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Kia Seltos vs. Chevy Trailblazer

1. Comparison of Features

The Seltos only offers a 2-row setup and the Trailblazer can be optioned the same, but it also offers a 3rd row on lower trim levels that we don't really recommend. The Chevy also has more ground clearance in all forms compared to the Kia Soul (don't confuse this with the Seltos despite its confusing) which is what you will be directed to if you go to Kia's website and try to virtually build a Seltos. When it comes to 2-row interior space, the Trailblazer has more rear legroom and a bit more cargo space. At first glance, the Seltos seems more character-rich with available two-tone color seat options and a slightly more luxurious-looking interior design, but the Chevy's soft touch points and padded dashboard surfaces give it a quite premium interior feel when you look past the all-black fabric and plastic surfaces on the lower-end models. High trim Trailblazers have leather and a power-adjustable driver's seat, which is something you can't get in a Seltos. [1][2][3][4][5]. Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about Kia Seltos vs Chevy Trailblazer.

In the end, the design section is a toss-up that comes down to personal preference. Both crossovers look quite good for the segment and it will come down to the specifics for people funneling information through to their wallets. 1-0 points for the Kia given the availability of larger wheels on the two-tone paint scheme.

Kia's spec sheet lists generous ground clearance figures even with the Seltos in its base form, ranging from 7.8-8.0 inches regardless of whether it's front or all-wheel drive. This makes it look like a more rugged and off-road capable choice than it really is, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Trailblazer has 7.9 inches of ground clearance with the FWD model and 8.6 inches with AWD. Both models also have roof rail variants with a two-tone option available in higher trim levels. Step-up Seltos models have 18-inch wheels, while Chevy offers 17 or 18-inch wheels on the Trailblazer.

Overall, the Seltos comes off as more rugged, while the Trailblazer adopts a sleeker, more modern design. Within its 173.2-inch footprint, the Seltos effectively uses a mix of sizes and shapes to create a visually interesting design. The Trailblazer feels a bit more anonymous in this regard. A quick look at the dimensions shows that the Chevy is about the same width but 3.5 inches longer than the Kia.

1.1. Exterior Design

Chevy Trailblazer The Chevrolet Trailblazer is the rebirth of both a popular and long-standing nameplate in Chevrolet history. The new 2021 Chevy Trailblazer actually took multiple leaps in the right direction compared to its predecessors. Chevy offers five different trim levels for the Trailblazer with broad price ranges for their most affordable to most expensive models. The L trim is the most affordable available model at $19,000 flat. This exact price, however, only gets you the base concept, including no added options, no all-wheel-drive compatibility, and a dull interior. The more costly LS model is where you tenants the preferred package add-ons and only goes up $100 more than the L beginning model. The slightly more extravagant models, however, start at the LT at $24,595 and go to the ACTIV at $25,600 and the RS at $25,400. All of which offer unique packages of added features that make them more desirable than the last.

Kia Seltos The Kia Seltos is a three-month-old vehicle. Kia offers four different trim levels for the Kia Seltos. Those trim levels include the LX ($21,990), S ($21,990), EX ($25,290), and the SX ($27,890). The differences between all four models include all-wheel-drive as a standard drivetrain for the S Turbo and other optional drivetrains for the other models, except the LX model which only has the base concept. The middle to top tier of models is where you get the most bang for your buck. This is because the EX ($25,290) and SX ($27,890) are closely priced together, and as seen in the chart above, the SX offers a lot more than the EX, making it a more viable option if you're deciding between the two. And if you are able to only afford an LX or S but want all the premium features of the higher models, then the optional packages that Kia offers for the S model may prove this option as a better choice, which include the $1,500 optional S Sunroof Package or the $1,700 S Two-Tone Package.

