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A green 2024 Kia Seltos for sale is shown driving off-road.

How the Kia Seltos Tops the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

If you’ve been looking for a 2024 Kia Seltos for sale from your local dealer, know that you’d be making a commendable choice—and that’s not just an enthusiast’s opinion, as Kelley Blue Book has listed the 2024 Seltos as a “Best Buy” in the subcompact, two-row SUV class for the second year in a row.

It also tied for first place in’s “Affordable SUV Challenge,” which gives it bragging rights over similar vehicles from Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and other manufacturers. It also gives it an edge in many areas over the newly redesigned Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which is a worthy competitor in many areas but can’t quite match up to the Seltos in interior room, fuel economy, and several other aspects.

The subcompact class is a hotly contested category these days, providing the advantages of an SUV—like ride height, interior room, and often all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) for better traction on slippery roads—without the painful penalty at the fuel pumps that drivers of larger SUVs experience. This ease and efficiency is quite the bonus in an era of seemingly permanent high gas prices, and the Seltos—as noted by KBB—is one of the best.

The newest Outlander Sport from Mitsubishi is a worthy challenger, but the numbers aren’t in Mitsubishi’s favor. To prove our point, let’s take a look at how these two mighty-mite SUVs stack up…

The black interior in a 2024 Kia Seltos is shown.

The 2024 Kia Seltos

Kia refreshed the Seltos for 2024 with changes to the exterior as well as to what’s under its skin; this brings the Seltos into line with Kia’s contemporary “digital tiger” outward design philosophy and gives it a fully modern appearance that’s more upscale than the typical subcompact SUV. This design language includes available LED headlights and a larger grille with chrome accents. The new taillights incorporate a light bar across the tailgate and are also available in LED form. Also new for 2024 is the X-Line appearance package, which is actually more than skin-deep, as it includes skid plates to give the Seltos some off-road cred.

The 2024 Seltos offers buyers two engine choices. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder prioritizes fuel efficiency, as do many buyers in this category. Paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), this powertrain delivers a commendable balance of power and fuel economy. With 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, it offers respectable acceleration for city driving and highway trips. Front-wheel drive (FWD) models achieve an EPA-estimated 28 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway, while all-wheel drive (AWD) versions get slightly lower figures at 27 MPG and 31 MPG, respectively; this makes the base Seltos a smart choice for budget-conscious buyers, especially with its base price of $24,490.

For more performance, buyers can step up to the 1.6-liter Turbo four-cylinder engine in the X-Line and SX trims. This engine boosts performance to 195 hp and an equal amount of torque, and a wide torque band ensures brisk acceleration and a more responsive feel. In 2024, this engine adds an extra 20 hp over its predecessor, rounding out the major changes from 2023, along with a more refined eight-speed traditional automatic transmission. With standard AWD, the turbocharged Seltos does get slightly lower fuel economy at 25/27 MPG city/highway.

We should take note of the fact that the base LX trim includes AWD—a fairly impressive offering in this budget-minded segment. Note that some of the Seltos’s more performance-oriented trim levels come with front-wheel drive, but opting for the top-tier SX gives you the go-anywhere capability of AWD standard. This system uses Torque Vectoring and a push-button Lock Mode, which distributes power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels, similar to old-fashioned 4×4 systems; this is great for powering out of snow or crawling over a rugged trail.

The black interior of a 2024 Kia Seltos is shown.

Compared to the Outlander Sport

Now that we know the basics about the Seltos, we can begin to compare it with the 2024 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. This is an all-new, redesigned vehicle for 2024 that starts at $23,695, and it has a lot going for it. Like the Seltos, it’s a five-person subcompact SUV with base and off-road-oriented versions. It offers two engine choices, too, starting with its base 2.0-liter that has “Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control,” or MIVEC. There’s also an upgraded version of this engine with 2.4 liters of displacement. Mitsubishi also offers a form of all-wheel drive they call All Wheel Control (AWC).

The base 2.0-liter powerplant in the Outlander Sport generates 148 hp—a number that’s very similar to the Seltos’s 146 horses in its base configuration. However, note that the Outlander Sport’s curb weight is slightly higher at 3,120 lbs versus the Seltos’s 3,106 lbs, so the Outlander Sport gives away its slight power advantage by being slightly heavier. This is reflected in fuel economy numbers, too, with the Outlander Sport’s base model achieving 23/29 MPG city/highway versus the Seltos’s 27/31 MPG ratings. The Seltos edges out the Mitsubishi in this department.

The Seltos also holds advantages over the Outlander Sport in other areas. In particular, although both vehicles are of very similar size at 172 inches for the Mitsubishi and 173 inches for the Kia, the Seltos has a very cleverly arranged interior that’s larger than the Outlander Sport in several dimensions. To begin with, the Seltos has best-in-class overall interior room and second-row legroom, offering 100 cu.ft. of passenger volume. Note that rear seat legroom measures 38 inches in the Seltos versus 36 inches in the Outlander Sport.

The Seltos also offers quite a bit more cargo volume behind the rear seat at 27 cu.ft. versus the Outlander Sport’s 22 cu.ft. Overall, the Seltos offers more practicality for adventurers, families with lots of luggage, or drivers who frequently have taller or broader rear-seat passengers.

The Steltos’s interior has also been redesigned for 2024, helping it to keep pace with the Outlander Sport’s all-new redesign. The Seltos’s new interior features include sound-absorbing glass in the windshield (for a quieter ride) and a huge 10.25-inch touchscreen Dual Panoramic Display. Both the driver and front seat passenger will enjoy heated and ventilated seats, the optional Smart Power Tailgate makes it easy to load the Seltos’s large cargo area, and an eight-speaker Bose Premium Audio sound system provides concert-hall audio quality. Overall, the Steltos provides a premium interior that’s a cut above what one would expect in this auto segment.

The Verdict

Both vehicles are worthy choices, but the Steltos stands out in the competitive subcompact SUV class, not only for its awards from Kelley Blue Book and but also for its tangible advantages in efficiency, performance, and design. The Outlander Sport has a slightly lower base price, but the Seltos offers better fuel economy, which is a crucial consideration for budget-conscious buyers.

The 2024 Seltos provides a balanced blend of efficiency, technology, and performance that the 2024 Outlander Sport struggles to match. Furthermore, the Seltos impresses with its spacious and thoughtfully designed interior, offering class-leading passenger and cargo space that enhances its practicality for families and adventurers alike. When considering the overall value, the Kia Seltos not only surpasses the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport in key areas but also sets a high standard for what consumers should expect from a subcompact SUV.