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Kia Sportage vs. Seltos 2023

1. Introduction

Kia has always been known to be budget friendly and they stayed true to this reputation with the pricing of both these vehicles. The $1,400 difference may be a factor for some buyers on a tight budget and could be the deciding point in choosing to pick the cheaper Seltos. The Seltos actually shares the same platform as a different vehicle, the Kia Soul, and offers a little bit more size and an enhanced rugged look unlike its platform friend. With the price being so close, it's important to dig deeper and analyze what you would get with the additional money to purchase the Sportage.

The comparison between Kia Sportage and Seltos 2023 required in this essay intends to provide the potential buyers an extensive analysis of both cars and help them choose the most suitable one. To compare these cars, we used current information about the 2023 model of Sportage and matched it up with the upcoming Kia Seltos. Both cars fall into the crossover/SUV category and are designed to provide extra space while being able to tackle on an array of different terrains. The Kia Sportage starts at a base MSRP of $23,990 and on the other hand the Seltos starts slightly lower at an MSRP of $22,590.

2. Exterior Features

Seltos comes with a more rugged and tall-looking design. It definitely has a more traditional SUV look compared to the previous generation and the Sportage. It sits taller and stands smaller compared to Sportage. This car is also wider and longer than its previous generation. It comes with 16-18 inch wheels depending on the variant. Optional dual-tone colors make the Seltos look very unique. The front end is very unique, it has actually gotten many opinions from people, some love it, some hate it. Seltos has a crown jewel type headlamp design and 3-dot type LED DRL. The design language at the rear is an integrated rear skid plate and it has an elongated one-piece taillamp. This actually misses out on the traditional tailgate and it opens just the rear windshield just like it has been shown in newer Land Rover SUVs. Overall, both cars have a very unique design and look attractive in their own way.

2023 Kia Sportage holds outstanding exterior features that are unique on their own. The side profile of the car is quite appealing to the eye. The car is wider and longer than the previous generation, but it is shorter. The rear end is quite unique as well. It is very simplistic yet has a unique design to it. The Kia badge on the rear end actually hides the rearview camera. Sportage has side indicators on the fender of the car, this is very unique and not many cars in this segment, even luxury cars, have these kinds of indicators. The car comes with 17-19 inch wheels depending on the variant, and they fill the wheel well quite nicely. The front end is probably the star of the car. The car comes with a new design language which Kia called 'Opposites United'. The unique headlights on the car are connected to the grille, which is also unique in its own way. The headlight cluster is not connected via the light bar, it is just the DRL and the High Beam lights that connect to the grille. The base model comes with projector halogens and no fog lights, but all of the other variants come with LEDs and have an option for Ice Cube type Design Fog lights.

2.1. Sportage

The 2023 Kia Sportage features the Sportage Premium Package. This package will make your 2023 Kia Sportage have a special and more elegant look because the package includes some additional accessories such as: - 17" Alloy Wheels - Rear Spoiler - Leather Gear Shift Knob - Dual Zone Automatic Climate Control - Fender Garnishes - Power Folding Outside Mirrors - AM/FM/MP3 6-Speaker Audio System - Cargo Mat - Carpet Floor Mats - Lighter Cargo Net

The new 2023 Kia Sportage comes with an impressive design. It is also way more sleek and futuristic than the previous variant. With a Tiger-nose grille that looks astonishingly incorporated with the LED daytime running lights, which are positioned just like the eyes, and the connection between the grille and the headlight makes it look like a sheet of metal is covering the front side of the car. Talking about the dimensions of the car, the 2023 Kia Sportage is slightly longer and wider compared to the previous model. This one also comes with a slick wheel design wrapped in the all-new terra-spoke tires from Goodyear. This wheel design is carefully chosen in order to make the car look more compact and tough. The bustle on the rear side is provided with a rear spoiler equipped with an LED high-mount tailgate stop light that gives a sporty impression of the car.

2.2. Seltos

The Seltos also has options for a two-tone roof which is available on the S 1.6L and S 2.0L trims.

The Seltos features LED headlights, DRLs, and fog lights on the SX Turbo and S 1.6L trims, along with premium light bar taillights for an aggressive and modern design. On the EX and S 2.0L trims, it will have projector headlights, and incandescent bulb rear lighting.