1.2. Interior Comfort

The Trailblazer is the latest Chevy to embrace the mark of the group "its interior sucks but it's reasonably priced and has good fuel economy", and incidentally, it's a different group from Seltos' intended buyers. Disappointing interior materials are a common complaint for the type of tweeter who appreciates car ingenuity from famous names like MidsizeSUV Steve, but are essentially irrelevant to the cute BAB3 class that a couple of years later when it's showtime is the perfect cutoff for current Parental Unit models of many varieties. A lot of that significant winter BP will go for a setup to forget about it then. However, the Trailblazer starts at a fairly attractive newly made translation price (MSRP of $19,205 at the time with no special or passer-by checking sales). The so-called ACTIV trim replicates some of the more adventurous styling cues of body-on-frame Blazers on what is essentially a modified Sonic platform and in many ways has an interior that is a complete vibe upgrade to the base trims that cater to the slightly older sixteen-to-twenties demographic. Older people of all later days will be thrilled to find a link for their spectacle retinas on almost every higher trim Trailblazer offering, in the conveniently renamed L/100km German-speaking territories. A fully grown adult will find much more room in here than behind the base trim Wrangler has recently rented from the rental air.

In addition, there's Kia's optional sunroof, which is really full length. However, Kia's interior is perhaps a bit too dark, both in comparison to the Trailblazer and overall for our taste, as there's an abundance of dark trim even if one avoids the overly named Nightfall Edition package. The upholstery has a chance to lighten this up, and I found the grip patterns of the standard fabric seats to be inviting, possibly another plus for "soccer parents." Kia's mixed material seat covers are also out of the ordinary for this price point and a source of class for the type of cautious parents who put their kids on the soccer fields on weekends. Talliebeth mentions she expected a different connection with "Kia interior" after matches well spent renting a Sportage in her Missoula days, a few worlds away from the Seltos. The pushbutton moves to Sportage-spec and better compact GDPs than the higher Seltos trims make the new kid a much more affordable option for a lot of car buyers out there. That makes the price of denying certain Seltos's interior punctuating the universal statement bought Caravan forced for halfers during the slow time of year. Fewer swap events can't be bad.

Kia Seltos's interior is a bit more firmly connected with uniqueness, and it's a champ in this perspective for a few reasons. Inside space is bigger, and although the top-line Trailblazer Premier is about the same size, the Seltos feels roomier and more open. The Chevy has more back-seat headroom (39.4 inches to 38.4 inches), but the Kia has over an inch more back-seat legroom. Kia's new small hybrid is also comfortable for adults in both the front and back, which is a plus compared to its corporate cousin, the also new second-generation Chevrolet Trailblazer.

1.3. Technology and Connectivity

Kia offers all trims of the Seltos an intelligent variable transmission known as IVT, a feature that uses the most efficient shift points tailored to the driving conditions of the owner. The S trim comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine capable of an estimated gas mileage of 27/31 mpg. This engine pairs Bluetooth wireless technology, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay to execute all hands-free call, text, and media functions by the touch of a button on the steering wheel. Call or text functions come with a voice recognition feature, while incoming texts are displayed and read out on the trip computer for enhanced hands-free functionality. A rear camera display is standard on all trims of the Seltos, while the LX and S trims use it in conjunction with steering wheel-integrated guidelines for added driver assistance. The vehicle information system on this display provides ease and accessibility to vehicle information for the driver. This includes the currently engaged drive mode, oil temperature, AWD torque distribution, tire pressure, and user settings. The GT-Line and EX trims use Dynamax AWD, which includes a center locking differential, an increased torque allocation to the rear wheels, and torque vectoring between the rear wheels. This system uses an AWD gauge on the UVO display for a quick glance at the torque distribution between all 4 wheels.

Kia has a tech-savvy approach to its automobiles, which is reflected in the Kia Seltos, the trendy small SUV. Copious software and hardware features make it easy to stay connected and safe while exploring city streets or continental trails. Standard on S, GT Line, and EX trims is the UVO link infotainment system exhibited on a ten-inch touchscreen display. With various features standard on the UVO link system, Kia aims to give drivers an uncompromising experience in connectivity, service, and peace of mind while on the road. These include rear occupant alert, notification alerts/real-time maintenance scheduling, smart speaker integration along with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Google Maps. Lastly, with a complimentary one-year subscription, drivers receive 24-hour roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics, and remote commands.

