2024 Kia Seltos: Refreshed CUV is Aiming for the Sales Crown

Strong points
  • Good value
  • Smooth ride
  • New 8-speed transmission (1.6L)
  • User-friendly infotainment system
Weak points
  • CVT could still use some improvements (2.0L)
  • Distracting Sound Mood Lamp feature
Full report

Kia’s best-selling model in Canada, and the second best-selling small SUV in Canada in 2022, is getting a mid-cycle update for 2024. Basically, the Seltos receives sleeker lines, more standard content and several powertrain enhancements that make it more pleasant to drive. Also, a new X-Line trim level joins the lineup.

How does it perform and just how good is it? We drove the 2024 Kia Seltos on the roads of Prince Edward County in Ontario to find out.

Evolutionary Design

Aesthetically, the refreshed Seltos looks fairly similar to the outgoing model. It’s all about the details and what Kia calls the “Star Map signature.” The redesigned grille incorporates an extension of the new LED daytime running lights, except in base LX trim. The more popular EX and EX Premium now sport LED headlights.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

The bumpers and fog lights are new, and trendier-looking alloy wheels highlight the side view. In the rear, the taillights have a similar design to those up front.

The interior comes standard with a 4.2-inch driver information display and 8-inch touchscreen, while higher trim levels combine a pair of 10.25-inch displays into a single, curved interface. Everything is logically arranged and easy to use—once the short learning curve is over. By the way, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come standard.

Just like the Soul, the 2024 Seltos boasts a Sound Mood Lamp feature, with ambient lighting that adjusts to the beats of the music. It’s pretty cool, for sure, but also distracting for the driver after a while. Our advice? Use it only when the vehicle is parked.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

As mentioned up top, a new, adventurous-looking X-Line model joins the lineup. Highlights include distinctive 18-inch wheels, a unique grille treatment, gloss black trim on the doors, gunmetal skid plates at both ends and bridge-type roof rails in a black finish. Nine body colours are available including new  couleurs de carrosserie sont offertes, dont deux nouvelles : vert valais et bleu Pluton.

More Power

Base Seltos models continue to rely on a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a CVT that simulates eight forward gears. The LX trim can be specified with FWD or AWD, but every other has AWD, with up to 50 percent of the engine’s torque that can be sent to the rear axle. This run-of-the-mill powertrain does a decent job in normal driving conditions. The CVT proves up to the task until you get to higher speeds where it becomes a little annoying.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

SX and X-Line models benefit from a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine. Output is bumped to 195 horsepower (+20) to match the 195 lb-ft. of torque. Meanwhile, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has been replaced by a conventional eight-speed automatic, which is a good thing for a vehicle like the Seltos.

Gear shifts are smooth and there’s plenty of gusto under the hood. Acceleration won’t pin you to your seat, but it feels pleasantly zippy and linear nonetheless. Normal, Smart and Sport modes can help tailor the driving experience, too. Alas, towing is not recommended.

Kia engineers have improved NVH levels by adding noise-absorbing foam in key areas, revising the exhaust system, giving the windshield an acoustic treatment and tuning the suspension for a smoother ride. The result is a beautifully quiet and serene interior that also happens to offer more comfortable seats and good visibility.

Photo: Kia

We thought the Seltos did a good job of masking road imperfections even with the larger 18-inch wheels. On the other hand, body roll is clearly noticeable during sharp cornering manoeuvres. Overall, handling is still pretty good.

More Tech

Automakers are always looking to pack more technology into their new vehicles, and Kia is no different. The 2024 Seltos comes standard with four active safety features that used to be exclusive to the higher trim levels in the past: lane departure warning, lane following assist, forward collision-avoidance assist and blind spot collision warning.

The smart cruise control feature with stop and go functionality, when combined with active steering assist, worked really well to keep the Seltos at a preset distance from the vehicle ahead and in the centre of its lane. It didn’t feel jerky or too intrusive, which made the experience more relaxing and enjoyable.

Photo: Dominic Boucher

Another tech addition for 2024 is an available digital key through the Kia Connect app. Basically, you can use your smartphone or smartwatch to not only control certain vehicle functions remotely, but also to lock, unlock and drive the vehicle.

Competitive Pricing

The 2024 Kia Seltos starts at $25,195 in base LX FWD trim. Next, you’ll find the LX AWD at $27,185, EX at $30,195, EX Premium at $33,495, SX at $35,795 and X-Line at $38,395. All of these prices are MSRPs, by the way. The first units are scheduled to arrive in Canadian showrooms shortly.

Three years after its debut, the Seltos still looks sharp and offers pleasant times on the road for families. With refreshed styling and more available tech features than ever, it’s poised to remain one of the leaders of the small crossover segment.

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