How Safe Is the Kia Seltos?

Kia is having a good year. It recently had its best October ever and is putting out new models left and right. One of its latest models, the 2021 Kia Seltos, is hitting the pavement running and is already up for MotorTrend’s SUV of the year award.

The Seltos is an alternative to options like the Subaru Crosstrek and Jeep Renegade and falls between the Soul and Sportage in Kia’s lineup. Kia is somewhat underrated as the poor man’s Honda but has been working to change its image over the years. Given its vehicles’ top-notch reliability, it seems the automaker is doing well. But how does the Kia Seltos perform in the safety department?

The Kia Seltos is rated ‘good’ by IIHS, but …

When reviewers have mentioned the Kia Seltos’ drawbacks, they haven’t always been related to safety. That’s surprising because U.S. News rated it on the lower end, at 8.8 out of 10 stars, compared with most subcompact SUV rivals. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Seltos an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars, with five stars in the side crash category and four stars in the frontal crash and rollover categories. 

Although it earned the highest rating of “good” in all of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s test categories, one area stood out. All three of the Seltos’ headlight options ended up with a “poor” rating for forward visibility. That’s pretty important — you need to be able to see to drive. And it was enough to knock the Kia Seltos to the bottom of the list in U.S. News’ review.

Standard features you’ll find on the Seltos

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The base trim doesn’t come with many safety features you might want in a car, but the LX includes a rearview camera and a rear-seat reminder that alerts you to check the back seat as you exit the vehicle. In 2021, these are automatic features for most cars, so it’s good to see the Seltos include them.

The base model starts at $21,990, but you can get a ton of extra safety features in the S trim level for the same starting price. According to Kia‘s specs, the only other difference is that the LX has an all-wheel-drive standard, and the S has front-wheel-drive. 

These optional features will make you feel even safer

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The Kia Seltos stands out when it comes to optional features, though. Because of the slightly different grading scale used for collision avoidance features, the IIHS rated the Seltos “superior” for its optional front crash prevention systems, U.S. New reported. That’s great if you can afford the upgrade. 

Opt for the S trim level, and you can enjoy the addition of a forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, driver attention monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and lane centering assist. The S trim adds a ton of safety features without upping the price — odd considering it’s the same starting price as the base trim LX, which has far fewer safety features. 

Choose the EX, which starts at $25,290, and you get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Of course, there are other benefits to this trim level aside from the added safety features. To get the biggest bang for your buck, opt for the SX Turbo, which comes with speed limit recognition and stop-and-go adaptive cruise control. That’ll bring your total to at least $27,890, but it comes with nice perks. 

Is the Kia Seltos right for you?

At this point, it wouldn’t matter which Kia model you chose — the automaker has big plans and continues to impress. But with the addition of the Seltos, Kia offers yet another great option to choose from its lineup.