels remarkably roomy for as small as the Seltos is. I wasn’t rubbing elbows with a front-seat passenger as much as I might in competitive vehicles, and the head and leg room front and rear were surprisingly good.
Most notably, the HVAC and audio controls are impressively straightforward and simple. The Seltos doesn’t have dual-zone climate controls - that’s fine. A single knob that controls the automatic climate control, as well as large-enough buttons for fan speed and vent locations. Knobs are there for volume and tuning of the 10.25-inch touchscreen, too. Thank God.
Adaptive cruise control that works all the way to a stop is one of those features I truly enjoy those times I end up driving an interstate through a large city. Stop-and-go traffic is a scourge of modern urban life, leaving my knee or ankle to cramp as I sit for seemingly-endless minutes with the brake pressed. Adaptive cruise is standard on this Seltos SX trim, and I’m ever so grateful. Blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keeping assist, and forward collision warning are among the other driver safety systems fitted here - adding to the value.
The 2022 Kia Seltos is easy to overlook. It’s not flashy. It’s not exciting. But it’s an ideal vehicle for a driver who simply wants their vehicle to work as expected without any drama. It’s incredibly easy to live with.
[Images: © 2022 Chris Tonn]
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Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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