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Hey everyone!

If you seen my post in the new members section, I'm about to make it official in getting a '21 Seltos SX w/ 8k miles on it. Its not official yet, haven't signed a purchase agreement on it yet... But after seeing the posts on here about the transmission and electronics issues with these, I'm starting to reconsider.

So I am asking everyone their consensus:
*Are you happy with the Seltos?
---OR---
*Do you hate it & wish you'd bought something else instead???

This is ultimately gonna be the make or break decision on my getting this truck or not... I know the general ratings on the Seltos are pretty good all around. And the extremely low milage and the factory warranty are the main reasons I'm considering getting it - outside of how a lot of what and how the Seltos is is the whole reason I'm looking for an SUV like this in the first place...

So fellow Seltos owners, WHAT'S YOUR VERDICT??? Are you glad you got it, or should I keep looking for something else while I still can???

Thanks in advance!
J
6 Months ago I would have said I am more than happy with my 2021 Seltos SX Turbo. But in early March I was left stranded by a faulty transmission about 80 miles from my dealership. Kia towed it there and it is still there waiting on parts and they cannot determine if the part they are waiting on will rectify the problem (it went into limp mode). Kia has been awesome! We waited a couple days to request a loaner until they could determine if they could repair it quickly. I was first given a 2021 K5 base. Loved it BUT because of the lack of road clearance I had to keep it in town and could not use it to travel to our unimproved land we are building on. Gas mileage was unbelievable! I was getting almost 500 miles to a tank of gas and since I drive 25 miles one way to work it was a money saver. But then I needed to travel. Upon contacting Kia, they agreed to give us a different loaner. I have a 2022 Sportage SX top of the line. I have mixed feelings on it as it feels way heavier to drive than my Seltos; not near as sporty feeling. I have only driven in town but plan on traveling with it this weekend. Love the response of the transmission.
I think the transmission in the Seltos may have been acting up before the limp mode kicked in. Because I drive it so much I don't think I would have noticed a slight change in it's performance until it failed. Thinking back on it, I would say that is what happened. I have never liked the transmission in the Seltos. It has such a hesitation on take off that it makes it dangerous to try and turn across cross traffic. I would have to change modes to Sport to have any pep in taking off. Lots of little things on the tranny. Maybe I just have a lemon but we are seriously considering trading it in for the Sportage I am currently driving. If I could have everything but the transmission in the Seltos, I would be perfectly happy. First time ever driving with a DCT and feel it is a transmission that needs to go back to the drawing board to fix some of its issues. On a positive note, Kia's warranty is awesome so any future issues with the tranny will be covered until I reach the magical 5 years. On a side note, I never got to drive a Seltos before the purchase. If I could've done that, I may not have purchased it.
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
Bernie,
You may want to see the 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo review by Savagegeese on YouTube. Their review in my opinion was spot-on. He mentions the Dual Clutch transmission issue and he recommends to try to get "Used to it". I agree with you about KIA needs to redesign the Dual clutch or get rid of it. I have 33,000 miles and it doesn't give me any issues and quite comfortable with driving it. I still really like my car and love how it handles.
 

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103 Posts
Bernie,
You may want to see the 2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo review by Savagegeese on YouTube. Their review in my opinion was spot-on. He mentions the Dual Clutch transmission issue and he recommends to try to get "Used to it". I agree with you about KIA needs to redesign the Dual clutch or get rid of it. I have 33,000 miles and it doesn't give me any issues and quite comfortable with driving it. I still really like my car and love how it handles.
Same here, got 30,800 on mine without a hick up. DCT are different than a standard type or CVT in the lower models. Doesn't like bumper to bumper traffic though...
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
I can’t remember the reason, but I recall being told not to drive in AWD Lock unless needed. From take off, the Seltos does start with 50/50 front back and stays until traction obtained and/or 60km/h. I think that it was said to be too rough on the system and shouldn’t be used for long drives.
Absolutely right. In the Seltos, the AWD, means they are on-demand AWD, not full time AWD like say the Subarus, and large 4WDs, so ideally you should not routinely drive with the diff lock on, unless in slippery conditions, or you will get much faster tyre wear and also some transmission parts will wear faster as well. This is covered very well in the manual. I'm in Australia, but I'm sure the US models would be the same. However, I am surprised at reading how many drivers there are unaware of this difference. The good news is my last car was Subaru Outback, which was full-time AWD, as was the GT4 I drove previously for 28 years, but this car feels just as secure on the road without the diff lock on.
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
Absolutely right. In the Seltos, the AWD, means they are on-demand AWD, not full time AWD like say the Subarus, and large 4WDs, so ideally you should not routinely drive with the diff lock on, unless in slippery conditions, or you will get much faster tyre wear and also some transmission parts will wear faster as well. This is covered very well in the manual. I'm in Australia, but I'm sure the US models would be the same. However, I am surprised at reading how many drivers there are unaware of this difference. The good news is my last car was Subaru Outback, which was full-time AWD, as was the GT4 I drove previously for 28 years, but this car feels just as secure on the road without the diff lock on.
Diff Lock?? On a current AWD? My SX does not have any Differential Locks. It's on Demand auto sensing AWD. Last car I had Diff Lock was my 87 Toyota 4Runner
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
This is what I came up with in about 10 minutes. If I sat here longer I'm sure I could add to this.

