If you are in the market for a new SUV, you may be shocked by the high prices of many models. According to Cars.com, one of the leading online car shopping platforms, the average price of a new SUV listed on its website was $48,818 in September 2023. That’s a 4.5% increase from the same time a year ago and a hefty sum for most car buyers to afford.
However, you don’t have to break the bank to get a reliable and versatile SUV. Several smaller and cheaper alternatives offer great value for around $30,000. To help you find the best one for your needs and budget, Cars.com conducted the 2023 Affordable SUV Challenge, where it compared six affordable SUVs on various criteria, such as performance, comfort, interior quality, safety features, fuel economy, and value.
The winner of this challenge was the 2024 Kia Seltos SX, a compact SUV that impressed the judges with its attractive design, powerful engine, spacious cabin, advanced safety features, and efficient gas mileage. The Seltos SX beat out five other competitors that were priced around $30,000: the 2024 Subaru Crosstrek Premium, the 2024 Chevrolet Trax Activ, the 2023 Honda HR-V EX-L, the 2023 Volkswagen Taos SE, and the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid S.
What makes the 2024 Kia Seltos SX stand out from the crowd? Here are some of the reasons why it deserves your attention:
Refreshed Exterior Design
The new Kia Seltos SX features a refreshed exterior design that gives it a more modern and dynamic look. It has a wider grille, updated headlights and taillights, and a rear light bar that connects the taillamps. The SX trim also has a model-specific grille, different wheels, a black roof rack, and gloss-black trim. The Seltos is available in various colors, such as Steel Gray, Fusion Black, Snow White Pearl, Mars Orange, and Neptune Blue.
Upgraded Interior Quality
The 2024 Kia Seltos SX also has an upgraded interior quality, making it feel more premium and comfortable. It has a dual-screen infotainment system that includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster. The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless smartphone charging and in-dash navigation. The SX trim also comes with black or brown SynTex seat trim, a synthetic leather material that is durable and easy to clean.
Powerful Turbocharged Engine
The new Kia Seltos SX delivers more power than before, thanks to its turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 195 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This engine is paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces the previous seven-speed dual-clutch unit. The new transmission provides smoother shifts and better drivability, especially in city driving. The SX trim also comes standard with all-wheel drive, which enhances traction and stability in different road conditions.
Spacious Cabin and Cargo Area
The 2024 Kia Seltos SX is fun to drive and spacious and practical. It offers ample headroom and legroom for both front and rear passengers and a generous cargo area that can accommodate up to 26.6 cubic feet of luggage behind the rear seats. The cargo space can be expanded to 62.8 cubic feet by folding down the 60/40-split rear seats. The Seltos also has a reclining rear seatback that can adjust to different angles for optimal comfort.