The rambunctious little Kia Seltos has made quite a splash in a short time. It's built like a tougher version of the Soul, adding a bit of brawn to the otherwise soft-handed nature of the crossover. And for the first time in the model's admittedly short history, it's getting a refresh.
The new-for-this-year model was revealed on Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, featuring a reworked exterior along with an updated interior that's—get this—tech-focused. First, Kia decided to give the Seltos a stronger appearance by revising the tiger nose grille, which is fitting considering its nameplate is a disambiguation of "Celtos," son of Hercules. The grille is complemented by Kia's signature "star map" lighting and is supported on either side by optional LED projector headlights. Kia also aimed to add a sort of rugged appearance to the front end by incorporating rigid shapes and better integrating its vertical fog lights.
Kia gave the Seltos some unique geometric wheel designs across several trims, as well as three unique paint options. And to top it all off, the Seltos is the latest Kia to get an "X" trim. This adds a unique front gunmetal grille, special 18-inch wheels, black appointments on the doors, a roof rack, and X-Line badging.
Kia focused on refining the Seltos' interior to better display its in-car, erm, displays. This mainly applies to a large panoramic screen that makes replaces the old phablet-style infotainment in the outgoing model. This not only modernizes the cabin space, but also wraps the two 10.25-inch displays that make up the instrument cluster and center screen into one nearly seamless unit that rides just below the dashboard's peak, similar to the Kia Sportage, EV6, and the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The rest of the interior remains relatively conservative with smart lines, patterns, and material choices. New for 2024 is a digital key that allows iPhone and Samsung Galaxy owners to unlock and drive their Seltos using only their phones or Apple Watch.
One last change that some will be happy to feel is a nice 20-horsepower bump to Kia's revised Gamma 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder. This engine, mated to a traditional eight-speed gearbox, now pumps out a respectable 195 hp. A 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder mated to a CVT transmission is also available, though that pair makes just 174 hp and 132 pound-feet of torque.
Look—I know that crossovers aren't the sexiest car on the block (the 2022 Porsche Cayanne Turbo GT does get a pass though), but we have to give credit where it's due. Kia and its sister brand Hyundai have really been stepping up their respective games lately, offering some rather sleek choices for the average driver and new EV buyer. The refreshed Seltos is no exception; it looks great and will very likely fit the needs of younger buyers, which is pretty much the entire point.
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