In only its second year, the subcompact Kia Seltos has added a spiffy new Nightfall Turbo AWD edition replacing last year’s S Turbo model with an Ocean Blue exterior under a white roof with black roof rails, spoiler, white side mirror casings, lower door chrome and blacked-out theme for our test-drive.
It’s one of four different colored roof configurations adding eye-catching panache to the Nightfall Seltos profile, which sits above base trim LX, the sporty S, mid-range EX and below top-trim turbo-charged SX – all of which get upgraded standard driver safety aids for 2022.
For the frugal minded, according to Autonews.com, the Kia brand had the lowest average new vehicle sales price in the last quarter of 2021 ($29,992) when the average new car price of all vehicles topped $47,000.
Kia has 14 models, seven of which are SUVs, all with one of the best powertrain warranties among all SUVs – 10 years/100,000 miles. However, complimentary maintenance isn’t offered.
Aided by torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, handling is excellent with confident road grip atop 18-inch wheels, but the stiff ride can be rocky over rougher pavement.
Standard safety features added this year are automatic emergency braking, lane-centering with lane departure warning, automatic high-beams, blindspot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, but dynamic cruise control was missing. Navigation is now standard. Our tester had $570 in options for exterior paint and floor mats.
Seltos Nightfall uses a 1.6-liter turbo engine with good acceleration manipulated by a seven-speed automatic or manual slip/shift getting the most pep in Sport drive mode (there are also Normal and Smart modes.)
Downhill descent crawl assist helps handle mild off-roading with 7.2 inches ground clearance.
Seltos received four out of five stars in government crash tests.
Inside, the cabin is surprisingly spacious with adult-friendly reclinable rear seats and a generous cargo area that is among the best in the subcompact SUV class with folded rear seats. USB ports exist front and rear.
Fit and finish is strong and dimpled and patterned hard plastic trims provide a better ambiance. Seats are comfortable with Syn-tex leatherette and cloth insets.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen hosts Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, Sirius XM, and highly regarded UVO telematics. It is intuitive to use with clear graphics and wireless charging is now standard.
Competitors include Subaru Crosstrek, Honda HR-V, Kia Soul and Hyundai Kona needing options to compete with Seltos Nightfall’s standard features. Visors don’t extend, there is a spare tire, and wind noise is intrusive.
At a Glance
LIKES: Price, acceleration, looks, cabin/cargo space, safety, handling
DISLIKES: Wind noise, non-extendable visors, no dynamic cruise control
BOTTOM LINE: Seltos has found a growing niche within Kia’s line-up
Fact File: 2022 KIA Selto Nightfall Turbo AWD
1.6-liter, turbo, 4-cylinder
175-hp at 6,000 rpm
195-lbs.-ft. at 1,500 rpm
7-speed automatic/manual shift
25 mpg city and 30 mpg hwy
13.2-gallon tank, regular gas
0-60 in just under 7 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.