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2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs. 2021 Kia Seltos: Which Is Better?

The distinctive-looking 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross takes on the good-looking 2021 Kia Seltos, with both offering optional all-wheel drive. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Eclipse Cross will be redesigned for the 2022 model year. The 2021 model carries over from 2020, unchanged.
  • The Kia Seltos is an all-new small SUV with rugged looks, adventurous ambition, and a surprisingly roomy interior.

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Front Left in Red
2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in Red Diamond

Base price: $24,335 /  Read our 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Review

What we like: Great warranty; optional all-wheel drive; smooth engine.

What we would change: Rear visibility is poor; there’s only one engine/transmission choice; rear legroom is tight.

Overview: The compact Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross comes into the 2021 model year unchanged, with a full redesign on the horizon for the 2022 model year. The single-engine choice is a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, but its low-end torque provides enough oomph to get the Eclipse Cross around. Combine that with confident steering and a short wheelbase, and the Eclipse Cross makes for a nice city vehicle. One demerit, however, is that its sloped roof and high beltline make for somewhat limited visibility, although the SEL trim offers an optional rear camera. That sloped roof also cuts into cargo space. Inside, the Eclipse Cross is comfortable, with plenty of options that include a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, and an optional upgraded infotainment system. Standard features include a 7-inch audio screen and a front USB port, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available until you reach a higher trim. Some driver aids that are fairly standard nowadays are also not available until you reach the higher trim levels. Resale values have not typically been strong for the Eclipse Cross, but it comes with an outstanding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

What’s new for 2021: With the Eclipse Cross facing a redesign for the 2022 model year, Mitsubishi skipped the 2021 model year entirely, simply continuing to offer the 2020 version. We’re hoping for better rear visibility and more driver-assist and safety features across all trims.

Features and technology: Every 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which sends power to the front wheels via a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive is optional on all four trim levels, however. The base ES trim comes with automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 7-inch audio screen, power windows, 16-inch wheels, and a front USB port. The next step up LE adds 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio.

The SE brings safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and a blind-spot warning system. It also includes chrome grille accents, nicer seat fabric, push-button start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The top-level SEL gets paddle shifters, LED headlights, leather seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, and a head-up display. You can also add a Touring package to the SEL, which includes a power panoramic sunroof, an upgraded Rockford Fosgate audio system, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, and roof rails.

What does the future hold: Mitsubishi is introducing a redesigned Eclipse Cross for the 2022 model year. See 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross models for sale near you

2021 Kia Seltos

2021 Kia Seltos Front Right Side in Green
2021 Kia Seltos in Mars Orange

Base price: $23,110  / Read our 2021 Kia Seltos Review

What we like: Spunky and rugged design; exceptional warranty; AWD standard on most models; optional turbo engine.

What we would change: Base model lacks an active safety suite instead of standard AWD.

Overview: The 2021 Seltos is an all-new crossover that slots between the Soul and the Sportage in Kia’s lineup. It has a sleek yet boxy and rugged design. Unlike other crossovers in which front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional, the Seltos makes AWD standard on all but one trim. The Seltos also takes a different approach to pricing, with essentially two base models. The LX gets AWD standard but not active safety features, while the S has those safety features but is FWD, with AWD optional. All other trims get both the safety suite and AWD standard. Along with AWD, the Kia Seltos backs up its adventurous attitude with features like lock mode that splits power 50/50 to the front and rear wheels for better traction. Thanks to the Seltos’ boxy design, it has a roomier-than-expected interior and cargo room.

What’s new for 2021: The Kia Seltos is a brand-new model.

Features and technology: The 2021 Seltos comes in five trims: LX, S, EX, S Turbo, and SX Turbo. AWD is standard on all Seltos models except the S. It’s a $1,500 option on the S, and it’s grouped with heated front seats. Even the base LX includes a 2.0-liter engine with CVT automatic transmission, 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless entry, and 17-inch alloy wheels. In the S model and up, you get active safety features such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and driver-attention monitor. Optional on other trims is a higher-powered turbocharged engine, blind-spot monitoring, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and adaptive cruise control.

What does the future hold: The Kia Seltos just debuted this year, making it one of the freshest SUVs you can buy. Kia hasn’t said what might be next for the Seltos, but we think it has a bright future in Kia’s lineup. See 2021 Kia Seltos models for sale near you

Eclipse Cross vs. Seltos: Strengths Comparison

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs 2021 Kia Seltos
Left: The 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross rear cargo space. Right: The 2021 Kia Seltos rear cargo space

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Benefits: Lower starting price; ride quality.

 Kia Seltos Benefits: More cargo room and interior space; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; optional turbo engine.

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs. 2021 Kia Seltos: Which Is Better?

2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross vs 2021 Kia Seltos
Above: The 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in Red Diamond Below: The 2021 Kia Seltos in Mars Orange

While Mitsubishi is ready to revamp the Eclipse Cross for 2022, the Kia Seltos has more traditional SUV looks, more technology like an available 10.25-inch touchscreen, and more power thanks to its optional turbo engine. The Seltos also has a phenomenal warranty. For our money, we’d go with the Seltos. See 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross models for sale or See 2021 Kia Seltos models for sale

Popular Powertrains 2021 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross 2021 Kia Seltos
Engine 1.5-liter turbo I4 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower 152 hp @ 5,500 rpm 146 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 184 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission CVT CVT
Fuel Economy 27 mpg (26 city/29 hwy) 31 mpg (29 city/34 hwy)
Also Available n/a 1.6-liter turbo I4; FWD
Basic warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 105.1 inches 103.5 inches
Overall Length 173.4 inches 172.0 inches
Width 71.1 inches 70.9 inches
Height 66.3 inches 63.6 inches
Turning Diameter 35.0 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.5 inches 40.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.3 inches 38.4 inches
Legroom, Front 40.9 inches 41.4 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.3 inches 38.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.2 inches 55.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.1 inches 54.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 94.6 cubic feet 102.2 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 48.9 cubic feet 26.6 cubic feet

Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett
Abigail Bassett is a freelance journalist based in L.A. and she's covered automotive topics for a variety of well-known outlets including Fortune, Forbes, CNN and Motor Trend. She's also a television and video host and regularly covers breaking news, social justice, technology, health and wellness, and science in addition to her car coverage. When she's not working on her next project she's... Read More about Abigail Bassett

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