Things I like:
  • AWD system is excellent, performs better than expected.
  • More than adequate power from the 1.6T engine.
  • Feels very "right sized" but still has decent space inside.
  • Car feels light on its feet in terms of driving feel.
  • Good blend of features and options at this price point.
  • LED headlights on the top trim are excellent.
  • Seats are firm but have good adjustability and basic ergonomics and are pretty comfortable.
  • Steering is surprisingly good, especially how they mostly avoid it feeling "darty" or nervous given the very fast steering gear ratio they are using. Self-centers nicely at most speeds and actually has a bit of road feel from the wheels.
  • Center LCD display is a quality panel with good black levels and doesn't have a distracting glow at night. You can program the starred "favorite" button to be a shortcut to turning it off too.
  • Basic platform and chassis is very good for a "cheap" car with no perceivable body flex. Car has been pretty good about not having any annoying interior rattles too.

Things I dislike:
  • DCT transmission is unrefined, especially when attempting gentle take-offs, and makes me wish I could shift it myself.
  • Throttle and transmission programming feels weird and makes the car feel underpowered when the radar cruise is engaged.
  • Ride is not overly harsh but also isn't ever very smooth or settled either. Somewhat to be expected for a short wheelbase car but the damping/springrates feel like they are not quite optimized somehow.
  • Quite noisy on the highway and is mostly windnoise that a couple of extra very inexpensive rubber seals would have solved.
  • Many of the "automatic" features in the car work poorly. Auto headlights have no timer delay and the light sensor is poorly calibrated. It will turn the headlights on and off dozens of times in the space of a short drive and often dims the instrument lighting in broad daylight. Auto climate control refuses to turn the fan speed up to heat the car even when it's freezing outside. Auto high beam control flickers on and off frequently from misdetecting road signs as oncoming traffic, and will flash people randomly when it loses detection for a moment.
  • Upgraded screen in the instrument cluster is large and looks good but makes poor use of its size with lots of blank black space because it's basically displaying the same menus and data that the tiny black and white screen in the base model displays. Only Kia vehicle that won't let you set a large digital speedometer on this screen which would be the single best use of it.
  • Doors feel cheap and hollow, and tend to try to swing themselves back shut when you open them.
  • SX trim ugrades the SCREEN on the infotainment system but it does not upgrade the PROCESSOR so it feels slow and laggy despite having the same screen that a Telluride uses.

One thing to keep in mind from my comments: I'm a pretty picky OCD person who is extremely detail oriented and will tend to notice things that most people do not. If you put me in a Mercedes S500 I bet you I could generate a fairly long list of dislikes for it too. :) I feel like I should provide that frame of reference in case it feels like I'm hating on the car. I think the Seltos is probably the best car in the sub-compact SUV class overall, but I also think ALL of the cars in this class are pretty meh and are designed in such a way as to encourage you to "size up" to that brands next more expensive model up.
Wow, excalibur, you are a bit nit-picky - either that or the model you have is vastly inferior to the top GT-Line model we get here in Australia. Mine is a Dec 2019 model, and everything works virtually perfectly. So much so I would basically disagree with every one of your 'negatives'. Funny that...
Mind you, the head up display would probably negate several of your issues. I gather your model does bot have that. But the DCT and smart radar cruise work so well together I even use them around the suburbs, roundabouts and all. 👍
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
Diff Lock?? On a current AWD? My SX does not have any Differential Locks. It's on Demand auto sensing AWD. Last car I had Diff Lock was my 87 Toyota 4Runner
Ok, well that's fine. It just means that they left out the option of locking the centre diff in your model, so it's in the on-demand AWD status all the time. Not really a problem unless you were to want to go genuinely off road in a serious manner or into the snow fields, or icy roads. In those situations, being able to lock it into full-time 4WD will give somewhat better traction/control than the on-demand AWD will, but not by a lot, I suspect.
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
Agreed. But seriously is anyone really going to take a KIA Seltos off road? Not really built for that. In fact, there's a good YouTube video that show,
2021 Kia Seltos AWD Turbo Crossover Review and Offroad Test
(
) showing the transmission overheating while going off road. I watched this but still purchased the SX model. Glad I did.
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
Interesting. I got the top model, here in Oz called the GT- Line, because I wanted all the bells and whistles. Not because I intended off road driving. I would never want to expose my main vehicle to the potential damage of off road, but it’s comforting to know if you got into a sticky situation it could get you out. However I suspect if in the test, he had engaged normal mode and slipped it into S, ie, the manu al gear change position, locked the diff, and eased her along like that, rather than in automatic from the start, as you normally would if seriously off road, it probably would not have overheated.
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
Thanks for the reply! After a few days of nobody replying, I took to the Seltos group on FB and got about 60 people who replied saying the same as you. I also saw in one of the groups in a poll that was taken, the number of those who had the transmission issues were a tiny fraction of those who have not, which was a huge sigh of relief for me. I really don't do all that much driving, I work more than anything and have only done 6400 miles a year for the last 5 years on my soon to be former Buick Regal GS... So I'm really looking forward to getting my Seltos this weekend!!! Thanks again!
I have a 2021 Seltos SX Turbo and very much like it. I just seen the YouTube review for the 2023 Seltos and they made substantial improvements! I would love to trade my 2021 in for a 2023. Check it out on YouTube.
 

