Introduced in June 2019, the Kia Seltos got its mid-life facelift in June 2022. In the U.S., the popularity of the small SUV is soaring. In 2023, it made a new annual sales record, with 60,053 units delivered. Development of the next-gen Kia Seltos is probably underway, with initial rumors indicating it’ll be available as a hybrid. The first-ever Kia Seltos Hybrid should be the brand’s most affordable hybrid SUV.
On November 6, 2023, Chosun Biz released a report claiming that the successor to the Seltos will have a hybrid powertrain. It’s safe to assume that the South Korean publication meant a second-generation Seltos, as the name has brought immense success to the small SUV in South Korea and emerging markets. In the U.S., the Seltos’ sales surpassed the whole Niro family in 2023.
Kia may have been on an EV onslaught for a while, but there are customers who cannot commit to EVs yet, be it because of expensiveness, a lack of charging infrastructure, or a higher driving range requirement. The company will cater to these customers while keeping in mind its carbon neutrality goals, and that’s where the hybrids and plug-in hybrids step in.
Kia may not use Niro’s hybrid system in the Seltos Hybrid due to fear of cannibalization. The company has developed a different hybrid system, one based on a 1.6-liter turbocharged gas engine, and it uses that in the Sportage Hybrid and Carnival Hybrid. However, that might prove too expensive for the Seltos Hybrid. We think it may use a new, 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine-based hybrid system, which would allow it to price the model competitively, even in emerging markets.
Production of the Kia Seltos Hybrid will start in 2025, as per the report. Thus, we think its U.S. launch should take place in early 2026, six years after the gas-powered first-gen model.
I got my Master’s in Business Management & Administration and have been an International Automotive News Editor since 2014. I’ve traveled to global motor shows and automotive events, driven various types of vehicles, and focused on hybrid and electric cars in the last 4 years.