The S Turbo and S 1.6L have a metal-look skid plate, and the EX has a silver skid plate. The LX and S 2.0L have painted silver lower bumper with black skid plate accents.

The Seltos comes with three different grille designs with premium silver and piano black finishes (unique to each trim level).

3. Interior Features

The interior of the all-new 2023 Kia Sportage is just as impressive as the exterior. This model car comes in 7 different colors. The seats are wrapped in quality leather and the driver's seat is 8-way power adjustable. There are many seating options to manipulate the interior to accommodate your needs. The rear seats are 60/40 split-fold, which allows better cargo space capabilities, which will be touched upon later. Dual-zone automatic climate control is a standard feature on all models, which is always a plus, and a 3-step ventilation system is an option to consider on the top two models for the front seats. Located in the center console are the cup holders and USB charging outlets, and a 115V power inverter to keep everyone's devices powered up. In the rear for the rear passengers, there are also integrated cup holders into the center console and a back of console storage tray. The driver's area is really the main investment into this car, given that the steering wheel is a 3-spoke leather-wrapped tilt and telescoping wheel. There is also an option to consider a heated wheel, display the audio controls, as well as Bluetooth hands-free controls. A new digital meter cluster is a standard feature on all models, as well as a new infotainment system design with an 8" touch screen monitor that features standard AM/FM/SiriusXM capabilities, wireless Apple CarPlay and Auto Android compatibility, and a rearview camera. The sky's the limit for the top model as it features a 10.25" monitor and a sound system upgrade to Bose premium sound with 12 speakers. Owners of the new Sportage will not be let down at all with these impressive features coming standard and/or optional.

3.1. Sportage

But the new Sportage really shines in its range of technological features. All models come standard with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, a handy feature often costed as an optional extra in many other vehicles. Other standard technological features include automatic headlights and a smart key with keyless entry. The Sportage mid-range and high-range models are installed with a smart liftgate, a feature unique to its segment, and for the top-of-the-line Limited model, driver convenience is enhanced with an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and rain-sensing wipers. A high-resolution supervision cluster exists in the high and top-of-the-range models, providing the driver with a clear and sharp display of the trip computer.

The new Kia Sportage 2023 has plenty to boast about when it comes to interior features. With highly advanced and innovative technology throughout, the Sportage has taken on a new air of luxury. A beautifully crafted center console and dashboard provide features such as a push-start button and a touch-screen for music, climate control, and navigation systems. All Sportage models are fitted with an MP3 compatible stereo, along with an iPod connection and Bluetooth functionality. As a bonus, the top-of-the-line Sportage Limited is fitted with a premium audio system and radio functionality. In terms of comfort, both front and back seat passengers are well accommodated with plenty of knee and headroom, and for the driver, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel makes for easy adjustment. Other comfort features for all models include illuminated vanity mirrors, plenty of cabin lighting, a cooled glovebox, and a center armrest/storage compartment.

3.2. Seltos

The Seltos features a 2-tier dashboard, with a horizontal shelf under the main dash for a more separated feel compared to the Sportage. It still has a similar steering wheel and driver gauge setup to the Sportage, with a large amount of steering wheel button controls and a simple and SUV traditional gauge cluster. The Seltos actually features a mix of analog and digital components, which is rather rare in modern vehicles. It comes with a standard 8-inch multimedia unit or optional 10.25-inch unit. The larger 10.25-inch unit GPS system has features such as split screen to view different functions at the same time and expanded Bluetooth capability. Like the Sportage, the Seltos will come with Android Auto and Apple Carplay, with the larger screen unit having the capability for wireless connection. Audio is provided with a standard 6-speaker system with the option for Bose speakers.

The Kia Seltos shares the same platform and thus has similar dimensions to the Kia Sportage, but comes in a smaller package. It has a 3.1-inch shorter wheelbase, is 8 inches shorter in overall length, and only 1.8 inches narrower. The reduction in size from the Sportage makes the Seltos less practical overall in terms of interior space. It still has a similar design philosophy with a dash that has a strong horizontal theme, focusing on a wide aspect. A high center console and long armrests add to the driver-focused design. However, the Seltos has a more stylized and less rugged interior design compared to the all-new Sportage. This is especially apparent in the rear passenger area of the vehicle.

