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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here are a few thoughts on the Seltos 1.6 SX Turbo from our 2500 mile trip over the last two weeks. We drove from northern Colorado up to Washington state, south of Spokane, to see the kids. If you have found different results, pls let me know! I also listed some items I have bought for this car that you might like if you haven’t found something similar...

- UPDATE: How could I forget High Beam Assist (HBA) - we had a 20 mile drive each night back up to Pullman on state roads. HBA takes care of turning on/off high beams for you - you don't do a thing other than turn it on (and understand how to control it - see user's manual). It is more sensitive that I could have been and does a lot of work for you! Apparently, Kia's setup is one of the best, it really is incredible.

- UPDATE: I didn't want to forget 'Auto Hold' - I'm sure most people use that - if you come to a stop at a light you can release you foot from the brake pedal and the car will stay where it is till you give it the gas...very helpful.

- Noise/ride quality. I didn’t find this so great in the Seltos. Yes, on a few of the very smooth road surfaces, the Seltos was quite and smooth, like a horse drawn cart would be… But most roads, e.g., the ‘chip seal’ surface in a lot of Montana, it was just pretty loud and you felt the bumps. My wife doesn’t have the greatest hearing and we gave up on listening to a pod cast pretty quickly…. :( My neighbor, even in his Mercedes chassis Winnebago wears a headset while driving...don’t know if I’m ready for that!

- Comfort: My wife has a lumbar support on her seat, and was OK, and I felt OK in my seat – adjusted the lumbar support once in a while. Link below to her lumbar support if needed.

- I didn’t feel real comfortable in the car on a lot of the route at more than 75 MPH. Too many mountain passes and ups and downs. On flatter parts I was more comfortable with 80 (many of the speed limits out here are 80). The Turbo gives you some good speed and pickup, but the dual clutch is quick down shift from 7th to even 5th, and it will create quite a racket.

- MPG…. Not overly impressed – overall 29.3. We had two adults and a full trunk of pretty heavy luggage, and stuff under/behind the seats. The rear seat was reserved for her highness, Dolly, the dog.

- Lowering the cargo floor does create noticeably more room...glad they have that ability. There is still room to store some cleaning supplies etc under that floor.

- Where are all the Seltoses? I only saw/recognized one Seltos on the entire trip!

- It handled the hail. We ran in to marble size or less hail coming home in Wyoming. It was deafening in the car and thought it had a destroyed car. I can only imagine what a bad hail storm is like. No apparent damage to the car. Link at bottom…. The UVO Doppler Radar feature might have helped us, but away from major cities, I mainly got “no data” type message. We need to use the 9News Weather app more – by the time we did, it was too late.

- Lane Follow Assist (LFA) worked quite well on the interstates. I just turned Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) off most of the time - that only works over 40 MPH and its alarms are more annoying that LFA. With LFA I was often fighting it, since it wasn’t going exactly where I would have gone in the lane...but MOST of the time, if I let it have it’s way it did OK. I think wind and roads that aren’t level prevent the best intentions of LFA and LKA.

- I learned to trust Blind Spot Monitoring more and more, glancing just at that on the interstate vs. twisting my old neck around. It seemed very reliable and of course alarms if someone is in your blindspot and you don’t clearly see the small icon in the mirror.

- Smart Cruise Control (SCC) worked great. I didn’t have a lot of traffic backups but it was flawless in slowing the car down as you approached someone on the highway and has to be one of the best features in modern cars!

- Highway Driving Assist (HDA) actually did...something. At least on certain interstates, if you set cruise control to exactly the speed limit, it will beep once and the HDA, ‘Auto’ and Speed icons will turn green (these icons are where the smart cruise info is on the top right of the dash). Then it will then (theoretically) maintain the posted highway speeds. If it speed limit turns from 75 to 80, it will beep once and take you up to 80. (I didn’t like going 80 in this car). However, per the documentation, it is supposed also to watch for work zone speed limit changes and adjust to those as well… I have never seen it do that. Not sure if there is any other benefit for the implementation of HDA that we have….it seems to be work in progress.

- Speaking of a work in progress, the dang “Keep Your Hands on the Steering Wheel” alarm would go off about every minute since a lot of the interstates were straight roads and you weren’t turning the steering wheel much. It drove me (and the wife) bonkers. You have to turn the steering wheel to get rid of the alarm – counter productive! And you can’t do anything to turn it off. That was really a pain…..

