2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD review by Ben Lewis

Kia is relentless. But in a good way. It seems like they keep bringing in great new products like the full-size Telluride SUV and the fantastic EV6 electric vehicle. And if that’s not enough, they don’t hit the snooze button on current products.

Case in point – the Seltos. We drove Kia’s small SUV as a 2021 model and loved the rugged looks and capability. But did that stop there? Nooooooooo. For 2024, they’ve given the little Ute a major re-do and made it even better in a lot of ways. Let’s take a look!

Slicker and Savvier

On the outside the changes are subtle but add up to a fresher look. Up front, there’s a larger “Tiger” nose grille that blends into new LED headlamps and Star Map signature lighting that gives a wider look. The lower fascia was also toughened up to give a more rugged appearance, while stacked LED fogs add to the modern vibe.

The profile remains pretty much unchanged, but it’s a handsome and sporty design, with a kicked-up rear pillar that flows into a rear window spoiler. We loved our tester’s 2-tone Pluton Blue with Black roof paint scheme, and aggressive 18-inch “rimless” alloy wheels.

The rear echoes the front with a strong, slender, horizontal LED line that sweeps across the vehicle, only broken up by the new KIA script that we really like. Like the front, the lower fascia has a skid plate-style garnish that adds to the capable vibe.

Top Tech

Open the door, and the Seltos greats you with a fresh design focusing on technology. While all Seltos models offer a panoramic screen display, our tester boasted dual 10.25-inch digital displays that flow together seamlessly, creating some Audi-level wow factor. The gauges are adjustable depending on drive mode, and the large info-tainment screen looks great, whether you’re using a WAZE app, or the built-in navigation system. And we applaud Kia for making sure you still get volume and tuning knobs.

Speaking of Audi vibes, the Kia has that same kind of no-nonsense German-ness to the interior design – there’s a fat wrapped D-shaped steering wheel with easy-to-use toggle switches, a stubby shift lever with a nice palm-sized lever, the auto climate controls and info-tainment switches are clear and easily marked, and underneath there’s a handy little shelf that includes a wireless charger.  

There’s plenty of comfort along for the ride. The upright seating position gives great visibility, and the front seats are supportive for the long haul. We’d also point out that the faux leather (er, vinyl) seats looked of high quality. The only let-down are the occasional cheap scratchy plastics, but everything looks built to last.

While our tester didn’t have it, we’d probably opt for the Sunroof Package that includes ventilated front seats. Luxury! Those sitting in back also enjoy the upright seating position, and for a vehicle that’s relatively compact, adults will fit comfortably. With the rears up, cargo space is good, and when dropped, you have impressive room. While our tester didn’t have a power tailgate, one is available. If you’re shopping in the Kia/Hyundai franchise, you’ll find that the Seltos is more spacious than either the Kona and Soul.

Turbo Thrills

The Seltos gets a nice upgrade in the driving department for 2024, too. SX models like our tester now enjoy a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder that pumps out an impressive 195 horsepower (up 20 from the previous model) and 195 lb.-ft. of torque. In a small vehicle like this, it makes for quick acceleration whether you’re zipping away from stoplights or passing on the freeway. Making the most of the power party is a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic. Go easy on the turbo pedal, and you should have no problem getting the EPA’s 26 combined MPG. There’s a non-turbo option as well – but it won’t be nearly as fun.

Adding to our SX tester’s fun quotient was the standard on-demand all-wheel-drive, which makes the Seltos quite capable. There’s a center locking differential for the serious stuff, and torque vectoring that helps handling and adds grins when you hit a twisty road. We did find that the steering seemed to tug like a front-wheel-drive model at lower speeds, but it ironed itself out once you got rolling. With the Seltos’ compact size, turbo power and AWD grip, it’s like having a sports sedan with the added benefit of crossover/SUV utility. Win-win!

You also win in the confidence department, with the ’24 Seltos adding Forward Collision Avoidance with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Blind Spot Collision Warning and Intelligent Speed Limit Assist to the already impressive standard equipment.

Another reason to opt for the SX – it also adds Junction Assist to the Forward Collision Avoidance, as well as Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Navigation-based Smart Cruise Control and Highway Driving Assist. This is the kind of stuff you’d expect to find in Kia’s sibling luxury division, Genesis – but in a small crossover, it’s crazy impressive.

Big Price for a Small SUV?

Hey, this is Kia! Like their sibling Hyundai, they cut their teeth on being a smart value. You can get into a Seltos starting at just $24,390. For a stylish, comfortable, crossover brimming with safety and connective tech, that’s a bargain. At the other end of the spectrum was our SX Turbo AWD model, starting at $29,990, we added the two-tone paint for $395, plus $1,325 destination, and rang the bell at $31,710. (Opt for a sunroof package and that will be $1,200 more.)

Competition would include the slightly smaller and slightly sportier Hyundai Kona at a near identical $31,785. And If you don’t need AWD or turbo power, the Nissan Kicks is affordable fun – and an all-new model is coming soon.

Great looks, added turbo power, loads of tech and safety equipment in a city-friendly package, the 2024 Kia Seltos SX Turbo AWD is the big dog in small crossover segment!


Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.

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