2023 Kia Seltos

2023 Kia Seltos
2023 Kia Seltos View Out Back
2023 Kia Seltos Dashboard

2023 Kia Seltos Review: Run With The Big Dog

by Michael Butler

Kia has taken to the SUV game like a starved duck to sliced bread and is stuffing its entire lineup full of crossovers of all descriptions. The automaker already offers its buyers the boxy Soul and the stylish Sportage, but for those that want something that slots in between these two highly capable cars, there's the Seltos - a subcompact crossover SUV on the larger end of the scale. This spray-and-pray strategy is working for Kia and gives the Seltos the upper hand when it comes to interior space, cargo size, and power in a class where it competes with SUVs such as the Nissan Kicks and Hyundai Venue. With a string of AWD trims on offer and an optional punchy 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo engine, the Seltos is an attractive choice in this increasingly competitive segment. In this review, we see if the Seltos' size and power advantage is enough to take it to the top.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 9 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
What is BuzzScore?

2023 Kia Seltos Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Seltos?

Customers in the USA can expect minimal changes for 2023, but Kia does make slight improvements to road and wind noise thanks to the addition of acoustic glass windshields, and the affordable S trim now comes with standard rear cross-traffic alert with automated emergency braking and blind-spot collision avoidance. It also offers the option of a larger 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with built-in navigation.

Pros and Cons

  • Available 1.6-liter turbo engine
  • Most models come with AWD
  • Lots of interior space
  • Fun-to-drive nature
  • Improved wind and road noise
  • Base engine is lethargic
  • Lack of features on entry-level model
  • Firm ride

What's the Price of the 2023 Kia Seltos?

The Seltos lineup in the US offers five trim levels. The base LX model has a starting MSRP in the low-to-mid $20,000s with AWD, while the S will only cost you an extra $50 if you stick with FWD. The EX is the most premium trim paired with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine and has a starting price of just above $25k. The new Nightfall Edition gets the turbocharged engine and asks for a few grand more, while the SX Turbo manages to stay under the $30,000 mark. These Kia Seltos prices exclude a $1,295 destination fee, which applies to all models upon purchase.

Best Deals on 2023 Kia Seltos

2023 Kia Seltos Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
2.0L Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Nightfall Edition
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
SX Turbo
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
See All 2023 Kia Seltos Trims and Specs

2023 Kia Seltos Handling and Driving Impressions

The subcompact SUV class isn't a corner of the market to find sharp handling stars; in fact, this is where you come to find cars that are comfortable yet easy to drive - perfect for the inner city. The Kia Seltos bucks this trend by feeling positively keen to take on a set of corners. The suspension might feel firm initially, but one quickly realizes why it's set up like that. The Seltos is always eager to turn in, and in AWD guise, it likes to grip on past the point where others would have given in to understeer. On the open road, the 2023 Seltos is a sophisticated little machine, and the optional 1.6-liter turbo engine offers class-leading punch, although the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission could do with some calibration. If possible, we'd recommend avoiding the base 2.0-liter engine; it can feel gutless when fully loaded. The fact that Kia has improved wind and road noise by fitting an acoustic windshield adds to the near-premium feel of this car.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Kia Seltos A Good SUV?

Most manufacturers will avoid filling their lineup with too many of the same class of car to avoid cannibalization, but Kia has gone the opposite direction and offers a crossover SUV in every size imaginable and, to our surprise, it actually works. The Seltos' biggest strengths are the fact that it's slightly larger, offers more interior space than its competitors, has a strong turbo option, and is AWD in most cases. The Seltos is a darling to drive, although you'll have to spring for the 1.6-liter engine option to make it a truly great driver. The interior is stylish and well-built, and although the base model can feel sparsely kitted, the rest of the lineup feels like good value for money. This car is hard to fault and easily earns a spot among our top choices in this segment.

What 2023 Kia Seltos Model Should I Buy?

We usually recommend choosing a mid-range trim and adding some additional packages, but the Seltos is a little different. If you can deal with a weaker engine, the EX offers excellent value for money, with nearly all of the same features as the top-of-the-range SX Turbo. But if you need the extra power and you're willing to increase your budget slightly, the SX Turbo is by far the best of the lot. It gets the complete array of safety systems and a digital instrument cluster, along with the Bose sound system, which is hard to resist. Considering it still comes in below the $30k mark, we think it's a steal.

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