3.3. Comparison

Technology features are much the same between the two cars, both offering an audio system, aircon, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, trip computer, and Bluetooth with the higher-grade Seltos offering those features plus a push-button start, climate control, and a rearview camera which is present regardless of the trim level of the Sportage. One feature which separates the two is a panoramic sunroof being offered for the Seltos but not the Sportage.

Sportage offers an interior where the center console is angled towards the driver, putting the controls within easy reach. The Seltos one is more upright and tall, so a lot can be said about vehicle dynamics for the two. Another big difference occurs in the placement of the shifter, the Sportage opts for the more modern style of a shifter located on the center console while the Seltos still uses a more traditional shifter found on the steering column. Both interiors appear to differ dependent on trim level, for example there are higher end cloth seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift for the Sportage, but that still remains to be seen if it will be included with the 2011 facelift.

4. Performance and Safety

The Sportage will have a single engine option. The engine is a four-cylinder 2.5L which produces 187 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. That is a lower output compared to the current generation base engine, which is a 2.4L producing 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, and significantly less than the outgoing optional 2.0L turbo engine. The Seltos offered the choice of two engines - a 2.0L and a 1.6L. The 2.0L four-cylinder produced 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque and was offered on the LX, S, and EX trim levels. The 1.6L turbo engine, which produced 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, was an optional engine on the S and EX trims and was standard on the Seltos SX. The combined options of engines between the two models is a different approach, as said the Sportage limits the buyer to a single engine option but the Seltos did offer a choice and a more powerful engine on its top-of-range SX trim. The Sportage will have an all-new transmission, moving from the current 6-speed automatic to an 8-speed automatic. The vehicle is also more powerful than the current generation and also has a 113 lb weight advantage. This means that the new car will still be more powerful and more efficient. Starting from the base model, the FWD 2.5L engine will have fuel economy of 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway. Step up to the S, and for similar performance but with more kit, you get fuel economy of 24/30 for the FWD model and 22/26 on the AWD model. The top-spec SX Turbo AWD model is the same price as the top-spec 2022 SX and is rated at 22 mpg city/26 mpg highway. So in terms of efficiency, there is a marginal gain at the same money. The Seltos' fuel economy varies depending on the trim and engine. The 2.0L engine is the most efficient, with FWD models returning 29/35 mpg and AWD models getting 27/31 mpg. This is quite an improvement for the FWD models, which has gains of up to 3 mpg city and 5 mpg highway compared to the same engine on the current Soul. AWD models have the same city efficiency but up 1 mpg gaining 4 mpg on the highway. The naturally aspirated engine is tried to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and the AWD system is the same as that used by the current Kona. Step up to the 1.6T engine, and the fuel economy takes a hit despite having more power and torque. AWD models are the same as the 2.0L, but it is quite inefficient for FWD models with 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway. This engine for the Seltos is essentially the same as that used by the current Hyundai Tucson, tried to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with 25 mpg city/30 mpg highway with FWD models and 24 mpg city/29 mpg highway with AWD models. This means that the Seltos has a very efficient base model, but those after more power from the 1.6T will have to sacrifice efficiency.

4.1. Sportage

In the Sportage, Kia introduced the Dynamax AWD system, a full-time 4-wheel drive system which comes with a locking differential and high and low gear settings. This makes the Sportage more capable off-road, but something to note is that the low gear setting is a feature often left out of standard SUVs and is usually found on more hardcore 4-wheel drive vehicles. Also included is Kia's new UVO intelligence telematics system. This real-time communication system allows you to get on-demand weather forecasts and traffic conditions, as well as remote start your vehicle and control the climate control system through your smartphone. Unfortunately, 2017 was the final year of production for the Kia Sportage, and the new and improved Sportage was not released in Canada. Therefore, this will be the last review of a new vehicle for the Sportage. The base model engine is powered by a 2.4L 181 horsepower engine with 175 lb-ft of torque. The highest level SX turbo comes with a 240 horsepower, 260 lb-ft 2.0L turbo engine. The Dynamax AWD system comes standard on all models except for the base model. The goal of the all-new 4th generation Sportage was to become a leader in the compact SUV segment, and not much effort was put into making the vehicle a performer or improving its off-road capabilities. For performance and safety, the 4th generation Kia Sportage is rated above average. With the power and torque offered by the two new engines, the Sportage can accelerate and pass other vehicles in its class competently. The inclusion of the Dynamax AWD system also gives the vehicle better traction, especially in on-road situations. High and low gear settings offered by the AWD system improve the vehicle's off-road capabilities, albeit probably not fully utilized by a regular consumer. The UVO intelligence telematics system offers a very broad range of services, and with remote start and climate control features being something rarely seen in many vehicles.

