The 2021 Kia Seltos Overshadows a Forgotten SUV

The 2021 Kia Seltos may be overshadowing another reliable Kia SUV to consider. The 2021 Kia Sportage isn’t getting any attention since the Seltos came out, but it shouldn’t be ignored. See how these two compact options compare. 

The 2021 Kia Seltos vs. the 2021 Kia Sportage 

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a brand new option that provides tons of value with a low starting price of $21,990. The 2021 Kia Sportage is also an economical option that begins at about $24,090. But is it worth paying an extra $2,100? These prices are listed before the destination fees, and dealership markups have been added. 

The 2021 Kia Seltos in mud
2021 Kia Seltos | Kia

Wow, the Seltos has an advantage when it comes to fuel economy. It gets an EPA estimated 29 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the Sportage only gets an EPA estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. 

How do the Seltos and Sportage perform? 

With the 2021 Kia Sportage, you get a 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine with 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. You can upgrade to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine for 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. According to Edmunds, the Sportage can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 9 seconds with the turbo engine, which is a little disappointing.

The 2021 Kia Seltos starts with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. You’ll probably want to upgrade to the 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine for 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds noted that the Seltos accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 8.1 seconds, making it slightly faster than the Sportage. 

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The Kia Seltos comes with standard all-wheel-drive on all models but the base model. You can add all-wheel drive to the Kia Sportage. Both SUVs provide excellent handling in the snow and other slippery conditions. 

When Edmunds tested the Sportage, they noted that it has a smooth, comfortable ride. But the suspension feels a little sloppy, and the steering is vague. It absorbs impacts well and has a quiet cabin. 

Edmunds noted that the Seltos has smooth transmission shifts and responsive steering. But it feels heavy toward the front and ill-suited for curvy roads. Wind and road noise enters the cabin easily, but it absorbs bumps well. 

Kia Seltos and Kia Sportage features 

The 2021 Kia Sportage has an interior with an upscale feel, but people around six feet tall may feel cramped. The 2021 Kia Seltos has a practical feel, but it’s smaller than the Sportage. Rear passengers could struggle with the lack of space. 

You’ll find 370.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat of the Kia Sportage with up to 60.1 cubic feet total. The Kia Seltos offers 26.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats with up to 62.8 cubic feet total. 

A red 2021 Kia Sportage
2021 Kia Sportage | Kia

Critics recommend upgrading to the 10.3-inch infotainment display in the Kia Seltos. You can split the screen to view your map and directions at the same time. The Kia Sportage comes with an 8-inch infotainment center that Edmunds is thrilled with. It’s fast, user-friendly, and has excellent graphics. 

The Kia Seltos lacks standard safety features, while the Sportage comes with standard forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance. These features are optional with the Seltos. More available features for both models include blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.