2024 Kia Seltos First Drive: Refreshing an already competitive utility vehicle

2024 Kia Seltos First Drive: Refreshing an already competitive utility vehicle

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NEWPORT, R.I. — A strong case could be made that the Kia Seltos wasn’t really in need of any significant updating. A nip here, a tuck there – bear in mind that we said in our last review of the 2023 model that “it’s a terrific little SUV that’s equal parts sensible and stylish” – and the Korean automaker’s smallest all-wheel-drive crossover would surely carry on winning hearts and finding its way into tens of thousands of driveways each year for the foreseeable future.

The fact that Kia saw fit to bestow the 2024 Seltos with a wide array of meaningful updates and improvements goes to show how important the rapidly expanding subcompact crossover segment is here in America. It’s not an off-road vehicle, despite the inclusion of all-wheel drive, but that just means it’s better equipped to deal with the actual lives of buyers who live in the land of the freeway and home of the pavement. It’s an urban runabout that’s big enough to feel reasonably well equipped for freeway slogs, and it’s got just enough ground clearance and traction that it will serve soft-roaders and camping couples quite well.


Thing is, all of that could be said of the 2023 edition, too. So what’s been done to improve the Kia Seltos for 2024?

There are minor tweaks to the Seltos’ front and rear styling for the new model year, but it remains a well-proportioned, chunky two-box design that instantly reads SUV, not wagon. The new-for-2024 X-Line model gets slightly darker trimmings, unique 18-inch wheels and a useful roof rack. All models gain restyled lighting units at each corner. The top-level Seltos SX gets its own 18-inch wheels while the base S and step-up LX get 17-inchers.

Inside, the interior has been rejiggered to feature a digital dash design with wide, horizontally positioned screens in front of the driver and extending toward the center touchscreen to house Kia’s well-designed infotainment system. Base LX models get a 4.2-inch instrument cluster bracketed by digital gauges and an 8-inch center screen. A larger and vibrant 10.25-inch instrument cluster and matching 10.25-inch center infotainment display come standard starting with the S trim. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard.

We're pleased that Kia has chosen to offer the 2024 Seltos with some fun colors inside and out. The Pluton Blue you see pictured here is a lovely shade in person, and it joins two other ocean- and sky-hued shades. There's an attention-grabbing Mars Orange, an interesting Valais Green and even four different two-tone options. Inside, models equipped with the cloth and synthetic combo can be ordered in a blue and black mashup, and the higher trim levels with full SynTex gain brown and green options in addition to the standard black.

Nothing has changed when it comes to the Seltos’ interior or exterior dimensions. We’ve decided to label its segment midcompact since it sits halfway between subcompact and compact. It’s roomy enough for a couple, and has a back seat sized appropriately for kids or teens or the occasional pair of adult friends. Its 26.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the back seat is the same as before, and generous when compared with similarly positioned competitors like the Mazda CX-30 and Subaru Crosstrek.