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Motor Trend put together a great article that breaks down how the Seltos and Sportage differ from each other.
The 2021 Kia Seltos premiered at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show looking muscular and rugged. Slotting below the Sportage, the Seltos is aimed at buyers who want something more city-friendly. When you look closer, there are more differences between the Seltos and Sportage beyond the obvious size discrepancy. Here are eight ways the Kia Seltos and Kia Sportage crossovers are different.
Looks That Divide
Exterior styling is perhaps the biggest difference between the Kia Seltos and Kia Sportage. The latter features a polarizing mug with its high-mounted headlights and rounded profile. In comparison, the smaller Kia Seltos goes boxy like the three-row Telluride. When looking at the Kia Seltos versus the Sportage, the former looks muscular for a subcompact SUV, in stark contrast to the Sportage's smoother, rounder lines.
Larger On The Inside, Small On The Outside
You'd think that being larger would give the Kia Sportage more interior space because it's a compact SUV; unfortunately, that's not the case. The Seltos is extremely well packaged for a subcompact SUV with a small exterior footprint. At 62.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, the Seltos offers more maximum cargo capacity than the Sportage, and its 30.5 to 40.0 inches of headroom is 0.5 to 0.9 inch more up front and 0.5 to 0.7 inch more in the rear.
More Power, Please
Another big difference between the Kia Seltos and Kia Sportage lies beneath their hoods. If you're looking for more power, the Kia Sportage offers more powerful engine options in comparison to the smaller Seltos. The available 2.0-liter turbo-four in the Sportage makes up to 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the more powerful compact SUVs available. An optional 1.6-liter turbo-four with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft is the most powerful engine option you can get in the Seltos.
Like the smaller, front-drive-only Soul, the 2021 Kia Seltos is available with cool two-tone exterior color schemes. Two colors will be offered with a black roof; Dark Ocean Blue can be had with either a black or white roof.
Accessible Four-Season Traction
In a bid to expand appeal, the 2021 Kia Seltos will get all-wheel drive standard on all but the S trim, which gets front-wheel drive only. On the larger 2020 Kia Sportage, you have to pay extra for all-wheel drive on all trims, even on the more powerful turbocharged version. If AWD is one of your key criteria when cross-shopping the Kia Seltos vs. Kia Sportage, you should note that it's easier to get on the Seltos.
Rear Suspension Options
The 2021 Kia Seltos offers two suspension setups depending on the drivetrain configuration you choose. Opt for front-wheel drive, and you get a torsion beam rear suspension. Models equipped with all-wheel drive get a more sophisticated independent multilink layout instead. In comparison, every 2020 Kia Sportage gets independent rear suspension regardless of the drivetrain configuration.
Multimedia Tech Advantage
Like the three-row Telluride and the front-drive Soul, the 2021 Kia Seltos gets the latest iteration of Hyundai/Kia's multimedia system featuring a 10.25-inch touchscreen. It also gets the quickest version of the interface to date and even comes with a split screen feature that allows you to customize the home screen. The Sportage uses a slightly older version with a smaller 8.0-inch touchscreen that you can't modify as extensively as the one in newer Kia models. So if having the latest tech is important to you, there's no question which small SUV from this Kia Seltos vs. Kia Sportage comparison you should choose.
Light It Up
The available eight-speaker Bose audio system in the 2021 Kia Seltos adds a bit more flair with its pulsating ambient lighting. When music is playing, the patterned speaker grilles pulsate with different colored lights, giving the interior a cool vibe missing from the larger Sportage.