- Navigation – worked great and never let us down. This is a strong point in Kia/Hyundai I think. The “Points of Interest” were something we used to plan out next gas or food stop. I love that it displays the current speed limit and always seemed to be accurate. It would only get confused somethings when we started the car in the hotel parking lot, but as soon as you pulled out on the road it was good to go.

- One concern… At least twice, driving at 25 or 30 thru the tiny town where the kids live, I had a high pitched and rapid ‘chirp chirp chirp’ sound… As soon as we passed the town and accelerated the sound went away… Reminded me of wheel bearing noise. I had the car in today for something else and of course they couldn’t recreate it...but I wanted it on record that I experienced that…. :(

Overall the car’s performance couldn’t have been to bad – my wife said she thought it was as good or better than the 2020 Santa Fe we used on the last trip...so I’ll leave it with that.

Here are some goodies if you have money burning in your wallet.
  1. My short Wyoming hail storm video:
    Rain and Hail in Wyoming Dash Cam 9-3-21.mp4

  2. 9News Weather app (free) is great for real time radar (and future) re storms, weather forecast, etc...can be used for anywhere in the world! Have to have that with our dog who is made crazy by thunder…
  3. The lumbar support the wife likes: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H5D3LAA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  4. Great dash cam – Viofo A119:
    https://www.amazon.com/VIOFO-A119-1...uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

  5. Great hooks for second row seats – hang into cargo area to hang shopping bags on…
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07Z5KV97J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  6. Seltos Cabin Filter – reasonable (air filter n/a on Amazon yet):
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGQ5NZ?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details
  7. Electronic road flares – fit under passenger seat:
    Amazon.com: ManaCabana LED Road Flares Emergency Light Roadside Safety Disc Flare for Car Breakdown Kit with Magnetic Waterproof Flashing Disk - AAA Batteries Fitted - 3 Pack : Automotive

  8. Great tactical flashlight – reasonable:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082X2415P?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details
  9. The center console armrest was very good quality, but was so thick it made the console a little high and I returned it. Maybe you’d like it:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J89T246?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details


  10. Good cleaner for the fake leather in the SX Turbo:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018R2DD42?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

  11. Rubber compartment inserts with red or white trim – gives a little character to the inside:

  12. Covers some of the exposed bolts under the seats:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087LT4LDR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  13. Center console organizer...I like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08G8GC5B1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  14. Folding trunk organizer – fits Seltos perfectly and is surprisingly strong.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KVWHJCS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1












 

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A very well thought out post, thanks for writing it. It motivated me to create an account here to reply/participate a bit.

On the subject of that high pitch chirping noise, I'm glad I'm not the only person who has had this issue. I'm not sure if it's better to describe it as a chirp or a click but it's high pitch and seemed directly related to vehicle speed. On my Seltos it started when the vehicle only had a couple hundred miles on it and reached a point where it became quite loud. Then one day a few months ago it just stopped. Fingers crossed that it stays gone because it was a very annoying sound. In my vehicle it was loudest between 35-45 MPH, above that it would lose the distinct "clicks" and become more of a whining noise. I could also hear it almost down to a complete stop a few times, with the clicks becoming slower and slower. It certainly sounds like something mechanical "bedding" in like a bearing or maybe something in the differential. No idea if it's normal or not but as long as it stays gone it's fine in my book.

Your comment about the transmission was also interesting. This is probably the thing I dislike the most about my Seltos SX 1.6T. At highway speeds the transmission is constantly downshifting and the engine feels weak or out of breath. Even for small grades it will drop from 7th to 5th gear. Turns out this only goes on when the cruise control is engaged. If you drive the car controlling the throttle yourself it will happily go up all of these hills and grades in 7th gear. I've also found that if you put the transmission in manual shift mode and simply lock it into 7th gear again it has all the power it needs to pull up these grades in that gear. The engine just comes on boost and you feel the surge of torque you would expect from a turbocharged engine, but when the cruise control is engaged it almost feels like the engine will not make boost and it instead revs to try and make power. It's very strange and frankly it feels like the transmission is downshifting when it doesn't need to be, almost as if the programming for it was meant for a different engine or vehicle.

