2024 Kia Seltos Review: First Drive

Lee Bailie
by Lee Bailie


Engine: 1.6L I4 Turbo
Output: 195 hp, 195 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 25/27/26
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 9.4/8.7/9.1
Starting Price (USD): $24,390 (not inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $29,990 (not inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $25,195 (not inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $35,795 (not inc. dest.)

Even though the Kia Seltos has only been with us since 2020, the Korean automaker is throwing a slew of changes at it for its 2024 mid-cycle update.

These changes aim to keep this subcompact SUV competitive in one the most popular vehicle segments.

Apart from a styling update, the ’24 Seltos also receives a more powerful turbo engine, a new transmission, more available tech, and a more rugged trim offering. AutoGuide recently drove the new Seltos and there’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive in.

Get a Quote on a New Kia Seltos

2024 Kia Seltos: Styling Updates

Kia’s “Opposites United” design language, first revealed on the forthcoming EV9 SUV, has been applied to the 2024 Seltos in a fashion that might not seem obvious at first, but reveals itself upon closer inspection.

Key changes up front include a larger Tiger Nose grille, available projection LED headlights and “Star-map” signature grille lighting, new front skid plating and vertical fog lights. At the rear, the ’24 Seltos receives a new tailgate garnish, new combination LED taillights and more Star-map lighting signature. Both front and rear bumpers have also been redesigned.

Two new 17-inch wheel designs are available, along with a new 18-inch signature wheel exclusive to the SX. Two new exterior colors, Valais Green and Pluton Blue, are available as options.

Cabin updates include a standard panoramic display that merges the instrument cluster and multimedia screens into one seamless panel. The instrument cluster portion measures 4.2 inches, while the multimedia touchscreen covers 8.0 inches, but both screens can also be optionally enlarged to 10.25 inches.

Kia is expanding the Seltos interior color palette to include navy (X-Line), brown (EX, SX) and midnight green which is exclusive to SX (and only in the US—sorry Canada). Ventilated front seats and sunroof are available bundled in a package.

More power

The 2024 update doesn’t bring any electrification to the Seltos, but Kia has bumped the power output of the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (standard on SX and X-Line) from 175 to 195 horsepower, while keeping its torque output unchanged at 195 pound-feet. This engine is also being paired with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the outgoing 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

Power numbers for the base 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that powers the LX, S, and EX grades remain unchanged at 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. As it was previously, the 2.0-liter is paired with a CVT that Kia calls an Intelligent Variable Transmission. On-demand all-wheel drive with a center-locking differential that can split engine torque evenly between the front and rear wheels, is available on S, EX, X-Line and SX grades.

X-Line Joins the Lineup

The Seltos X-Line is new for 2024, and like similar offerings for its Sorento and Telluride siblings, this grade delivers unique styling including a model-specific gunmetal-colored grille, along with gloss black door handles, front and rear skid plating, gloss black side moldings, black roof rails and unique 18-inch wheels.

The X-Line is based on the SX in terms of content, and shares its powertrain: 1.6-liter turbo, 8-speed automatic transmission, and standard AWD. It sits at the top of the grade walk in Canada and is second highest in the US, behind the SX.

Better Tech Suite

For 2024, Kia is loading the Seltos with more standard and available tech, including an available Smart Power Liftgate (standard on SX in US; EX Premium and above in Canada), which is a rare feature in the segment. A key feature for the liftgate is it can be programmed to open automatically when the key fob is detected nearby.

As for connectivity, Kia Connect is standard on all trims starting with the S in the US (EX Premium in Canada), and works in conjunction with a user’s smartphone or smart device (i.e. Apple Watch) to lock and unlock the car, and it supports a digital key (Key 2 Touch) that can be used in place of the fob which can be shared to other users via text message.

Other notable tech features include three standard USB ports (one USB-C), available wireless smartphone charging and two-setting driver’s memory seat. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard across the Seltos lineup.

More Available Safety

On the safety front, the 2024 Seltos offers a broader array of available safety features, including available Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Warning, and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning.

Standard features including Driver Attention Warning, High Beam Assist, Lane Following Assist, Rear View Monitor and Rear Occupant Alert.

For Canada, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Follow Assist and Front Collision-Avoidance Assist are standard on all grades.

2024 Kia Seltos: Driving Impressions

We spent about four hours driving a Dark Ocean Blue SX tester on arterial roads and city streets, but we also managed to find a moderate off-road trail, which featured rocky, muddy, and wet surfaces, as the photos reveal. We also drove it on sand, to get a few lakefront photos.

On all surfaces, the Seltos SX proved to be a comfortable, yet capable and reasonably powerful performer. While not built for serious off-roading, the SX, with its center diff locked in place, handled our 1.86-mile (3 km) off-road trek with ease. The X-Line would be the choice for trails, but it wasn’t available for our drive, so we made do with the SX, and it performed admirably.

On pavement, the 2024 Seltos offers a smooth and comfortable ride, with plenty of power to hustle it along from the newly upgraded 1.6-liter turbo engine. Power delivery feels smoother thanks to the switch to the eight-speed auto ‘box, which is better suited to everyday SUV driving and will also deliver good fuel economy returns.

As for the styling updates, the subtle yet numerous design changes make the Seltos even more attractive on the outside, while the twin 10.25-inch digital screens, with their customizable layouts, easy to navigate user interface and pin-sharp HD resolution give this Kia a distinct upmarket feel. The extra content offering, which includes a power liftgate, digital key, memory driver’s seat and robust safety suite makes an already compelling Seltos even more attractive.

Final Thoughts: 2024 Kia Seltos Review First Drive

Taken together, the many updates Kia has thrown at the 2024 Seltos should make it a compelling option in the hyper competitive subcompact SUV segment. True, there’s no electrification option (yet) and some new features are restricted to upper-level trims, but there’s also a lot to like here. There’s plenty of space (62.7 cubic feet / 1,778 liters), a sharp design update, some tech features not often found in the segment, and a broad range of trims to suit the needs and wants of most buyers in the segment.

Bottom line, the Seltos was already the best-selling Kia in Canada, and while it has quite a way to go to reach that level in the US, the changes it brings to the table should help move it up the sales charts.

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Lee Bailie
Lee Bailie

With more than 20 years of industry experience, which includes automotive retail, motorsports PR, and writing and editing for various automotive publications, Lee is an AutoGuide freelancer, and car guy to the core. For nearly a decade and a half, he has married his two consuming passions together – journalism and the automotive industry. Whether it’s providing coverage on debuts from an auto show floor, writing road test reviews, or previewing a new model coming soon, Lee is eager to share his passion for the automotive industry with his readers. He is a long-standing member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and won a feature writing award in 2018.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Robert Conway Robert Conway on May 29, 2023

    I have a 2022 seltos with all the bells and top of the line. I like the suv but on the highway it is very noisy at the back. It sounds like you are in a barrel.

  • Ashfaq Ashfaq on May 30, 2023

    Update with pricing and model as per change