2021 Kia Seltos vs. 2020 Nissan Kicks

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The Seltos offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Kicks doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Seltos’ standard Downhill Brake Control allows you to creep down safely. The Kicks doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Kia Seltos S/EX/SX has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Kicks doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Seltos SX has standard 911 Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Kicks doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Seltos and the Kicks have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

Warranty

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The Seltos comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Kicks’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Seltos 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Nissan covers the Kicks. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Kicks ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 7th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 2 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

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The Seltos’ standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 24 more horsepower (146 vs. 122) and 18 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Seltos S 1.6T/SX’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 53 more horsepower (175 vs. 122) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 114) than the Kicks’ 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Seltos’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Kicks doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Seltos has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Kicks (13.2 vs. 10.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Seltos’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Kicks:

Seltos

Seltos Turbo

Kicks

Front Rotors

11 inches

12 inches

10.16 inches

Rear Rotors

10.3 inches

11.2 inches

8” drums

The Kia Seltos has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Kicks. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Seltos has larger standard tires than the Kicks (215/55R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Seltos Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Kicks (235/45R18 vs. 205/60R16).

The Seltos 2.0L’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Kicks S’ standard 60 series tires. The Seltos Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Kicks SV/SR’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Seltos 2.0L has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Kicks S. The Seltos Turbo’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Kicks SV/SR.

The Kia Seltos’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Nissan Kicks only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Seltos AWD has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Nissan Kicks has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Seltos has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Kicks’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Seltos is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Kicks.

For greater off-road capability the Seltos has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Kicks S (7.3 vs. 6.9 inches), allowing the Seltos to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Seltos’ minimum ground clearance is .3 inch higher than on the Kicks SV/SR (7.3 vs. 7 inches).

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The Seltos has 2.6 inches more front hip room, 2.5 inches more front shoulder room, 4.8 inches more rear legroom, 3.7 inches more rear hip room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Kicks.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Seltos’ rear seats recline. The Kicks’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Kicks with its rear seat up (26.6 vs. 25.3 cubic feet). The Seltos has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Kicks with its rear seat folded (62.8 vs. 53.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/06

The Seltos S/EX/SX has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Kicks doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Both the Seltos and the Kicks offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Seltos S/EX/SX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Kicks SV/SR doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Seltos SX has a standard Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Kicks doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is standard on the Seltos SX. The Seltos’ navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Kicks doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the Seltos offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Kicks doesn’t offer a voice control system.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Seltos EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Kicks doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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