2021 Honda HR-V vs. 2021 Kia Seltos

2021 Honda HR-V vs Kia Seltos

People can’t seem to get enough of the new Seltos, which has recently helped revitalize Kia’s brand. While it’s proven to be one of the trendiest small SUVs in the market, there’s reason to believe its hype-bubble is burstable.

Enter the 2021 Honda HR-V, needle in hand. With better safety rankings, a more innovative rear seat, and a lower sticker price, it could very well be the best small SUV for you. Check out how these two crossovers compare below.

Rear Passenger Comfort


The back seat of the Seltos is quite a charmer, offering a good deal of comfort for riders. However, even being the larger of the two SUVs, the Seltos lags behind the HR-V in rear legroom, 38.0 inches to 39.3 inches.

2021 HR-V LX 2021 Seltos LX
Rear Legroom 39.3 in. 38.0 in.

Standard 2nd-Row Vents

Rear-seat heater ducts are standard beginning with the base HR-V LX. To get the same in the 2021 Seltos, you’d be forced to pay for the EX trim -- a $4,000 upgrade.

Rear 12V Outlet

Every HR-V model comes with a 12-volt power outlet in the back row, which isn’t offered in the Seltos.

2021 HR-V - 2nd Row Magic Seat

2nd-Row Magic Seat

Cargo volume isn’t everything; sometimes versatility makes up for some missing cubic feet. That’s the case with the 2021 HR-V. Unlike the Seltos and its basic 60/40 split-folding back bench, HR-V’s 2nd-Row Magic Seat can be configured in any of three modes: Tall, Long and Utility.

2021 HR-V - Tall Mode

Tall Mode

In Tall Mode, cushions in either or both Magic Seat sections can be folded up, awarding up to 4 feet of vertical space -- the perfect amount for a lamp, some bicycles, or planters.

2021 HR-V - Long Mode

Long Mode

In Long Mode, the passenger-side seats fold down to accommodate items up to 8 feet in length.

2021 HR-V - Utility Mode

Utility Mode

In Utility Mode, HR-V’s back seat lay flat, enabling users to take advantage of its entire 58.8-cubic-foot* cargo area.

Safety & Reliability


Data suggests that 97% of small SUV shoppers deem vehicle reliability to be the most likely deciding factor when it comes to choosing a model, followed by maintenance costs and workmanship. This public affinity for quality puts the Honda HR-V ahead of the Kia Seltos.

The 2021 Seltos has garnered dozens of complaints in its short time on the market. Many Seltos owners have had issues with the vehicle’s powertrain and engine, citing complete transmission failure after just a few short weeks of ownership.

As is the case with most Honda models, last year’s Honda HR-V has received very few complaints, and the risk of a recall related to its transmission and engine remains very low. The same cannot be said of the Seltos, whose powertrain issues should give any prospective buyers pause.

Safety Ratings

HR-V also enjoys better safety ratings than Seltos. The 2020 HR-V likely carries over its Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS and a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA for the 2021 model year.

Safety isn’t known to be Seltos’s strongest suit. The 2021 model received a 4-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, and its 2020 version did not make it into IIHS’s Top Safety Pick list. Compared to the HR-V, Seltos also has a higher rollover risk (15.1%), poorer general headlight performance, and a higher risk of passenger injury according to IIHS crash test data.

2021 HR-V - Safety Ratings

Adaptive Cruise Control

Standard on every HR-V EX and EX-L is Honda’s Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow system. With ACC, the driver simply sets a static speed and following distance between the HR-V and the flow of traffic. The system then detects changes in traffic, automatically adjusting speed to match or even stop entirely.

Kia Seltos has a similar feature in its Smart Cruise Control w/Stop & Go, though it’s only standard on the top-of-the-line Seltos SX Turbo, which is over $3,000 more than the 2021 HR-V EX.


Your bank account has a say in which small SUV you buy, too. It’s telling you Honda is its choice. Comparing HR-V vs. Seltos pricing by trim levels, the HR-V is far more affordable.

2021 HR-V 2WD Trim MSRP MSRP 2021 Seltos Trim
LX $21,020* $21,990 LX / S
Sport $22,970* $25,290 EX
EX $24,220* $25,490 S Turbo
EX-L $25,820* $27,890 SX Turbo


Cargo volume based on SAE J1100 cargo volume measurement standard plus, where applicable, floor space between seating rows and seats in their forward-most and upright position.

MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1120 destination charge and accessories. Dealer prices may vary. MSRP does not include $395 charge for select premium colors. $395 charge only applies to 2021 models.