Often, the term refresh when applied to a vehicle model means little more than some basic improvements and a change in looks to announce this is a newer model than my neighbor drives. The refreshed 2024 Kia Seltos brings significant upgrades in power/performance, technology, amenities, as well as appearance while remaining as the value line within the subcompact segment.
I sampled a comprehensively equipped all-wheel-drive SX (AWD) recently which provided comfortable rewarding transport during the late autumn season.
Performance improved with uptick in power
The refreshed 2024 Seltos SX AWD received a powertrain makeover by Kia’s engineers. The 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder inline internal-combustion engine received a 20-percent bump in power to 195 horsepower (and 195 pounds-feet of torque).
Performance, and generally smooth driving, was further enhanced with a switch from a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to a new (conventional) eight-speed automatic.
The new transmission puts the engine’s power smoothly through the standard active on-demand all-wheel drive (AWD) which is designed to provide all-weather capabilities and enhanced driving performance. The system includes a center locking differential that can split power equally between the front and rear wheels for more severe environments.
Brake-based torque vectoring is designed to increase traction by predicting which wheel will best utilize power, enhancing stability in corners, and giving the vehicle more precise handling dynamics in numerous situations.
The drivetrain produced excellent performance figures, getting from rest to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds according to Car and Driver.
It also produced excellent fuel economy, well beyond what the federal Environmental Protection Agency reported. I saw 30.2 mpg primarily driving around the congested pre-Christmas Cape Cod towns and villages (with my usual heavy right foot applying plenty of accelerator-pedal action). The EPA rates the Seltos SX AWD at 26 mpg overall, 25 in urban driving and 27 highway (Car and Driver also found the EPA numbers to be less than accurate on the conservative side during its test.)
Solid platform remains
The basic 2024 platform retains the same components as in previous model years beginning with the MacPherson-type strut front suspension up front and an independent multi-link one in the rear.
The power-assisted, anti-lock (ABS) equipped brake system features ventilated 12-inch rotors up front and solid 11-inch ones in the rear. These rotors operate within 18-inch alloy wheels shod with P235/45R18 all-season tires.
The sum of these parts is a surprisingly nimble small SUV. In addition, the ride is solid but not jarring or jittery, providing the up-to-five occupants with a comfortable place to spend some time. Combined with the enhancements and refinements made to the powertrain results in an SUV which drives and rides like a larger vehicle.
Long list of ADAS
New for 2024 are Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection; Blind Spot Collision Warning, and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist and Intelligent Speed Limit Warning. These join the other standard ADAS like Driver Attention Warning; High Beam Assist; Lane Following Assist; Rear View Monitor; Safe Exit Warning; Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist; Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Junction Turning; Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go; Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control, and Highway Driving Assist.
Inside the changes are huge
I picked up the Seltos in the dark, so my first indication the 2024 was different came when I saw the large panoramic display spreading from just inside the driver’s door to the center of the dash. On the left of the display, which is becoming a signature feature in newer members of the Hyundai family (Hyundai, Kia, Genesis) passenger vehicles, is the 10.5-inch driver-customizable information/instrument cluster.
The right side of the display contains the 10.5-inch touchscreen for controlling the infotainment, navigation and vehicle systems. The screen can be split 2/3 – 1/3 to show two different infotainment sources like the navigation map in the larger portion while the smaller one shows what SiriusXM channel is playing through the eight-speaker/subwoofer/amplifier-equipped Bose Premium Audio System.
The seats are covered in SynTex artificial leather with the driver’s having 10-way power adjustment. Both front seats feature heating and, as part of the optional ($1,200) SX Sunroof Package, ventilation. This package also brings, in addition to the moonroof, a smart power liftgate and Smartphone Digital Key so you can leave the fob behind and use your phone to start the Seltos.
Other convenience features and amenities include automatic climate-control system; USB-A and -C ports front and rear, and steering-wheel controls for audio, phone, cruise-control and cluster customization.
Value is only part of the story
Five trim levels from the AWD LX at $24,390 to the SX AWD at $29,990 comprise the 2024 Seltos range. The test unit had three options — $1,200 Sunroof Package, $395 Snow White Pearl paint and $175 carpet floor mats – along with $1,325 inland freight and handling charge, to produce an as-tested price of $33,085.
There are a lot of good, modern subcompact SUVs offered to the American buying public. The 2024 Kia Seltos SX AWD, with its numerous significant enhancements from previous models, compares well with its competitors in terms of performance, economy, comfort, convenience and features but stands out in terms of value. Somewhat comparably equipped to competitors, the Seltos SX boasts a $2,000-$5,000 price advantage.
Choosing the Seltos if you need the capability of an AWD SUV in a subcompact package would be a solid, value-packed choice.