The 2021 Kia Seltos Is An Angular Compact Crossover Coming To America

Composite by the author
Graphic: Hyundai

“I’m looking at the Kia Seltos and I’m not sure it’s not a new Chevy Trailblazer wearing Groucho Marx Glasses,” my colleague Raphael Orlove commented when I mentioned the impending release of this car. He was thinking of the Brilliance V6, but yeah, the Seltos is pretty cookie-cutter. It’s not bad, though.

Kia is planning to announce a US-market Seltos at the 2019 LA Auto Show on Wednesday (Nov. 19) but scooped itself with an enormous billboard on the side of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

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Take a quick look at Kia’s media website as of Tuesday (Nov. 18), and yeah, it’s pretty obvious that the heavily-shaded car on the site is the same thing that auto journalist Jill Ciminillo spotted and posted to Facebook.

Screenshot: Kia

Whether the timing of that was intentional or not we’ll never really know, I’m going to give Kia the benefit of the doubt and say yes, but in reality, it doesn’t matter because the Seltos has been out for ages in India and Asia.

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In India, the Seltos has an optional 1.5-liter four-banger engine, a 1.5-liter diesel, and a 1.4-liter turbo. The Indian spec also has CVT, dual-clutch and a row-your-own manual transmission option–you can even get the stick with the turbo!–but I wouldn’t count on that much choice coming stateside.

We’ll probably get the 1.4-liter and the DCT, with front or all-wheel drive options.

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What almost definitely will carry over from India, besides the design, will be the Seltos’ big touchscreen, a 360-degree camera, Bose audio and heads-up display options.

You can expect specifics on power output and fuel economy claims at Kia’s official announcement on Wednesday, which are probably Fine and Decent, respectively. A nice version of the Seltos lists for about the equivalent of $22,300 in India, so hopefully the car’s at least as inexpensive as it is inoffensive.

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The Seltos is smaller than a current Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4. It’s more in the Ford EcoSport (also introed in India first) Honda HR-V, Toyota CH-R, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade wee little SUV club for people who want to get the most interior volume out of a relatively small footprint.

Since that’s a popular market segment, a new player in the US market is good, I guess! Anyway, the full download will drop at about midday on Wednesday.

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About the author

Andrew P. Collins

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL