Kia's lineup is an embarrassment of riches for shoppers looking for a small SUV, with the hatchback-like Soul and compact Sportage joined last year by the brand-new Kia Seltos. The Seltos combines the Soul's value-rich trim structure and modest size with the Sportage's increased versatility. Indeed, almost every Seltos comes standard with all-wheel drive — the Soul is front-wheel-drive only — at a price that lands smack-dab in the middle of its two siblings.
While it doesn't bear the Soul's distinctively funky styling, the Seltos has a rugged look of its own that helps it stand out from more pedestrian SUVs. But don't let its rough-and-tumble exterior fool you — some time behind the wheel reveals the Seltos drives like most other subcompact crossovers. Steering is light but responsive, handling is above average, and the ride is comfortable on all but the bumpiest roads.
The cabin is also fairly large and airy — a distinct advantage over rivals thanks to the Seltos' boxy shape. Not only will four adults sit comfortably, there's also plenty of cargo room for luggage and groceries. The Seltos also offers a good array of driving aids — all but the base LX model come with forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning and a driver attention monitor. Upper trims replace the standard 8-inch touchscreen with a 10.25-inch unit with crystal-clear graphics and a Bose audio system.