2022 Kia Seltos Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Engine & Structural issues are among the top complaints from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

Launched in the U.S. as a 2020 model, the 2022 Kia Seltos is a compact SUV that looks like it’s a lot of fun to drive. With Kia saying this model is “made to do more,” expectations are quite high among consumers. However, complaints about the model are starting to rack up, with customers talking about defective engines, transmission units that overheat, and poorly-built structures.

Click on other model year to view more problems:   2021   2023

Most Common Problems with the 2022 Kia Seltos

Problems experienced by owners of the 2022 Kia Seltos are varied. But the main problems currently relate to stalling engines and overheating transmission units. These same issues are also reported by owners of the debut 2021 model year Kia Seltos.

Additionally, there are several different issues relating to the structure of the SUV that are upsetting owners.

Lemberg Law regularly analyzes the complaints that consumers lodge with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which provides a reliable gauge of ongoing issues. There are 10 complaints on file from December 15, 2021, and October 12, 2022. They incorporate issues about 8 components, back over prevention, the electrical system, the engine, forward collision avoidance, lane departure, powertrain, structure, and wheels.

There are several complaints that are posted in the Unknown or Other category. These range from a spare tire being too small for the vehicle to a sunroof exploding for no apparent reason.

For example, an owner from Ohio states, “I had a flat tire and replaced it with the spare tire that came with the car. Because the vehicle is AWD, the tires need to be the same size, however, the spare tire was smaller. As a result, the car started smoking and driving very rough within 10 miles of the spare being put on. It turns out that the differential went out because the spare tire was rotating faster than the others.”

There are 29 manufacturer communications on file with the NHTSA, but none refer to the major powertrain and engine issues. However, there is a “voluntary service campaign” document that was issued by Kia in August 2022 that addresses the spare tire issue. It acknowledges the possibility of oil seal leaks, oil-burning smells, and smoke, but doesn’t mention tire size.

2022 Kia Seltos Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Power Train
Air Bags
Back Over Prevention: Sensing System: Camera
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings

Problems with the Transmission

There were lots of complaints about the transmission on the 2021 Kia Seltos literally breaking. But overheating of the transmission unit seems to be the primary transmission-related problem with the 2022 model.

An owner from Pennsylvania states in an NHTSA complaint that the transmission of the car started overheating in traffic about 6 weeks after it was bought. He wants it fixed or to be refunded, but Kia doesn’t seem to be accepting responsibility for the problem.

“Once the transmission overheated, the engine lost power. I was driving in busy traffic and had to pull the car over to allow the engine to cool down. The police came over and made me start driving my car again, indicating that I could not pull over in such busy traffic. This is a major risk to my safety and can potentially cause a car accident.”

The Kia dealership evaluated the problem and reported back to the owner that it was “a known defect” and that “there is nothing they could do to fix the car.”

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Problematic Engine Issues

No one expects the 2022 Kia Seltos engine to be comparable to a sports car, but it should still be reliable and dependable. Poor acceleration is irritating, but stalling engines simply aren’t safe. Some complaints mention both issues, suggesting that they are connected.

Stalling Issues

The complaint from an owner in New York states that the engine of his 2022 Seltos malfunctions and he wants help from the NHTSA to get a new engine. “My safety has been at risk when I am driving on the highway (at) 50 miles per hour.” The engine shuts off when turning the steering wheel to make a turn and while waiting at a red light. “However, it will start back up after I switch the gauge into Park and restart the car.” At the time of the complaint, Kia headquarters was evaluating the problem.

A young woman from Illinois has had similar experiences. The complaint states that twice the Seltos engine shut off completely at traffic lights and she lost power to the steering and brakes. A “battery discharge warning” flashed on her screen and she had to wait 20 minutes to restart the vehicle. This is a “dangerous situation at a busy intersection.” The first time it happened, the dealer could not find any problems. The second time, the complaint states, the dealer didn’t bother to call her back.

An owner from New York describes an experience where the Seltos “lost motive power and stalled without warning.’ When he restarted the vehicle, it entered a “limp mode as the vehicle would fail to accelerate above 40 mph with the accelerator pedal depressed to the floorboard.” Because the owner was unable to reach the manufacturer, the car had still not been repaired nearly 4 months after the incident.

Acceleration Problems

Several comments on Edmunds mention acceleration problems without complaining about stalling. One that awards 4 out of 5 stars to the Seltos says, simply: “The acceleration is lackluster, but that’s to be expected when you don’t get the turbocharged engine.”

Another one says, “The acceleration on this car is sluggish and unless you have a lead foot, you’ll have to get used to slowly accelerating.” This same user, who awarded 3 stars to the Seltos, also experienced error codes including the check engine light, code P226100. The dealership was unable to schedule an appointment for over a month but said that “if the check engine light isn’t blinking it is safe to keep driving”

Overall, this reviewer declares that the 2022 Kia Seltos offers an “underwhelming performance.”

Dissatisfaction with the Vehicle Structure

Many people are attracted to the 2022 Seltos because of the lower price and unique styling. But they don’t expect to get a brand-new SUV with structural problems.

An Edmunds review points out, “There’s quite a bit of wind and road noise while driving… The front seats can be a bit uncomfortable on long rides, especially for your lower back.” But that’s nothing compared to the complaints about shattering glass and exploding sunroofs.

Glass Shatters

A complaint to the NHTSA from an owner in Puerto Rico describes how the glass in his Seltos has shattered twice. The first time it happened was 20 minutes after taking delivery. “I heard a noise and looked and my glass had shattered.” The dealer replaced the glass but the same thing happened a little more than a month later. His concern is that the glass won’t stand up to impact if the car is in an accident.

Sunroof Explodes

Another NHTSA complaint describes how the sunroof of a 2022 Seltos belonging to an Oregon resident exploded suddenly. Although the shade was open, the sunroof itself was in a closed position. “I heard a terrible explosion suddenly and was startled. I was driving alone in the car. At first, I thought it was something nearby. Then I looked up and saw that the entire sunroof was shattered. (There was) glass all over the passenger seat and flying into the rear seat. Part of the sunroof glass was still intact, bowing outward.”

The Auto Body Shop recommended by the Kia dealership “said they had never seen anything like this before.” Their opinion was that “an explosion from within” caused the glass to bow outward.

After discovering that this has happened to other Kia models, the complainant filed a police report and asked Kia to investigate. “I am horrified by this experience and angry that this type of incident has apparently gone on for years with not only Kia cars but other cars with sunroofs exploding as well.” She said she will keep pursuing this with the Kia dealership and a Kia rep as well. “Why should my personal insurance company pay for this when Kia should take some responsibility? I am just glad that I was not injured physically.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

If you think you might have bought a lemon, you are welcome to phone the Lemberg Law Helpline or fill out a contact form. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners.

Lemberg Law will evaluate your problems free of charge because the law makes Kia pay legal fees for lemon law cases.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Shani V

    Car is less than 2 years old. Engine started knocking so we parked it. Had it towed to a mechanics. They said we would have to have KIA look at it. Had it towed there. Saying we need a new motor, and wanting all our maintenance records.

  • Zachary B

    I bought the 2022 Kia seltos soon as it came out in 2021, Preordered had 4 mi on it. Has 20k now and transmission has been over heating and very upsetting cause it’s a new vehicle and a majority still owed. Contacting dealership currently and working on resolutions cause their labor is ridiculous.

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