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2022 Kia Sportage vs Seltos

2022 Kia Sportage vs Seltos

2022 Sportage vs Seltos - How Do They Stack Up? What are the differences?

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with options when browsing for a new SUV to buy. In a saturated market such as this, in which SUVs of all sizes are all trying to one-up each other, it is hard to know which vehicle to choose. The 2022 Kia Sportage and Kia Seltos are two siblings that go head-to-head quite extensively.

The 2022 Kia Sportage offers a cozy ride quality from its comfort-tuned suspension, and its cabin is undoubtedly generous on space, even though this is technically a small SUV. On the highway, this vehicle remains well-mannered and laidback, just as a small SUV should. And, no matter which seat you plop down in, there will is absolutely plenty of room for your legs and head even if you're 6 feet tall. This SUV makes it easy to relax. Kia's superb warranty coverage ensures your peace of mind, which makes the ownership experience packed with value.

The Sportage isn't perfect though. Its fuel economy falls behind the numbers put forth by other vehicles in this segment. Also, cargo capacity isn't all that generous, which is something we have come to expect from even smaller SUVs. The base engine has a slow acceleration rate that might turn some potential buyers away from this vehicle.

The 2022 Kia Seltos is a relatively new entry into the small crossover SUV class, having just debuted in 2021. It slides in between the smaller Soul and the bigger Sportage. Its available two-toned roof and stacked headlights make it stand out from the crowd - including from the Sportage.

Is one of these Kias the best one for your unique needs? Is there one that packs in a little more value for the price? Read on so that you can get our take on which Kia SUV is worth your money.

Size and Styling

As a small SUV, the Kia Sportage is a vehicle that is bigger than the Seltos but smaller than the Kia Sorento, which is a mid-size third-row SUV. The Sportage is a vehicle that seats five and cruises around on 17-inch wheels. While most trim levels look fairly average, the Nightfall Edition gives you 18-inch alloy wheels done in dark gray, exterior accents in piano black, fog lights, and black roof rails. The Sportage has a stunted front end design and a rear that is besieged by chunky roof pillars.

The 2022 Kia Seltos is, of course, smaller than the Sportage and has a boxier, more defined and athletic exterior design. The cool thing about it is that you can order it with a two-toned roof, which is what helps really set the Seltos apart from everything else. And all of the paint color options you get help give the Seltos a degree of personality not available on the Sportage. Even the base trim offers rear tinted windows and automatic headlights. The S trim lets you opt for the dual-toned roof, roof rails, fog lights, and LED headlights. There's a sunroof on the EX, and this model has its own Nightfall Edition.


A good powertrain can make owning a SUV a great experience, which is what all buyers want, right? A lousy powertrain can take away from that experience and leave you feeling like you threw your money down the drain.

When it comes to powertrains on the 2022 Kia Sportage, there are two to select between. There is a 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine powering the LX, Nightfall, and EX trims. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder comes on the SX Turbo models. Either engine gets paired up with a six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard but all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional for any of the trim levels.

The Sportage's 181 horsepower coming from the base engine just isn't very thrilling. The turbo engine's output of 240 hp might feel more ideal for the average buyer in this segment. You do get a lot of low-end torque from the turbo engine as you cruise around on slower speed roads, but even this turbo engine starts sputtering out quickly on the highway. The turbo engine requires 9 seconds to get up to 60 miles per hour - a slow showing for an upgraded engine. The driving performance is worsened by a brake pedal that sometimes feels really squishy beneath your foot. Even the normally comfortable suspension does not control body motions that well as you navigate through curves. Given the unpredictable power delivery and extremely vague steering, you might lose confidence in this vehicle's capabilities.

Fuel economy isn't all that stellar either. The Sportage's turbo engine, when it is equipped with AWD, only manages to get 21 mpg in combined driving. Also, the models with FWD and the 2.4-L engine get an EPA estimated 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving. This falls well below what many rivals in this segment have been able to achieve in recent years. Real world tests unfortunately reflect the EPA estimates, so don't expect a good return on fuel from the Sportage.

Meanwhile, the 2022 Kia Seltos offers two engines: a base four-cylinder that generates 146 hp and is paired with a CVT or a turbocharged 175-hp engine paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. On the turbo engine, acceleration is slow to come up from a stop, but it feels more spirited once you get the Seltos moving. The Seltos can cruise from 0 to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds - a good showing for this class, allowing you to get onto the highway with ease. The transmission aids in this with its smooth, swift shifting.

On winding roads, though, the Seltos lacks refinement. The steering is responsive and the firm suspension are helpful, but when you get a little too enthusiastic about rounding through turns, the Seltos feels too front-end heavy for the task.

