Kia dealers and customers looking for a Soul-size crossover with all-wheel drive have their answer: the Seltos.
It slots between the subcompact Soul hatchback and the compact Sportage crossover and will start in the low $20,000s.
The Seltos is on sale in markets such as South Korea and India. Until it was shown last week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Kia had not publicly said when or if the crossover would come stateside.
But with the U.S. market moving toward all shapes, sizes and prices for utility vehicles, the Seltos is a logical fit at the lower end of the market, where a value-packed crossover makes sense.
The Seltos, which will be Kia's sixth crossover in the U.S. market, is bound to help the brand's product mix. Through the first 10 months of this year, 55 percent of Kia's sales consisted of cars vs. a U.S. market in which 72 percent of deliveries are more profitable light trucks.
Kia said complete pricing for the Seltos will be released closer to its sale date in the first quarter of next year but that a base LX model with awd will start below $22,000, not including shipping. Likewise, a higher-trim S model with front-wheel drive and the base motor will come in at the same price point.
Michael Cole, president of Kia Motors America, said dealers were disappointed last year when they were shown the next-generation Soul without an awd option. "The question we got was: 'Where's the all-wheel drive? We thought we were getting an all-wheel-drive Soul.' And we said, don't worry, it's coming. But it won't be [a] Soul."
The Seltos comes with extensive standard features and can be loaded up on the higher trims with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and advanced safety systems that include a blind-spot monitor that can apply the brakes and return the vehicle to its lane in certain circumstances.
It starts with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that makes 146 hp and is mated to a continuously variable transmission. The optional turbocharged engine makes 175 hp and uses a dual-clutch automatic, Kia said.