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Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
I wouldn't say substantial - well not in the one we'll get here in Oz anyway. The external ones are purely cosmetic, and one could argue as to whether better - more like the Aldi add, good-different. However, mainly it is a trickle down of more of the safety and driver aid features to the lower models - absolutely predictable as a marketing thing - leaving the memory function for the driver seat and a powered tailgate as the main additions. Which would be good, but are hardly essential. And...does it get the head up display like my late 2019 model GT-Line does..? Not sure. Anyone know..?

Yes it does, but again only in the top model. Pity, as I love it so much I'd feel obliges to go to that model for that alone. The new more conventional 8 speed auto might end up a bit smoother, but I just love the DCT in mine compared to previous normal autos, so that's a moot point. Some others on here will clearly like this feature.
 

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2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
I wouldn't say substantial - well not in the one we'll get here in Oz anyway. The external ones are purely cosmetic, and one could argue as to whether better - more like the Aldi add, good-different. However, mainly it is a trickle down of more of the safety and driver aid features to the lower models - absolutely predictable as a marketing thing - leaving the memory function for the driver seat and a powered tailgate as the main additions. Which would be good, but are hardly essential. And...does it get the head up display like my late 2019 model GT-Line does..? Not sure. Anyone know..?

Yes it does, but again only in the top model. Pity, as I love it so much I'd feel obliges to go to that model for that alone. The new more conventional 8 speed auto might end up a bit smoother, but I just love the DCT in mine compared to previous normal autos, so that's a moot point. Some others on here will clearly like this feature.
AC seats, More insulation making it much Quieter, raise in HP about 15. Front end change, looks better. Transmission is much more smoother than my dual clutch. Cosmetic, no. Substantial Yes.
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
AC seats, More insulation making it much Quieter, raise in HP about 15. Front end change, looks better. Transmission is much more smoother than my dual clutch. Cosmetic, no. Substantial Yes.
I’d be happy to settle on a compromise of significant..? 😊
 

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192 Posts
So, rapidly approaching three year anniversary from purchase. 86,000 miles later (yes, you read that correctly) the Seltos continues to be a joy to drive. Handled the recent rains and flooding here in CA rather well. Also made for some fun in the mud puddles left behind!!! Gotta get a picture for y'all.

Other than routine maintenance (all dealer serviced) I spent $2 to replace a door stop that fell off. The transmission has worked perfectly well. Takes getting used to the DCT, especially in SMART Mode. Sure there are options on the newer models that I don't have. Only one would be a heads up display.

Other than that, continue to enjoy my Seltos.
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
Wow! 86k! And mine is about to turn 50K and I thought that was high. I really enjoy my SX turbo. Yes Pourquoi, the DCT takes time getting used to, but as you said, I'm used to it by now. I was sort of had my eye on the new Ford Bronco Sport, but why get rid of something I thoroughly enjoy driving. So I guess another 30k perhaps.
 

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2023 EX
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57 Posts
Regarding the Bronco. (I was also interested) Not sure about the newer models.

NHTSA is investigating 2021 model year Ford Bronco SUVs due t reports of catastrophic engine failure. The failure point allegedly stems from valves dropping into their respective cylinders and causing serious internal damage. This issue could affect over 25,000 Ford Broncos equipped with the engine.Aug 1, 2022
 

· Registered User
2021 KIA Seltos SX Turbo
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210 Posts
That's truly funny for me. My friend and I both purchased a (now i'm dating myself) Ford Bronco II's back in 1986, brand new. During the 1st oil change, the mechanic told me that there was an abundant amount of rust in the oil. Right after that, both my friend and I received a recall, that the intake manifold gasket was leaking coolant into the engine. "Brand New Vehicle". I talked to a few mechanics and all of them told me to get rid of it ASAP. My friend waited for Ford to react and his New Bronco engine burned up and he ended up battling Ford to replace it. I although I lost some money, I was much better off than he was. Ford, continuing the tradition, LOL.
 

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2023 EX
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57 Posts
Yep, I made the mistake of buying a new Ford Escort back in 1992. Very poorly made with material, etc. After bad experiences with the Escort, Chevy Nova, and Chevy S-10, only have had Toyota and Honda. And now KIA. Hopefully good luck with the Seltos.
 

· Registered User
Seltos GT-line, (=SX), 2020 model, Mars Orange, 1.6L turbo, AWD
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231 Posts
Yep, I made the mistake of buying a new Ford Escort back in 1992. Very poorly made with material, etc. After bad experiences with the Escort, Chevy Nova, and Chevy S-10, only have had Toyota and Honda. And now KIA. Hopefully good luck with the Seltos.
Yes. I remember it was the Japanese cars that finally brought an end to the inevitable pool of oil under the sump of virtually every other make of car up to then.
 
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