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2022 Kia Seltos vs Chevrolet Trailblazer

Compact crossovers collide in this 2022 Kia Seltos vs Chevrolet Trailblazer matchup that looks tight on paper but isn’t quite so in reality.

Subcompact Showdown

kia.com | chevrolet.com
kia.com | chevrolet.com

Automakers continue to slice and dice the SUV segment into smaller pieces as evidenced by the Kia Seltos and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Chevy takes the cake on overall number of SUVs at seven, though Kia is right behind them with six different nameplates to choose from. Seltos slots between Kia’s animated hamster-mobile Soul and mid-size Sportage, while Chevy’s Trailblazer sits above the wee Trax and below the Equinox.

Both of these cute-utes were brand new in 2021, but the Trailblazer happens to have a somewhat confusing naming history. There is currently a larger Blazer in the Chevy SUV lineup, a badge that dates to the 70s. On top of that, the TrailBlazer formerly existed as a large-ish SUV in the early aughts with a capital “B”. Today, the Trailblazer is a compact crossover that aligns very nicely with its Kia Seltos competitor, but if you need more clarity, check out our Blazer Through The Years article.

Kia Seltos vs Chevrolet Trailblazer Specs

2022 Kia Seltos 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com
2022 Kia Seltos 2.0L I4 - carsforsale.com

The entry-level 2022 Kia Seltos engine is a 2.0L inline-4 making 146 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque mated to a CVT. AWD is actually the base trim drivetrain setup, though FWD is used throughout the lineup. Only available with AWD on Nightfall Edition and SX Turbo models is a turbocharged 1.6L I4 that pairs with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission to make 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque.

Chevy offers a pair of turbocharged I3 motors, one displacing 1.2 liters and the other 1.3 liters. The 1.2L mill, rated for 137 hp, is paired with a CVT and can only be found on LS and LT trim with FWD. If AWD is a requirement, you’ll need the 1.3L engine that produces 155 horses and 174 lb-ft of torque. It can run the front wheels via CVT or all four via 9-speed automatic.

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3L I3 - carsforsale.com
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer 1.3L I3 - carsforsale.com

These little crossovers are within a whisker of each other dimensionally at 172” long for the Kia versus 173.5” for the Chevy. Weight hovers in the 3,000-pound range across both boards, but the Seltos pulls ahead in the warranty department. Basic vehicle coverage runs for 5 years or 60,000-miles and the powertrain is covered for a 10-year/100,000-mile term. Chevy does include the first factory-scheduled service free, but a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain term fall short.

Driving and Performance

2022 Kia Seltos - kia.com
2022 Kia Seltos - kia.com

Kia gives Seltos drivers the option to select from Normal, Eco, or Sport modes. Combined with standard torque vectoring control, a roughly 3,000-pound curb weight and the turbocharged motor means Sport mode should provide spirited handling. However, to ensure things don’t get overly spirited, the Kia Seltos is fitted with several advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) under the company’s DriveWise umbrella. That includes forward collision assist, automated emergency braking, and lane keeping assist with lane departure warning.

Higher Seltos trim levels add on to this list with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and highway driving assist that acts as a semi-autonomous driving mode. Chevy’s Trailblazer mostly follows suit here with standard forward collision assist, automated emergency braking, and lane keeping assist with lane departure warning. Both trucklets also have automatic high beam control and available adaptive cruise control, but you will not find hands-free capability on the Trailblazer.

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer - chevrolet.com
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer - chevrolet.com

Fuel efficiency is similar between the Seltos and Trailblazer depending on engine and drivetrain. Kia’s base four-cylinder with FWD is estimated to achieve 29 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway or 27 mpg and 31 mpg, respectively, when equipped with AWD. Chevy’s base engine option, which is FWD only, has estimates of 29 mpg around town and 31 on the highway. Moving up to the Trailblazer’s 1.3L motor results in 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg for highway driving, swapping in AWD on drops the highway number to 31 mpg. Kia falls behind here with their optional, AWD-only turbocharged mill achieving 25 mpg in city driving and 30 mpg on the highway.

