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compact crossover

A choice of four affordable trims

The 2021 Kia Seltos is the latest vehicle to join the Kia lineup. This new crossover slots between the smaller Kia Soul and larger Kia Sportage with an affordable price point and sizing that’s ideal for city dwellers.

Available in four trims, the base LX starts at $21,990 with standard all-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. It has 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission. If you don’t want all-wheel drive, the Seltos does offer front-wheel drive, but only on the S trim, which is one step up from the base LX.

Those who want a more responsive ride will appreciate the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s available on the S at $25,490 and standard on the top SX with pricing of $27,890. It jumps to 195 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a 7-speed automatic transmission.

A small car doesn’t need a big engine, even for merging into high-speed highway traffic, but having one does make things a lot more fun. We spent a week with the SX and its peppy turbocharged engine and found it a happy little ride to sling through the corners.

Enjoy the quiet

It’s also worth noting that the Seltos is quiet. The thing with many of the vehicles in this class and at these price points is that they’re loud. They’re not intended to be luxury cars with supremely quiet interiors, which is fine, but no one wants to feel like they’re riding with the windows down when they’re quite firmly closed.

The Seltos offers an impressively quiet ride, even at high speeds. There’s minimal road and wind noise and an unexpected thunderstorm that drenched the roads in rain and surprise puddles still wasn’t enough to make the interior loud. It’s something you’ll appreciate during long commutes or that multi-state road trip.

Along with being quiet, the Seltos has a comfortable interior with room for five passengers. Those up front will find plenty of space even if they’re on the tall side, but the back seat isn’t exactly spacious. It’s great for two adults, although it will seat three. We’d only do three passengers for quick trips. On longer trips, even two will want to be swapping with those up front to stretch out a bit.

Fully-featured at every trim

Adding to the appeal of the Seltos are its standard features. There’s an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 6-speaker audio, and automatic cruise control as standard features. The SX sees the addition of a 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, and Bose premium audio.

All but the base trim also gets a suite of safety features that includes forward collision avoidance assist with car and pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane following assist, and lane keep assist. That’s a wide range of features for a vehicle that tops out at $27,890.

It’s also easy on the budget with good fuel economy. It gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 31 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and up to 27 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

Room for your stuff

Finally, the Seltos blends passenger comfort with cargo versatility. There’s 26.6 cubic feet behind the second row with 62.8 cubic feet behind the first row. It’s not as roomy as a large SUV, but it easily manages the family’s luggage or supplies for the latest home improvement project.

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a strong offering in a crowded segment. An attractive and comfortable interior, affordable pricing, and a choice of responsive engines make it a top pick for crossover shoppers.

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In this interview with Matthew ValBueno of Mazda, we learn how it was, exactly, that such a totally unprecedented sound experience was created for the all-new Mazda CX-30. Matthew explains some the challenges facing car audio tuning and how a vehicle literally engineered with the sound system in mind overcame most of those challenges. Plus some MC Hammer references because Matthew, despite his stereo knowledge, has questionable musical taste. Check it out!

Find our first impressions of the new CX-30 in our video here.

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Fellow journalist Tim Esterdahl from Pickup Truck and SUV Talk joins our own Aaron Turpen in the all-new Mazda CX-30. The CX-30 is a compact crossover slotted to fit between the small Mazda3 car and the larger CX-5 crossover. How does this new entry into the fastest growing segment in automotive measure up? Well, it’s got a #$!*%$& awesome stereo to start with.

Find Tim at PickupTruckTalk.com.

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