4.2. Seltos

In terms of safety, the Seltos is stacked with intuitive safety features and AEB, Lane keep assist, and driver attention alert are standard across the range. Other features mentioned earlier in this article, including big car LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, large brake calipers and discs, a spacious cabin, and large boot space are all features that contribute to the safety and practicality of the vehicle. New safety features such as blind spot detection and an around view monitor are available in higher spec Sport+ and GT-Line models. However, the main safety disadvantage for the Seltos is crash test safety compared to its bigger brother, the Sportage, which will be outlined in the comparison section. (An et al., 2024)

When it comes to performance and safety in the 2023 Seltos, the small SUV has a focus on quality and build over outright performance. The new Seltos sees a choice of a 2.0L 4-cylinder MPI engine or a 1.6L turbo GDI engine. The 2.0L MPI is FWD only and puts out 117 kW @ 6200 and 204 Nm @ 2400-6200. The 2.0L is available in the S, Sport and Sport+ models and is coupled to a new generation CVT. It replaces the old torque converter auto seen in these models, probably with hopes of gaining fuel economy and emissions benefits. The pre-existing 1.6T engine is AWD only and remains in the GT-Line model, putting out the same power and torque figures as its predecessor, 130 kW @ 5500 and 265 Nm @ 1500-4500. It is still coupled with a 6-speed automatic for this engine. The Seltos is known for its fantastic fuel economy and legendary Kia reliability. While the powerful 1.6L turbo engine offers performance that is above average for a vehicle in this class, the other engine option and FWD will have performance lower than the Kia Sportage with AWD and the powerful 2.4L engine. The new CVT may offer a little more smoothness and efficiency in the 2.0L Seltos, and the automatic transmission will likely offer better reliability and efficiency compared to the old 1.6T DCT combo for the GT-Line. But overall, the Seltos lacks the performance options for those who have a desire for the fun and power from a more upmarket, larger, or performance-oriented vehicle.

4.3. Comparison

In the case of comparing the performance of the Sportage and the Seltos, it is pretty likely that both cars will be using the same powertrain and drivetrain as they are the same car under the skin. As such, the 2.0L 142kW/Mt Torque diesel engine available in the Sportage will likely be available in the Seltos, although likely in limited model ranges. With the introduction of the R series Diesel Seltos in Australia, there would likely be some increase in off-the-line power and torque in the Seltos. It is likely this engine will be available in all North America, UK, and Australia. In New Zealand and Kia's home country, Korea, there may be G series engines or Smartstream powertrains. The Seltos, being a smaller car, is likely to have superior acceleration and fuel economy when compared to the Sportage. This is due to its lighter weight than its larger sibling. This would mean that the Seltos engine would be more efficient in getting it up to speed and in stopping, thanks to physics and the Seltos' shorter stopping distance. Both cars use a FWD drivetrain with an AWD option available so that they can be marketed as a 'true SUV' to western buyers. However, in other parts of the world, they will likely be sold as eco-friendly 2WD vehicles, with the AWD versions being pushed using safety and capability, just as the Sportage AWD is in AU/NZ. This will be a smart move for Kia as it provides the option of AWD in more price-sensitive segments in a time where SUVs with AWD are predominantly found to be out of people's budgets.


An, S., Park, J., Kim, H., Kang, H., & Beck, D. (2024). An Ergonomic Study on the Operation Method and In-Vehicle Location of an Automotive Electronic Gearshift. Applied Sciences. mdpi.com

Brazeau, A., Denoncourt, J. C., Lefrançois, N., Tremblay, V., Viau, M. A., Pelchat, J., & Berdah, C. THE RISE OF LIGHT-DUTY TRUCK IN CANADA: REVERSING THE TREND. equiterre.org

Kia Sportage vs. Seltos 2023

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