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To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles over a decade ago

For the 2022 edition, we include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail—for example, the latest advanced safety features, how to properly maintain your vehicle, and new vehicles coming to market in the next few years.

2021 Kia Seltos S Turbo AWD

Vehicle Type: SUV/Minivan Gasoline
 overall score
Category Ranking: 34

Vehicle Price

Base Price: $25,490
Price as Tested: $26,740

Fuel Information

Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 13.2
EPA City mpg25
EPA Highway mpg30
EPA Combined mpg27
with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights built after August 2020

Advanced Safety Features

  • Advanced Headlights [O]
  • Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • Blind-Spot Warning [O]
  • Driver Monitoring [O]
  • Forward-Collision Warning [O]
  • Lane-Departure Warning [O]
  • Lane-Keeping Assistance [O]
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
  • Reverse Automatic Emergency Braking [O]
  • [S] Standard, [O] Optional
NHTSA Rating:

Overall Observations

For 2021, Kia added the Seltos subcompact crossover to its lineup, slotting it in between the Soul and Sportage models. The Seltos sticks to Kia’s value formula, offering class-leading competitors’ features at a lower price point. Practicality is part of that formula, as well: The Seltos offers lots of interior room, especially good headroom and cargo space, plus good visibility from the driver’s seat. Our test car’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine—standard on the midlevel Turbo S trim—and 7-speed automatic transmission produced surprisingly quick acceleration and additional power. All-wheel drive, for improved bad-weather traction, and added advanced safety features are included on the S Turbo trim, as well. Unfortunately, the Seltos, of necessity, has to cut corners and comes up short in a few important areas: poor driving dynamics, with noticeable turbo lag; a jerky transmission; and lackluster steering-wheel feedback. Also, lots of engine and tire noise gets into the cabin, and the quality of the interior materials feels substandard. Finally, the halogen headlights provide insufficient visibility; LED headlights come only on the top-trim SX version.
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Strengths and Weaknesses

Strong Points

  • Spacious passenger andcargo areas
  • Lots of features for arelatively low price
  • Many available driverassistancefeatures
  • Good visibility from thedriver’s seat

Weak Points

  • Jerky transmission, turbolag
  • Excessive engine and tirenoise
  • Cheap interior materials
  • Substandard halogenheadlights and rearviewcamera

Vehicle Specifications

Model year tested: 2021
Number of passengers (F/R): 2/3
Curb weight (lbs): 3240.0
Exterior L / W / H (in): 172.0 / 70.9 / 64.2
Wheelbase (in): 103.5
Number of air bags: 7
Warranty (months/miles): 60/60,000
Tire manufacturer and model: Kumho Majesty 9 Solis
Front and rear tire size: 235/45 R18
Max towing capacity (lbs): Not recommended
Headlight type: Halogen
Transmission type: Auto 7-speed
Drivetrain type: All wheel
Engine/motor: 1.6L 4-Cyl. turbo
Engine horsepower @ RPM: 146 @ 6200

Test Data

Test Vehicle Scores

Advanced Safety Features:


Fuel Efficiency:


EPA Emissions Score:








Ride Quality:


Interior Size:


Easy of Entry and Exit:




Interior Noise:


Cargo Capacity:

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