2. Performance and Engine Options

Chevrolet has yet to officially release information regarding the different Trailblazer models and what configurations of engine and transmission will be available. However, they have announced that the base L model and LS model will have a 1.2-liter engine, and the RS and AWD Activ models will have a 1.3-liter engine. Pricing for the different Trailblazer models will likely be less expensive than the Kia Seltos, as the standard 2020 Trailblazer has a starting price of $19,000. Configuration of different models and options using pricing has yet to be released. Common in the past to what most models of the Kia Seltos offer, Chevrolet has announced that the 1.2-liter engine has the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), and the 1.3-liter engine has a 9-speed automatic transmission. Coming up to what may be a difference to the Kia Seltos, Chevrolet has announced that the Trailblazer will have an available AWD system for the Activ version of the Trailblazer. This could likely create interesting competition for the Kia Seltos, which also has AWD available, essentially being an option for every model. Different engine configurations and options could very well be similar to Kia Seltos.

Paths are typically more commonly known as the different types of drivetrains that a vehicle offers and in most cases are linked with different engine options. All Kia Seltos models offer an engine of some sort, which means that all Kia Seltos models come with some configuration of the drivetrain. The most common configuration of the drivetrain for the Kia Seltos is the IVT paired with the 2.0-liter engine. This combination is available for the S, LX, and EX models. The GT-Line has a similar drivetrain configuration which offers the IVT; however, it has the 1.6T engine. The only other configuration available is for the SX and S Turbo AWD models, which offer a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission paired with the 1.6T engine.

Kia Seltos offers two engine options: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine which offers 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine which offers 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Most Kia Seltos models offer the Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT). However, the Seltos SX and Seltos S with All-Wheel Drive (AWD) provide the 1.6T with a 7-speed Quick-Shift transmission.

2.1. Powertrain Choices

It’s very clear that with the rough history of the TrailBlazer and GM’s dedication to their truck platform, that the TB will have a pretty solid powertrain. There is no official word yet, but it is widely believed that the Seltos will share powertrains with the Hyundai Kona, meaning a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine on the base model which, while not overly exciting, is still pretty powerful for a base engine. This engine is capable of 147 lb/ft of torque which should be plenty for the lightweight Seltos, which is also expected to receive a fuel-efficient Eco model. A turbocharged Kona Seltos is also a possibility with a 175-200HP 1.6L turbo motor. This would be the preferable powertrain for the Seltos. The TB will likely come with the same engines as the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain. These include a 170HP 1.5L turbo 4 and a 252HP 2.0L turbo 4. There is also a rumored 2.8L I4 diesel engine. All of these engines are no doubt very powerful, but the fuel economy will just not be there, especially when adding 4WD. The old TB was known for having a rather large powertrain, and this was a significant contributor to its very low fuel efficiency and resale value. The heavy powertrain also hindered the reliability of the TB as the I6 engine had many issues with burning oil and had a class-action lawsuit against GM.

2.2. Fuel Efficiency

The Kia Seltos comes with a variety of engine options that cater to the fuel efficiency market, though the horsepower on all engines is low compared to the Trailblazer with superior fuel efficiency. The base 2.0L 4-cylinder provides a solid 29 combined MPG, which is the same as the more powerful 1.3L inline-3. However, the Trailblazer provides a very powerful 155hp with 174lb-ft of torque to outdo the Kia Seltos; the base Trailblazer 1.2L Turbo provides a solid 31 combined MPG which is already better than the Kia's fuel efficiency. The even more powerful 1.3L inline-3 that matches Kia's base fuel efficiency provides an even higher combined 31 MPG on the all-wheel drive option and a whopping 32 MPG on the front-wheel drive option, the more powerful, the more fuel efficient. If we compare engines, the results are even worse for Kia; Trailblazer's 155hp with 174lb-ft of torque beats the Kia Seltos 147hp with 132lb-ft of torque. Moving onto the larger engine options, the Kia Seltos X-Line provides a 161hp 2.0L 4-cylinder with on-demand 4-wheel drive is only capable of 27 MPG regardless of front or all-wheel drive. The Trailblazer 9-speed 1.3L inline-3 with CVT is capable of a combined 28 MPG on front-wheel drive and 26 combined MPG on all-wheel drive. The 9-speed automatic 1.3L inline-3 is capable of 29 combined MPG and a 30 combined MPG on front-wheel drive; again, the more powerful Trailblazer engine options still manage to outdo Kia fuel efficiency-wise.

