Subcompact SUV buyers are often price-sensitive and not exactly the most frugal shoppers. Subcompact SUVs are generally more expensive than the subcompact cars that compete for the title of the cheapest new car. Still, Subcompact SUVs appeal to buyers who need more capability and space than they’d get with a sedan or hatchback but don’t want to pay much more.
That puts a challenge to automakers — they must build a well-equipped and attractive vehicle while keeping the price low.
A Lot of SUV for a Little Money
The Seltos clears that bar comfortably. A starting price of just $23,140 (plus a mandatory $1,295 destination charge) keeps it within reach for many buyers while offering a long list of standard features. A safety package including lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, auto emergency braking, automatic high beams, and a driver attention warning helps the value proposition.
All-wheel drive (AWD) comes standard at most trim levels, but you can buy a base LX without it if the weather where you live makes it unnecessary. And while many subcompact vehicles look frumpy and oddly proportioned, the Seltos is handsome, particularly with the available 2-tone paint scheme.
The subcompact SUV space got more competitive this year. A new Honda HR-V made a strong case for itself in our tests. But it’s hard to beat the financial security of Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
We Do the Math, and We Drive Them All
Kelley Blue Book editors spend all year studying and testing more than 300 cars to determine the winners of our annual Best Buy Awards.
We factor in vehicle pricing, 5-Year Cost to Own data — including depreciation, insurance, maintenance, financing, fuel, fees, and taxes for new cars — consumer reviews and ratings, and vehicle sales information. Finally, we bring the best contenders in for head-to-head testing.
To be considered for Kelley Blue Book’s Best New Model, its highest accolade, the vehicle must be an all-new or redesigned vehicle — unavailable before the prior year’s final Best Buy Awards testing — and offer a strong value proposition to consumers based on pricing, innovation, and available standard technology and safety features.