The Kia Seltos is brand-new for the 2021 model year, but it already has a glaring problem. Though Kia classifies the Seltos as a compact SUV, many reviewers consider it a subcompact SUV instead. That’s because its cabin and cargo hold are smaller than other compact crossovers.
Consumer Reports also lists the Kia Seltos as a subcompact in part due to its cargo space. But categorizing this crossover as a subcompact makes it appear to be a class leader in terms of interior space.
How big is the 2021 Kia Seltos?
According to Kia, the Seltos offers 26 cubic feet of storage space behind the rear row. Folding down that row allows you to use its full cargo capacity of 62 cubic feet. It also has a wide hatch opening and an adjustable cargo floor.
In-cabin storage is somewhat limited compared to rivals. But there’s still room for small items under the front armrest and inside the center console. There are also four cup holders and four bottle holders on the doors. However, the rear cupholders provide little protection to prevent drinks from tipping.
Can the Kia Seltos carry more than its rivals?
Sixty-two cubic feet is still a good amount of space compared to other subcompact crossovers, but not compared to other compact SUVs. The Honda CR-V boasts 39 cubic feet behind the rear seats and almost 76 cubic feet total. It also has several more interior storage compartments, plus extra perks like a cargo cover.
The 2021 Toyota RAV4 offers 38 cubic feet behind the second row and 70 cubic feet total. Consumer Reports found the carpeting on the load cheap-feeling, as it did with the Kia Seltos. However, the RAV4’s floor is fairly low to the ground, and you can get a weatherproof cargo liner with some trims.
But compared to subcompact SUVs, the Seltos appears much more impressive. The 2021 Hyundai Kona offers only 19 cubic feet of space behind its second row and a maximum of almost 46 cubic feet. During Consumer Reports‘ road test, staff found that only one baby stroller filled the space behind the second row. However, testers appreciated the storage compartment hidden under the cargo floor.
The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is even smaller, with 18 cubic feet of space behind the second row. Fold that row and get over 44 cubic feet. This compact crossover also provides a shallow compartment under the load floor but very few interior storage cubbies.
The Seltos excels in other areas
The 2021 Kia Seltos offers impressive gas mileage. With the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive, the staff’s test vehicle got 28 mpg combined city/highway. Both engines feel slow during acceleration from a stop, but Consumer Reports said the Seltos is quick compared to rivals.
Its handling is snappy, and the brakes kick in quickly on short notice. However, its stiff suspension and groaning continuously variable transmission hamper its ride quality. If you want a comfortable Kia model, the Sportage is probably a better option.
Still, CR appreciates the wide door openings and lack of blind spots from the driver’s seat. The Kia Seltos also offers comfortable seats, though long-term support is lacking. The backseat has great headroom for taller riders, but legroom is somewhat restrictive.
The 2021 Kia Seltos also has a user-friendly infotainment system. The menu layouts are easy to understand, and the physical home button is a nice touch.
Though its cargo area can’t compete with other compact SUVs, the Kia Seltos is still a solid crossover.