Comparison between the 2021 Kia Seltos and the 2021 Ford EcoSport

The 2021 Kia Seltos and 2021 Ford EcoSport have small footprints but are very affordable. Here’s how they compare.

2021 Kia Seltos

2021 Kia Seltos starting price: $21,990 | Price yours Where See listings near you

Above average: Optional turbo engine; all-wheel-drive (AWD) is standard on all trims but one; spacious interior; great guarantee.

Below average: The base LX trim lacks active safety features instead of standard all-wheel drive; 2.0-liter engine CVT.

Consensus: The 2021 Kia Seltos sits between the Soul and the Sportage in the Kia lineup. We like the turbo engine. All versions except one come standard with all-wheel drive. A locking center differential gives these models some off-road capability.

2021 Ford EcoSport

2021 Ford EcoSport2021 Ford EcoSport starting price: $19,995 | Price yours Where See listings near you

Above average: all-wheel drive available; nimble handling; easy to park.

Below average: Fuel economy; acceleration; narrow inner limits.

Consensus: Subcompact SUVs are popular, but the 2021 Ford EcoSport struggles against some competitors in this segment. The absence of many of the driver assistance systems that are standard on most of its rivals makes the EcoSport a tough buy.

Seltos vs. EcoSport: Affordability is key

Kia Seltos

The 2021 Kia Seltos is a new model that sits between the Soul and the Sportage. Unlike the Soul, which is front-wheel drive (FWD) only, the Seltos comes standard with AWD on all but the S trim (where it’s optional).

A base 2.0-liter engine mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) produces a modest 146 horsepower, but there’s also a 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. reports in the top-end SX. Combined EPA estimates with the 2.0-liter are 31 mpg (FWD) and 29 mpg (AWD). The turbo with AWD is 27 mpg.

The boxy shape of the Kia offers a spacious cabin with an adult-sized rear seat and 26.6 cubic feet of luggage space that expands to 62.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. Driving and handling are pleasant if not particularly sporty.

An 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, while a 10.25-inch unit with navigation is exclusive to the SX.

Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver attention monitor safety features are present on all models except the LX, which replaces standard all-wheel drive to conserve the same entry-level price as the S.

EX and SX models get a power driver’s seat, heated seats, wireless charging, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Ford EcoSport

The EcoSport is one of the smallest SUVs on the market. Front-wheel-drive versions are powered by a tiny 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder that develops 123 horsepower. AWD versions get a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder developing 166 horsepower.

Both use a 6-speed automatic, and while the EcoSport can feel quick enough around town, acceleration at highway speeds is laborious. Fuel economy is disappointing at just 27/29 mpg city/highway (FWD) and 23/29 mpg (AWD). The EcoSport’s chassis tuning, at least, lives up to its name with its nimble handling and small footprint allowing for easy parking.

A cramped cabin makes the EcoSport cramped, and there’s only 20.9 cubic feet of luggage space behind the rear seat. That expands to 50 cubic feet with the seatbacks folded down, and access to the cargo hold is through an old-style side-hinged door.

An easy-to-use 8-inch touchscreen (in all but the base car) includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa and Waze integration. Navigation is available on the SES and Titanium versions. Both models also benefit from blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, which are optional on the SE. Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are not available, however – glaring omission.

Similarities

Starting price; modest base engine power.

Benefits of the 2021 Kia Seltos

Turbo engine acceleration; interior space; long warranty.

Benefits of the 2021 Ford EcoSport

Low starting price; ease of parking.

Which is good for me?

The 2021 Kia Seltos offers a long list of standard features, especially the AWD setup that comes on all but one trim. It also has fresh styling and plenty of cargo space. Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty is also worth considering.

If your garage is ultra-small or parking space is extremely valuable, the 9-inch shorter 2021 Ford EcoSport may have an advantage. It also offers a lower entry price.

Ready to buy a Kia Seltos or a Ford EcoSport? Buy one on sale now you

2021 Kia Seltos 2021 Ford EcoSport
Popular powertrains
Motor 2.0 liter I4 1.0 liter turbo I3
Powerful 146 hp at 6,200 rpm 123 hp at 6000 rpm
Couple 175 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm 125 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm
Transmission CVT 6-speed automatic
fuel economy 31 mpg (29 city/34 highway) 28 mpg (27 city/29 highway)
Also available 1.6 liter turbo I4; YOUR 2.0 liter I4; all-wheel drive
Specifications
Basic warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Global Safety 4 stars 4 stars
Maximum seating capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 103.5 inches 99.2 inches
Total length 172.0 inches 161.3 inches
Width 70.9 inches 69.5 inches
Height 63.9 inches 64.8 inches
Turning diameter 34.8 feet 36.8 feet
Headroom, front 41.4 inches 39.6 inches
Headroom, rear 38.4 inches 35.0 inches
Leg room, front 41.4 inches 42.9 inches
Leg room, rear 38.0 inches 36.7 inches
Shoulder room, front 55.5 inches 53.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 54.7 inches 51.3 inches
EPA passenger volume 102.2 cubic feet 91.1 cubic feet
EPA cargo volume 26.6/62.8 cubic feet 20.9/50.0 cubic feet

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