3. Safety and Driver Assistance

Illegal use of mobile phones while driving continues to be a prevalent issue, and it is fortunate that both the Seltos and Trailblazer come with Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming capabilities across all their grades. It is important for drivers to familiarize themselves with their surroundings before setting off, and the Seltos provides an edge in this area with rear parking sensors and a reverse camera available on all grades, features not available on the base and LS Trailblazer.

Kia offers its Drive Wise suite of safety features across all its Seltos grades, which include many technologies not available on the Trailblazer, such as forward collision avoidance assist, lane departure warning, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, and hill-start assist control. Trailblazer LT and ACTIV grades feature a StabiliTrak system and regular cruise control; however, it is not until the top-spec Trailblazer that these technologies are upgraded to provide the driver with the same level of safety equipment available on the Seltos.

In addition to a strong foundation, active safety features have become an important consideration for new car shoppers. Both the Seltos and Trailblazer feature automatic emergency braking as standard equipment. The Seltos LX comes with additional features such as lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and auto high beam, which are not available on the base model Trailblazer. Nevertheless, the Trailblazer may still have an edge as adaptive cruise control is available optionally on the top-spec Trailblazer, whereas the Seltos does not offer this feature.

3.1. Active Safety Features

The 2021 Chevy Trailblazer can be said to initially start the path of safety for a vehicle in its class by offering 6 standard airbags, which matches the total number of airbags in a Seltos. Also standard in a Trailblazer are features such as a rear vision camera and rear seat reminder, but it does not have the luxury of lower anchors and tethers for children in the rear seating positions. The strength of the structure of a Trailblazer is also accentuated with the use of high-strength steel, but this is where the similarity starts and ends with a Seltos. IIHS testing of the Trailblazer has garnered the vehicle a rating of Generally Acceptable in small overlap front collision testing. Additionally, there is no mention or available evidence showing any active driver assistance capabilities for a Trailblazer. In conclusion, the Seltos, with its abundance of passive and active safety features, has set the bar higher than ever for a vehicle of its class and has succeeded in doing so.

Kia Seltos boasts of an untold amount of safety and driver assistance features, especially with its advanced proactive safety technologies. In the Seltos, you will be surrounded by airbags - 6 in total, with dual front advanced airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, and full-length curtain airbags. Lower anchors and tethers for children, also known as LATCH, is an available feature that is designed to ensure easy and proper installation of child seats. Top it all off with a very strong structure that has a special emphasis on the hot stamping of advanced high-strength steel to ensure the safety of the occupants inside. But the cream of the crop is Kia Seltos' offering of advanced driver assistance capabilities with the Kia Drive Wise Package. These features are: Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping and Lane Following Assists, High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist including Rear Cross Traffic Avoidance Assist, and Smart Cruise Control with the Stop and Go Feature. With very few vehicles in its class offering this level of safety features, Kia does not disappoint in this respect. This is evident in the fact that the 2021 Kia Seltos has received the IIHS Top Safety Pick, which is the best-ever rating for any Kia vehicle.

3.2. Crash Test Ratings

The safety of a vehicle is largely determined by the crash test ratings it receives from the IIHS and NHTSA. Therefore, knowing how safe the Kia Seltos and Chevrolet Trailblazer are can allow potential buyers to make a more informed decision. The following will outline the crash test ratings of these vehicles and will use this information to help determine if their discontinuation of SUVs was at the cost of consumer safety.

Safety is a key purchase consideration for all drivers. People want to safeguard themselves and their loved ones on the road. SUVs have long been considered safe vehicles due to the protection they offer in the event of a crash. However, a sudden shift in consumer demands from SUVs to crossovers has occurred in recent years. This is mainly due to the benefits of superior fuel economy and better handling. Crossovers are essentially the same as traditional SUVs but are built upon a car chassis as opposed to a truck chassis. This gives them better performance for day-to-day driving. In response to the popularity of crossovers, auto manufacturers such as Kia and Chevrolet have ceased production of traditional SUVs like the Borrego and Trailblazer and have shifted their focus to crossovers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles as good, acceptable, marginal, or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests, a roof strength test, plus head restraints and seats for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts frontal, side, and rollover tests. It also has a 5-star safety rating system (5 stars is the highest possible rating) and provides an overall vehicle score.

