Crossover & Midsize

The 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo Is Only Marginally Faster Than the Subaru Crosstrek Sport

Which is the best subcompact crossover SUV? It’s a difficult question to answer because the segment is quickly heating up. Subaru has remained the top contender with the Crosstrek Sport for a while now, but Kia has entered the arena. The Korean automaker has released the Kia Seltos SX Turbo in hopes that it can capitalize on the traction the Telluride has brought it. So is the Seltos SX Turbo a true contender, or should buyers stick with the Crosstrek Sport? Here’s what MotorTrend thinks. 

The Subaru Crosstrek Sport always wows the critics

It’s hard to find anything to dislike about the Subaru Crosstrek Sport. It has an eye-catching frame, it’s practical, and offers plenty of features. The few flaws it does have aren’t that big of a deal-breaker. 

The Subaru Crosstrek Sport comes with a flat-4 engine that produces 182 hp and 176 lb-ft. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. When coming to a complete stop from 60 mph, it took the Crosstrek 124 feet.

It comes equipped with an 8.8-inch infotainment screen that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible. The Crosstrek has also got a splash of color on the bottom of the steering wheel, which helps it stand apart. 

With a starting price of $27,545, it’s not that expensive. In fact, it’s about $1,500 cheaper than the Seltos. 

The 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo is the new car on the block

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Kia Seltos?

The 2021 Kia Seltos SX Turbo has been attracting a lot of attention from critics lately. It comes equipped with a turbocharged I-4 engine that produces 175 hp and 195 lb-ft. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. It took 117 feet to come to a complete stop from 60 mph.

MotorTrend was initially impressed with the Kia Seltos’ interior and stated, “Kia’s major focus on interior design in the Seltos’ cabin is just something you don’t get elsewhere in this segment. Power seats with lumbar adjustment, automatic climate control with vents for rear passengers, and an 8.0-inch Apple CarPlay- and Android Auto compatible infotainment system (also shared with Hyundai and some Genesis models) are impressive enough. But then you look at things such as the fractal speaker grilles for the Bose sound system, and it’s impossible not to feel like you’re in a far more expensive car.”

That being said, the review site reports that the interior can feel rather cramped even though it’s actually bigger than the Crosstrek. The materials used also feel less expensive than those used in the Subaru Crosstrek. The Seltos has a starting price of $29,010, which isn’t bad, but it’s definitely a little more pricey than the Crosstrek.

Who wins the title of Best Subcompact Crossover SUV?

RELATED: The Subaru Crosstrek has 1 Major Advantage Over the Kia Seltos

This was a close battle. Both vehicles seem to be strongest where its rival is weakest, which makes deciding harder than ever. The Subaru Crosstrek has more horsepower, but the Kia Seltos has superior torque. There is more headroom in the Seltos, but the Crosstrek offers more legroom. Then there’s the fact that while the Seltos can reach 0 to 60 mph at a faster speed than the Crosstrek, it lags behind when both vehicles begin reaching speeds of 90 mph.

So which one won? Both have some incredibly great features, and consumers would doubtless be pleased with either SUV, but there can only be one winner. MotorTrend stated, “While both of these SUVs are exceptional segment standouts, for us, the Subaru’s final bit of polish, superior ride quality and efficiency, and its near-identical instrumented-test performance earn it the top spot in our SUV rankings.”