The 2021 Kia Seltos unveiled here at the L.A. Auto Show slots between the Soul and Sportage in Kia's crossover lineup, but it's much closer to the latter in terms of size. In fact, the interior dimensions of the two are awfully similar.
Take a look at the chart below.
Second-row legroom is basically the same, which I can confirm, having sat in both Seltos and Sportage back-to-back. Headroom, however, is indeed better in the Seltos. Shoulder room is even quite similar.
Taking a look in the cargo area, the Sportage's advantage seems to come from being deeper. It makes up for the Seltos being boxier, which should explain why it actually has greater maximum capacity.
So, if the two crossovers provide similar interior space (even if the Sportage is bigger outside), what's the point between the two. Why pay the extra $2,000 for a Sportage?
For starters, take a look at those engine specs. The base Sportage engine has more horsepower than the Seltos' turbocharged upgrade, while blowing away the base offering.
Moving away from specs, the Sportage (above right) has a higher-quality cabin. The door sills and much of the dash consist of soft, low-sheen rubbery materials. The Seltos has hard plastic in those spots with some rubbery stuff stitched and applied to the dash. And while both Kia interiors have plenty of hard plastic, the stuff in the Seltos has a higher sheen and seems more prone to scratching. It looks and feels cheaper.
Frankly, this pair is awfully reminiscent of the Jeep Compass and Cherokee. They too have similar interior space, but differ in terms of performance, capability and refinement. After the Cherokee's recent facelift, though, at least these two Kias offer more greatly differentiated styling.
Here are photos of both the Seltos and Sportage for further comparison.