Comfort and Interior

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Though nearly identical in overall length, it’s not the same story inside. With the back seats folded flat, you can cram about 63 cubic feet of stuff into the 2022 Kia Seltos. On the Chevy, that metric is only 54 cu-ft, but the Trailblazer can fold its front passenger seat flat to accommodate skinny cargo up to 8 ½ feet long. Both crossovers feature 60/40 split-fold rear benches and dual-level rear cargo areas, but only the Trailblazer has available active noise cancellation to quiet outside noise.

The current automotive supply chain headaches seem to be impacting Chevrolet more than Kia, as the Seltos comes with heated front seats on EX models and above. Meanwhile, the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer online configurator notes a $50 credit for the unavailability of this feature. Aside from that, the Trailblazer does offer a host of amenities like a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and automatic climate control.

Like the Chevy, Kia’s Seltos comes with black cloth upholstery on base models and faux-leather material higher up the food chain. Automatic HVAC control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and leather-wrapped steering wheel are also on tap. However, the sunroof is of the traditional, non-panoramic variety.

Trims and Features

2022 Kia Seltos Nightfall Edition - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Seltos Nightfall Edition - kiamedia.com

In an unusual move, Kia makes AWD standard on their entry-level LX model. Stickering at $22,590, it has the smaller motor, 17” alloy wheels, and an 8” infotainment touchscreen with Apple and Android smartphone integration. For just $200 more, the S trim has standard FWD and makes AWD a $1500 option, but offers a two-tone exterior finish, automatic climate control, and an upsized 10” display that includes navigation.

Mid-level Seltos EX comes with AWD, a sunroof, heated front seats, and wireless charging for about $26,000, but only the Nightfall Edition and above can be had with the turbocharged motor. As it sounds, Nightfall models are blacked-out including the 18” alloys, special front grille, and exterior bits. Atop the 2022 Kia Seltos trim hierarchy is the $28,090 SX Turbo. Along with the beefier engine, there is a Bose audio system with “mood lamp”, 7” digital gauge cluster, LED headlights, and added ADAS like Smart Cruise Control. For a deeper dive on the 2022 Kia Seltos, check out our review here.

2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV - chevrolet.com
2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer ACTIV - chevrolet.com

The 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer LS at about the same price as a base Seltos, but AWD will cost you another $2000. Like the Kia, it comes with 17” wheels and Wi-Fi, but the 7” infotainment interface is a touch smaller. AWD remains optional throughout the Trailblazer lineup, including the $25,000 LT that comes with heated side mirrors and remote engine start. For $1770, the Sun and Liftgate package adds a panoramic sunroof and hands-free rear hatch.

Trailblazer ACTIV starts at $26,895 and offers a white or bronze contrasting roof, black-finished wheels, and off-road suspension tune. A handsome black-and-tan interior scheme includes leatherette upholstery, but to access the larger 8” display, Bose stereo, and LED headlights, you’ll need the $1620 Technology package. Top-tier RS trim is identically priced to the ACTIV, but adds 18” wheels, access to an eye-popping Oasis Blue paint job, and black upholstery with red interior accents.

Conclusions

2022 Kia Seltos - kia.com
2022 Kia Seltos - kia.com

This Kia Seltos vs Chevrolet Trailblazer comparison looks like a tight matchup with similar size, level of amenities, and available advanced safety features found across the board. However, the 2022 Kia Seltos pulls ahead for a number of reasons. On the performance front, it has a more powerful optional motor and AWD is available for less money. Amenities wise, heated seats are available and overall, the screen real estate is a factor bigger than anything found on the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Lastly, that 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is 40,000 miles beyond what Chevy offers, giving the Kia Seltos a win. Check out our comparison here to see how the Trailblazer’s corporate cousin GMC Terrain fared against the Seltos.

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Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his 1990 Cherokee and 1989 Starion, so it’s not surprising that he would put his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire to use in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer. Now engineering sentence structures, his writing infuses his auto experience with his time in marketing and his sales experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he focuses on some of the more technical mechanical systems that are found under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

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