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These SUVs are on fire, but not in a good way. Watch out if you have a 2021 Kia Seltos or a 2020 – 2021 Kia Soul model. You might want to check on this recall notice. These little Kia SUVs are bursting into flames. Also, these vehicles have more in common than you think.

Recall for the 2021 Kia Seltos and 2020 – 2021 Kia Soul 

According to The Truth About Cars, Kia has issued a recall for 2021 Kia Seltos SUVs and 2021 – 2021 Kia Soul models with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This is the base engine for both SUVs.

2021 Kia Seltos | Kia

Due to having inconsistent piston ring heat treatments, they may have engine damage. As a result, drivers could experience a sudden loss of power, increased risk of fire, and an increased risk of accidents. 

How did Kia find out about this problem?

Kia first became aware of this issue in 2020 when a Soul made a funky noise and stalled. Turns out the engine had siezed. The engine was sent to Korea for further investigation.

Once the engine arrived in January 2021, and they took it apart. They found a chipped oil ring, scratched cylinder bore, and seized connection rod bearing.

In February 2021, a 2020 Kia Soul with oil leaking on the exhaust caught on fire. The connecting rod created a hole in the engine block. This sounds pretty concerning.

A red 2021 Kia Soul driving
2021 Kia Soul | Kia

Kia Motors continues to investigate, determined to find the cause of this issue. Everything came down to an oil ring problem which created the need for replacement engines.

According to Consumer Reports, the 2021 Kia Soul has a predicted reliability rating of one out of five, which is below average. The 2021 Kia Seltos is a little too new to judge, but has a predicted rating of three out of five.

The predicted reliabilty rating for vehicles come from problems reported on previous models. The issues seem to mainly stem from older Kia Soul model years, going back from 2014.

The Kia Seltos vs. the Kia Soul 

The main difference between the Kia Seltos and Kia Soul includes their shape and capabilities. The Kia Soul doesn’t come with all-wheel drive, while the Kia Seltos does. Also, the 2021 Kia Seltos has a more curvy and angular shape, while the 2021 Kia Soul is boxy. 

You can get started in a Kia Soul for about $17,590, and the Kia Seltos begins at about $21,990. Both SUVs share the same platform and engine options. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. 

You can upgrade to the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque in the Seltos and 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque in the Soul. The Seltos is about 6.8-inches longer than the Soul. 

Both SUVs have a comfortable and spacious interior with a practical layout. The Kia Seltos includes a bit more tech with a 10.25-inch infotainment display and an additional USB port. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with both options. 

Surprisingly, not very many safety features come standard with both options. Available features include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance. 


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