Another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place, as the EPA has announced finalized fuel economy figures for the forthcoming 2021 Kia Seltos, the South Korean brand’s new subcompact-ish SUV.
The Seltos’ base powertrain is a 146-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. Most models will come with standard all-wheel drive except for the S trim level, which comes standard with front-wheel drive and the base engine. That configuration is the most fuel-efficient setup you can get on the Seltos, returning an estimated 29/34/31 mpg city/highway/combined. For the base engine and AWD, which comes standard on LX and EX models, the numbers dip to 27/31/29 mpg.
Optional on the S and standard on the SX is a 175-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder that comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That’s the most engaging but least efficient setup at an estimated 25/30/27 mpg.
Up against competitors that are similarly on the larger side compared to subcompact SUVs but not quite big enough to be considered compacts, the Seltos compares pretty favorably (all comparisons are to 2020 models). Front-wheel-drive versions of the Hyundai Venue, Mazda CX-30 and Nissan Rogue Sport offer 32, 28 and 28 mpg in combined ratings, respectively, which trails the Seltos’ 31 mpg combined rating.
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Jump up to AWD competitors, which means dropping the front-wheel-drive-only Venue and adding in the Subaru Crosstrek with its standard AWD and automatic transmission equipped, and the Seltos still holds up well. Its 29 mpg combined beats the CX-30 (27 mpg with cylinder deactivation on the automatic), Rogue Sport (27 mpg) and Crosstrek (30 mpg), though it just edges out the Subaru.
Finally, against other competitors (the Hyundai Kona and Jeep Renegade) with similarly powered turbocharged engines, the Seltos is roughly tied. Its 27 mpg combined ties the AWD Kona and beats the AWD Renegade by 1 mpg — though we should note that the Seltos is a larger vehicle with a longer wheelbase, and it’s 8 inches longer than the Kona and 5.4 inches longer than the Renegade.
We’re still waiting on final pricing details for the Seltos, which Kia says will start at less than $22,000 for both LX and S trim levels; (it’s unclear if that includes destination charges). Keep an eye out for those figures to be announced closer to the 2021 Kia Seltos’ on-sale date in early 2020.
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