The Seltos' fuel economy is pretty average. Its EPA estimates place fuel economy at 27 mpg combined on the turbo engine. That is subpar for this segment, although the base engine equipped with with front-wheel drive produces a more reasonable 31 mpg combined. Real-world estimates place fuel economy for the turbo engine at 27.9 mpg, so you should at least be able to match the EPA estimates on whichever powertrain you choose.

Comfort, Options and Performance

The Kia Sportage has a lot to offer when it comes to comfort. For starters, its front seats are built with plenty of support in them and come with some seriously delightful heating and ventilation capabilities should you opt for them to be included. You will notice quite a bit of tire noise when you are zipping down the highway, but the cabin does not experience much else in the way of outside sound. It is also kept free from shuddering motions as you drive over juts and bumps in the road's surface. The sporty tuning on the suspension can sometimes come off as a little too firm, but it isn't anything too excessive.

The Sportage's interior design oozes quality, sure. Everything matches up as it should. Unfortunately, there is a sloping roofline that leaves significantly less headspace in the rear than you might prefer, plus it makes it harder for you to see out the rear window. Taller drivers might wish the driver's seat was a bit lower, too. The control buttons look too much alike to be easily be distinguished, so you will have to rely on their labels to know what each one is used for.

Technology is one of the Sportage's strongest points. The standard infotainment touchscreen system should appeal to the average user, plus smartphone app integration (which comes to you via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) helps keep things super simple and streamlined. Some of the higher trim levels offer rear seat USB charge-only ports. Voice controls could be way more functional though, and, when smartphone projection is in play, you cannot even use the voice controls. Kia's Uvo services improves the voice controls a little bit. As this is a subscription, you will have to shell out extra cash for these minor enhancements.

The Sportage offers 30.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats left upright. This number maxes out to 60.1 cubic feet when those seats are folded down, and it ultimately seems too small and tight. The flat load floor is cut down by the intrusive wheel wells, which certainly doesn't help matters. The center console hosts a tiny bin, but there is a significant spot for a smartphone to be stashed.

On the Kia Seltos, you get a similar slew of comfort and convenience features. Overall, the Seltos does not come off as feeling overly floaty on the highway and provides a nice enough ride quality. The front seats have a decent amount of padding but do not offer much in the way of thigh support. But, for an extra-small SUV, the rear seats are surprisingly comfortable. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of wind noise that gets into the cabin, and the automatic climate control struggles to thoroughly cool down the entire cabin on hot, sunny days.

The Seltos' cabin is simplistic but also very practical. The 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen display looks sleek and is easy for everyone to use. The bottom screen is just as graphically crisp. There is plenty of space in the cabin for it being an extra-small SUV, allowing those about 6 feet tall and shorter to comfortably sit in the back seats. The thick roof pillars in the rear do hinder visibility, so you will end up depending on the wide-angle rear-view camera for help.

The Seltos has a lot of nice tech features, like the SX trim's premium Bose audio system, which puts out a punchy bass and crisp sound quality. The integrated navigation system is user-friendly. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is standard on all trim levels but is best put to use in conjunction with the available 10.25-inch infotainment display. Unfortunately, rear USB ports are limited, with higher trims getting just one charge-only USB port back there.

With a maximum of 62.8 cubic feet of cargo space on tap, you get a lot of space for stashing your stuff. The generous cargo depth and wide opening on the liftgate make loading cargo a simple enough task, too.


We all care about safety, especially when we are out on the open road. Kia is aware of the high demand for great driver aids and doesn't go all minimalistic with them when it comes to their vehicles. Buyers who go for the Kia Sportage will get an included driver attention monitor, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. On the Nightfall Edition and above, you get a standard blind spot monitor with an included rear cross-traffic alert. The optional EX Technology package tacks on adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors. Lane keep assist doesn't always read line markers as it should, but it is the only driver aid that seems to be problematic.

Likewise, the 2022 Kia Seltos is outfitted with automatic high beams, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, a lane departure warning, and a driver attention warning. Upgrading to the EX trim level gets you a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. The line-topping SX gains a full lane keeping system and adaptive cruise control.

Which Model to Choose?

Both the 2022 Kia Sportage and Seltos are decent vehicles, and both are backed by Kia's above-industry-average warranty coverage. If we had to pick just one, though, it would be the Seltos. Why? The 2022 Seltos has a lot of outward personality and interior space. For the price, you get a lot of standard features, and its technological offerings are particularly stellar.

View Comparisons for other Years:

2021 Kia Sportage VS Seltos
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