I find the transmission programming for the Seltos in general to be its weakest attribute. It feels a generation behind and displays a lot of dimwitted behavior. It will gear hunt constantly around town if you are close to one of it's pre-determined shift points and the throttle mapping feels like it was meant for an impatient teenager. Even the absolute minimum amount of throttle causes the car to accelerate on a flat rode at city speeds, it's nearly impossible to get it to maintain a steady rate of speed. So I end up having to take my foot on and off the pedal every few seconds to try to keep a steady speed. A modern car shouldn't have driver interface issues like this. This stuff has been worked out in cars for a very long time.

In general I think your impressions of the Seltos are pretty spot on. It's noisy, but not obnoxiously noisy and is pretty much on par with other vehicles in this class. The ride is firm but I have never felt it was harsh and I'm pretty picky about impact harshness from vehicle suspensions. The seats are not plush but they are quite comfortable for a "cheap" car. The electronic systems mostly work well. One glaring exception I would note is the light sensor for the auto headlights and dashboard dimming. It is too sensitive and does not have any sort of delay on it. If something casts a shadow on the sensor for even one second your instruments dim and the headlights turn on, then once the shadow passes everything will switch back. I've seen my dash instruments switch from bright to dim mode 5 times in the space of 10 seconds before. Just like the odd transmission behavior I find this be a glaring problem simply because this stuff has been solved in cars for so long, so why does it work so poorly on this 2021 model vehicle?

One comment about your being annoyed by the steering wheel reminder chime: the HDA mode will only engage if you set the cruise at exactly the speed limit as you pointed out, but it also engages the lane centering assist automatically as well. It only does this when HDA turns on, at other cruise speeds the lane centering is off by default, so when I see the HDA light come in I've gotten into the habit of just tapping the button with the steering wheel icon to turn the centering assist function off. Then it won't nag you about keeping your hands on the wheel. Of course it also isn't helping you steer anymore either, but honestly I find this function to be dubious. IMO it has one truly useful purpose, and that's for times when you need to take your hands off the wheel for a just a few seconds to open a water bottle or grab an item. It's great for that, but I can't see leaving it on all the time because the car has it's own idea about where it thinks the car should be in the lane and 80% of the time it feels like it is fighting you. Not worth the hassle.

Those are my thoughts after reading yours. I don't regret buying my Seltos, it feels like a good vehicle for the money but there are a few things about it that feel like "duh" things that just shouldn't be that way. My guess is that it's pieced together from parts of various other hyundai/kia vehicles sold around the globe and some of these components or systems are a generation behind such as the powertrain control module possibly. I think they got the basics of the car right though: it steers nicely and feels light on its feet. That last part is a welcome change from previous Hyundai products I've experienced that always had a "heavy footed" feel to their suspensions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your note as well. Being an old guy, I am intrigued by what these newer cars can (and can't) do and like to hear what the experience of others is.

- I'm not sure if we have the same noise or not or even if mine is transmission or, as mentioned, wheel bearing. One of the reasons I stick with Kias ands is the long powertrain warranty so I'm not especially worried about it. It's one more thing that the dealer doesn't have any idea about, but at least I wanted the nose to be on the record. Hopefully, we will all avoid the engine and transmission issues that are so common these days.

- that was an interesting comment about going to manual mode and shifting to 7th and leaving it there to avoid a lot of the downshifting. I assume that prevents using from Smart cruise control at that point, correct? The only manual shifting I did was a couple times when it seems like it was staying in 6th way too long, so I would urge it up to 7th and go back to automatic mode. Then again, at that point I think I was using the smart drive mode, and eventually gave up on that and just put it back into normal.

- one thing concerning smart cruise control that I did find out the hard way was when we were going down big mountains, smart cruise control would use the brake to keep you at the speed, but it would, I think, just leave the brake on and we did smell a burning smell once or twice. After that I did my own braking going down....

- I kind of feel like it's my moral duty too use at least the Lane Follow Assist, as it could come in very handy. However, in construction zones and on the windy mountain highways, I certainly got used to turning it off.

Take care.... DT
 

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It seems like a lot of these smart cruise control systems are not programmed to "save the brakes" in any way. Both this Seltos and my previous Mazda rode the brakes hard on a steep downhill grade. It makes more sense to me to cancel it and use engine braking from the manual shift mode to help slow the car down. Honestly the brakes in modern cars are amazing. If you drive them "old school" and take care of them they last 100,000 miles now because they're designed to take so much abuse these days.

