LA Auto Show 2019

Meet the 2021 Kia Seltos, a subcompact SUV with an adventurous spirit

Kia has designed the Seltos to be an urban, suburban, and trail explorer.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Hyundai has the Venue and now Kia has the Seltos, a subcompact SUV that slots into their lineup between the smaller Soul and the bigger Sportage. The SUV is new for the 2021 model year.

Seltos combines the design of Sportage and Soul well, walking the line between funky and functional, assertive and inviting.

2021 Kia Seltos The model is meant to look more rugged than the Hyundai Venue.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

On the outside, it's easy to see that the Seltos shares a platform with the Venue though Kia's styling is more straightforward and edges toward a customer more apt to enjoy a fresh design approach whereas the Hyundai's look is much safer. Kia has positioned the Seltos as a capable off-roader noting that tits lower front bumper design allows for a sharper approach angle, it has front and rear skid plates and black wheel arch cladding. However, it's also meant to be stylish, sporting dual exhaust pipes with chrome trim, 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels, and red wheel center caps. The Seltos boasts 7.2 inches of ground clearance.

Under its hood is the buyer's choice of the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder end that produces 146 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque or the available turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a spirited 175 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The larger engine is paired with an intelligent variable transmission and the smaller is mated to a dual clutch transmission.

The Seltos comes with three drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport. All-wheel drive with torque vectoring control and lock mode are available in higher trim levels.

2021 Kia Seltos Buyers can get the Seltos with all-wheel drive.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The SUV comes with a good list of standard and available equipment. Each model gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen with satellite radio, navigation, and telematics is available, as is an 8-speaker Bose audio system, wireless charging system, three USB ports, and multi-Bluetooth connectivity.

2021 Kia Seltos The vehicle is at least as nicely appointed as what you'll find in the Sportage.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Seltos boasts a standard 3.5-inch driver information display. In the top trim driver's get a 7-inch display. On Seltos S, EX, and SX models there is leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and sliding front console cover. The top trim level has Bose speakers with six color schemes in the same way that are in the Soul. EX and SX models also have a rear air vent and USB charging port.

The rear seat features two-step recline.

Kia has given the SUV a long list of available safety technology including blind spot monitoring, Safe Exit Assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist.

2021 Kia Seltos A 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen is available.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Seltos will be available in LX, EX, S 2.0L, S 1.6L, and SX trim levels. Full pricing details will be available closer to the model's on-sale date but Kia has revealed that LX with all-wheel drive will start below $22,000 and the S with front-wheel drive will have a similar price point.

Kia will sell the SUV in the U.S. starting in early 2020.

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Chevrolet completely redesigned the Suburban for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

At over 18-feet long, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is massive in stature. The redesigned-for-2021 Suburban is also one of the most technologically advanced SUVs to roll off any General Motors assembly line. The question is, is it any good?

Yes. There is no point in burying the lede on this. The Suburban is the Chevrolet to have if you consistently need to carry six or more people and all of the gear associated with it. Need to take the kids to soccer practice? No problem. Need to bring grandma and grandpa on the family road trip? No problem. Need to carry an entire high school marching band and their instruments? Easy peasy. A colleague even suggested that the rear seats are in a different ZIP code than the front seats.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban has grown for the 2021 model year.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

But unlike Doctor Who's Tardis, the Suburban is just as big on the outside as it is on the inside. The Suburban's boxy shape highlights how functional the design is – maximizing interior space is key. A new front grille and headlight setup comes straight from the Chevy Silverado pickup truck. Massive wheels are needed just to fill out the wheel arches.

Around back, a power liftgate (standard as hands-free in LT and up trim levels) is flanked by new taillights and there's a real dual exhaust for the 5.3-liter V8 that comes standard on Suburban. A 6.2-liter V8 and a 3.0-liter Duramax diesel are also available. All the engine options are paired with GM's 10-speed automatic transmission.

While the Suburban never feels smaller than it is, it is nice to drive. The automatic's shifts are flawless in execution, and the 5.3-liter V8 sounds great on throttle. At nearly three tons, the Suburban isn't light, and the upgraded 6.2-liter V8 is worth the extra money if you're planning on towing or filling the Suburban with people consistently. There just doesn't feel like enough oomph with the lower-spec engine to really get the Suburban moving. The sweet spot might end up being the diesel, like it is with the Silverado, but that's not available for a few months.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban is appropriately appointed for its price point.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Magnetic Ride Control is standard on the Premier trim, and while it doesn't also include the air suspension of higher-spec models, it does a good job at smoothing out the bumps and imperfections of the road. Though the Suburban does feature a sport driving mode, at no point did I feel compelled to use it to get a leg up on the traffic around me during testing. Leave it to its natural devices the Suburban drives pretty well.

The Expedition drives a bit smaller than it actually is, and the available Pro Trailer Backup Assist is a godsend for someone inexperienced with towing. Depending on spec, you can tow up to 8,300 pounds with the Suburban. That's enough for a small boat or camper, making the SUV a solid rig for weekend getaways.

There's plenty of room in the second row for passengers or pups during a weekend getaway, or longer. The Suburban Premier test unit had captain's chairs in the middle row, so gaining access to the third row is easy. There is also a lever on the side of the second-row chairs that, if you press it down twice, fold ups the seats up and away. While most three-row SUVs skimp in the back, this thing is big enough to seat adults and still have room for lots of cargo (up 19 percent over the 2020 model). In the front, the tester had leather seats that were heated and ventilated that sufficiently performed their functions.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The Suburban Premier comes standard with a 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

In front of the driver, an 8.0-inch digital instrument display is flanked by two analog gauges. A 15-inch wide head-up display (the largest in its class) has full-color, high-res graphics that are easy to read. General Motors makes their digital rearview mirror available on the Suburban, which makes it easy to see what's behind you because without it, you see just your passengers or the rows of empty seats directly behind you.

Chevrolet's latest infotainment system runs the Premier model's 10.2-inch touch screen and is updated to include wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. That means you can just toss your phone on the wireless phone charger and you're off. A surround view camera does help in parking, though you're still going to want to avoid tight spots in city centers due to the overall size of the Suburban.

The test vehicle was black, making it look like a Secret Service transport for the President of the United States. And after a week in the new Suburban, it's easy to see why they prefer this SUV. The way that the Suburban uses its space is impressive. It maximizes interior cargo and passenger capacity. It's more practical in every row than a comparable Ford Expedition Max, and the V8 delivers better power than the Ford's twin-turbo V6.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier The 2021 Suburban has 19 percent more cargo room than the previous edition.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

You know if you need a vehicle this size, and if you do, the Suburban is the way to go. Just opt for the larger V-8 engine and you'll have yourself a beast of a vehicle. The Premier trim is a nice sweet spot, too, with luxury features but without the opulence and price tag that comes with the High Country trim. The test model wasn't cheap at $74,080, but for big SUVs this is the one to get.

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