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Introduced in mid-2019, the Kia Seltos is a subcompact crossover SUV that occupies the space between the smaller Stonic and the larger Sportage in Kia's global SUV lineup. The vehicle's name derives from Greek mythology, specifically from "Seltos," the son of Hercules and Saltine. The Seltos is particularly aimed at millennial consumers, who are typically young, tech-savvy buyers seeking distinctive, stand-out models. There are five trim levels available in the 2022 Seltos lineup: LX, S, EX, Nightfall Edition, and SX. The SUV is sold worldwide, with three versions tailored to different markets. The first, the SP2 Seltos, is the larger model, manufactured in Korea and targeted at developed markets such as North America and Oceania. This version offers two engine options: a 1.6-liter Gamma turbo gasoline engine and a 1.6-liter U-Line diesel engine, along with an all-wheel-drive option. The other versions are the less expensive, Indian-made Seltos and the closely related Chinese version, the Kia KX3. The Seltos was launched in various global markets throughout 2019 and 2020, except for Europe, where it was decided not to be sold due to the market's saturation with larger and smaller SUVs. However, the Seltos managed to secure its position as the second best-selling Kia model worldwide in 2020 and 2021, with India being its largest single market.
The Kia Seltos, celebrated for its modern design and spacious interior, has unfortunately seen a spate of transmission-related concerns, with two primary problems being "Transmission Stopped Shifting Properly" and "Transmission Overheating". Delving into the first, owners reported a prominent flaw in the vehicle's seven-speed automatic transmission; a significant number identified an oil leakage problem, pinpointed to inadequately heat-treated piston oil rings. This serious lapse necessitated a recall of nearly 150,000 vehicles. Additionally, Seltos's fuel conservation feature, which shuts the car down at stops, has exhibited malfunctions where it sometimes fails to restart, a glitch that poses the risk of stranding drivers. Further complications involve the SUV not shifting out of park mode or not staying parked. Most disturbingly, the Seltos DCT displayed an unusual gear anomaly where it sticks to D2, skips D3, and moves straight to D4 after hitting 3.5k RPM; on decelerating, it reverts to D2, bypassing D1. Diagnostics traced this to coding errors preventing odd-numbered gear activation. Software updates were proposed, but with little to no resolution. Such issues even saw recalls in Korea due to mechanical discrepancies. Turning to the second main problem, transmission overheating, it prominently manifests in the SX Turbo and 2021 SX models during prolonged stop-and-go traffic, slow uphill motions, or extended stationary periods, such as during festive light displays or drive-through zoo visits. A vivid example was a user's experience between Michigan and Ontario where, after an hour in traffic, the transmission overheating light came on, urging a temporary shutdown. This overheating largely stems from the Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) design, with misuse like continuous braking or not letting the engine hold the car on inclines exacerbating the problem. Mitigative measures include shifting to neutral or fully engaging the brake to lower heat production. However, there's a growing sentiment that Seltos's incorporation of DCT hasn't been optimal, with potential transitions to traditional automatic transmissions in future models like the 2023 Seltos being speculated. Interestingly, while the overheating problem is well-recognized among users, some dealerships feign ignorance or claim an inability to reproduce the issue. As a remedy, owners are now keeping a close watch on transmission temperatures through dashboard gauges. Given these recurring issues, it's imperative for owners to frequently consult mechanics to maintain the vehicle's performance.
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