The transmission behavior is bizarre to me. I truly believe that the TCM (transmission control module) in this car is meant for a non-turbo vehicle. I've never owned a turbocharged vehicle that behaves the way this one does on the highway where it feels like it doesn't want to make boost. The biggest benefit of modern turbo engines is the low-end torque that eliminates the need for lots of downshifting, but in this car that advantage is tossed out the window for no apparent reason.

I've had the car in manual gear mode with the smart cruise on, the system doesn't seem to mind you doing that. I've never left it this way while the smart cruise was slowing the car down though, that doesn't make sense, but my guess is if you did it would automatically downshift when the engine RPM reached the pre-determined minimum for each gear, usually 1,250RPM. Generally these systems won't let you do anything silly like stall the engine, the computer will override any manual mode before that happens.

Something else that interests me about the transmissions in these cars is the fact that there seems to be two distinctly different programming versions for it out there. Mine has the normal factory behavior, which is the "quick shift" DCT behavior, but people who complain that the transmission isn't smooth seem to sometimes get switched over to a different programming that slows the shift speed and clutch engagement rate way down in order to produce smoother shifts. The clutch almost seems to drag its engagement, as the engine RPM drops much more slowly with this programming. I would imagine this is overall a downgrade for the transmission, it might be smoother but it will wear out its clutches faster and would probably be prone to faster heat buildup too. I'm already surprised at how easily the transmission temperature can creep up in this car. If I had to drive in heavy traffic it would definitely stress me out as it seems a clutch overheat condition would be a matter of when and not if in that kind of traffic.
 

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It seems like a lot of these smart cruise control systems are not programmed to "save the brakes" in any way. Both this Seltos and my previous Mazda rode the brakes hard on a steep downhill grade. It makes more sense to me to cancel it and use engine braking from the manual shift mode to help slow the car down. Honestly the brakes in modern cars are amazing. If you drive them "old school" and take care of them they last 100,000 miles now because they're designed to take so much abuse these days.

The transmission behavior is bizarre to me. I truly believe that the TCM (transmission control module) in this car is meant for a non-turbo vehicle. I've never owned a turbocharged vehicle that behaves the way this one does on the highway where it feels like it doesn't want to make boost. The biggest benefit of modern turbo engines is the low-end torque that eliminates the need for lots of downshifting, but in this car that advantage is tossed out the window for no apparent reason.

I've had the car in manual gear mode with the smart cruise on, the system doesn't seem to mind you doing that. I've never left it this way while the smart cruise was slowing the car down though, that doesn't make sense, but my guess is if you did it would automatically downshift when the engine RPM reached the pre-determined minimum for each gear, usually 1,250RPM. Generally these systems won't let you do anything silly like stall the engine, the computer will override any manual mode before that happens.

Something else that interests me about the transmissions in these cars is the fact that there seems to be two distinctly different programming versions for it out there. Mine has the normal factory behavior, which is the "quick shift" DCT behavior, but people who complain that the transmission isn't smooth seem to sometimes get switched over to a different programming that slows the shift speed and clutch engagement rate way down in order to produce smoother shifts. The clutch almost seems to drag its engagement, as the engine RPM drops much more slowly with this programming. I would imagine this is overall a downgrade for the transmission, it might be smoother but it will wear out its clutches faster and would probably be prone to faster heat buildup too. I'm already surprised at how easily the transmission temperature can creep up in this car. If I had to drive in heavy traffic it would definitely stress me out as it seems a clutch overheat condition would be a matter of when and not if in that kind of traffic.
I haven’t been in many ultra-heavy-traffic situations with this car, but the one problematic moment was the drive-thru covid testing line that was almost two hours long. The transmission temp gauge got to one line below the overheat line and I found that putting the car into neutral helped it shed heat a little quicker… that being said, it’s not good. And I shouldn’t have run into that issue. If I wasn’t staring at that screen, I would have had problems.

Sport mode lets you stay in a gear a while longer to build boost (right around 3k if I remember correctly, I’ve been away from the car for a few days), but it becomes uncomfortable with that oddly timed clutch engagement around town. Lots of clunks and bumps while slowing down or getting going at low speeds. The faster you drive the Seltos, the more comfortable it is - but that’s just not the market for this car.

I end up keeping it in normal mode around town and switching over to sport as soon as I’m out of the 30mph zones. The K5 has some custom features that let you use sport steering and normal shifting simultaneously but I guess Kia decided we don’t need that in the Seltos. It’s all very strange to me as well
 
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