4. Pricing and Value

The Trailblazer has Holden's MyLink infotainment system with an 8" touchscreen and rearview camera. It also offers active safety technology and features a noise and vibration-optimized cabin with comfort in mind.

The Seltos has a long list of safety features such as lane keep assist, driver attention alert, electronic parking brake, rearview camera with dynamic parking guidelines, and rear parking sensors (but no front sensors). It also offers a comfortable interior with leather-appointed seats, steering wheel, and shift lever, and is a relaxing drive with its multi-link rear suspension.

The LT Trailblazer is $1000 more expensive at $33,490 and has the same 2.0L engine and CVT transmission but has the option of all-wheel drive for $35,990, which also includes a 1.6L turbo diesel engine and 9-speed automatic transmission. A huge bonus of towing power with a 2-tonne tow rating. The price difference isn't large for models that are offering different engine and drivetrain options. Both vehicles are 5-star safety rated.

At a base price of $32,490, the Sport Plus Seltos offers a 2.0L petrol engine with a CVT automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Efficiency is at a high with idle stop & go, a fuel consumption of 6.8L/100km (combined), and 17" alloy wheels. Under $40,000 for a good-looking, modern SUV that's going to be efficient on fuel is quite hard to come across in today's market.

The amount of standard and optional features on both vehicles is huge. Ranging from different models and specifications, depending on what you're after, whether that be on-road comfort or off-road power, there's plenty to choose from. We will take a look at the Seltos Sport Plus and Trailblazer LT as a comparison.

The Kia is the bargain buy starting at $25,990 drive-away for the Seltos S with Safety Pack front-wheel drive. That's actually not a bad price for the quality and size of car you're getting in return. The most expensive Seltos is $41,990 for a top spec GT-Line all-wheel drive. The price selection on the all-wheel drive Chevrolet Trailblazer compared to the Seltos is quite large, which could be a decider for some. Ranging from $45,990 to $49,490, it is an increase in price but you get what you pay for: a versatile SUV with good towing and off-roading capabilities.

Kia and Chevrolet have credibility in providing affordable cars which are big on features. There's an affordable starting price and drive-away pricing to sweeten the deal. Not too much more you could really ask for, right?

4.1. Base Price Comparison

Identifying something important mentioned in the introduction, the Kia Seltos offers more value than the Chevy. With a price tag of $350 more than the most affordable Trailblazer, the Seltos comes with incredible value, offering consumers more features with a marginal increase in price. When comparing the base models of both the Seltos and the Trailblazer, Kia just simply offers more.

Both the Seltos and the Trailblazer start with a manufacturer's suggested retail price below $22,000, but that's where the similarities end. Although both models have three different trims available, the most affordable Trailblazer starts at $19,000, $350 less than the base model Seltos. This price difference continues as the most expensive Seltos is the SX AWD at $27,890, still less expensive than the under equipped Premier at $26,595.

4.2. Standard and Optional Features

Chevrolet has, to this point, only released content on the Activ trim for the Trailblazer. But what we can see is that even the base model comes standard with some impressive features. Buyers will get a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, as well as a rear vision camera. The most notable feature, however, is the active noise cancellation which Chevrolet claims as a first for the segment. Now, this more than likely will be part of Chevrolet's cost-cutting plan to still step away as the cheapest subcompact SUV on the GM VSS-F platform.

A fully loaded Seltos SX comes in at just under $30,000 and adds the 10.25-inch display seen in the 2020 Forte as well as an eight-speaker Bose sound system. All models equipped with the AWD system will get the center locking differential feature.

Kia Seltos enters the market with a bang by offering a whole host of features irrespective of the trim level. The base LX comes complete with an impressive array of equipment. The exterior features projector headlights, roof rails, and 17-inch alloy wheels. On the inside, there's an 8-inch touchscreen with rearview camera, and the full suite of power options. The S Turbo builds off this with hill assist control, push button start with keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob. Moving on to the EX, the Seltos gets more premium with LED taillights, a power moonroof, and a quite impressive array of driver assists. Buyers bumping up to the Seltos S 1.6T will be impressed with the blind spot monitor, and the 7-inch color supervision gauge cluster. Learn more about: Crossover competitive analysis.


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