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After a anniversary of testing beyond 17 categories in Cars.com’s Affordable Baby SUV Challenge, the 2021 Kia Seltos was the champ — but alone by a little. The all-new SUV becoming 226 out of 350 accessible points, abundant to top the battling Subaru Crosstrek (218 points), Mazda CX-30 (213) and Chevrolet Trailblazer (211). That agency the advance amid the highest- and lowest-rated was aloof 15 points.
Affordable Baby SUV Challenge After-effects | Champ | How We Tested
In added words, the last-place finisher got alone about 7% beneath credibility than the top car. Compare that adjoin the antecedent time we ample up the chic — two years ago, additionally amid four SUVs — back the last-place finisher had 25% beneath credibility than the top dog. That’s added archetypal of the allowance amid winners and losers in our allegory tests, alike with almost few cars. This time around, the Seltos’ achievement came adjoin a aggressive group, and its allowance of achievement was slight.
Maybe that’s because we abhorred beneath aggressive models with earlier roots, such as the Ford EcoSport or Chevrolet Trax, in favor of aloof a few of the latest rivals additional the reigning-champ Crosstrek. But a afterpiece attending at this year’s allegory shows abounding incremental victories for the Seltos and no above losses. It’s hardly bigger at a lot of things, and it stank up the abode in no accurate area.
Indeed, the Seltos angry for the top abode in one chic (overall value), almost belted out rivals in four categories (front seats, rear seats, babble abatement and driver-assist tech) and claimed aloof one achievement by a cogent margin. That came in the user-interface category, an appraisal of user-friendliness for berth controls and graphical interfaces, such as touchscreens. Archetypal of Kia, the Seltos’ common bureaucracy and large, simple touchscreen becoming top marks.
The Seltos’ distinct chic accident came in assurance features, area its bound dispatch ambit for automated emergency braking (as assured by the owner’s manual) amount nominal points. Alike so, Kia brought up the rear by a slight allowance for the category. We acclaimed a few added acrimonious deficiencies abreast from that — amid them some dispatch lag, inconsistent berth affection and blah handling. The Seltos additionally lacked a ability liftgate, a affection two rivals had.
Still, the all-embracing takeaway from our well-equipped Seltos SX was the able accomplishment of a tiny-footprint SUV. Despite its baby size, the Seltos packs a calmly aerial active position with appropriate backseat allowance and burden space. The SX’s drivetrain, a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder acceptable for 175 application and 195 pounds-feet of torque, pairs with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. In our testing, it hit 60 mph in 8.03 seconds; admitting modest, that led a accumulation that saw times as apathetic as the Trailblazer’s 9.91 seconds.
Note that our after-effects affect to the specific configurations of anniversary agent we tested. The Seltos’ achievement bodes able-bodied for all trims — decidedly because of its able assuming in accepted qualities like basement and burden amplitude — but the SX in accurate is what shines. That’s abnormally accurate of its drivetrain because three out of the Seltos’ bristles trims apply a beneath able agent (a non-turbo 2.0-liter with 146 hp and 132 pounds-feet of torque) and a continuously capricious automated transmission. We didn’t analysis that drivetrain here, so we can’t animadversion on its achievement about to the group.
None of that should befoul Kia’s achievement — abnormally over the Crosstrek, which topped the chic for after comparisons in 2015 and 2018. Subaru’s blueprint hasn’t afflicted much: The Crosstrek still rides a beyond belvedere than the chic norm, with added allowance and a plusher ride as the result. But the Seltos boasts bigger packaging with added burden allowance by our abstracts additional a college basement position. Kia didn’t absolutely exhausted the Crosstrek at its own bold (Subaru still acquaint group-leading array for ride quality), but the Seltos’ convenient technologies and all-embracing amplitude ability may acquire bamboozled Subaru, not to acknowledgment Mazda and Chevy.
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