The 2024 Kia Seltos has a unique feature for distracted drivers

The 2024 Kia Seltos is one of those “new to me” vehicles. Debuting a few years ago, this subcompact SUV never quite made it out to where I live for a test, so it hasn’t really been on my radar. A sporty turbo-charged version arrived for a week-long test, and I was surprised by one innovative feature.

During several drives through heavy traffic, side-streets, and around town without much traffic, I noticed the Seltos would alert me when I arrived at a stoplight and didn’t react when the light turned green. If the car in front of me pulled away, the Seltos would show an icon (part of the Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go system) that the car in front of me had started driving.

This is more unique than you might realize. After 14 years of testing cars, I’ve never seen that before. I have seen many cars with adaptive cruise control which adjust your speed automatically based on the car in front of you. I have also used stop-and-go driving systems in Volvo cars and other models, which will resume driving after you stop and adjust to traffic automatically, even at low speeds or from a full stop.

What’s new to me in the Seltos is that I wasn’t even using adaptive cruise at the time. An icon appeared alerting me that it was time to start driving again.

I should point out right away that I never look at my phone while driving, especially since I am always connected to Apple CarPlay anyway. There’s no reason to look at my phone since texts appear in the center display. I am known to look around at stoplights, though. “I wonder why no one ever goes to that coffee hut over there?” “Is this a place where I might need to think about deer crossing at night?” “What did I have for lunch today, because I completely forgot?”

It’s not an attention problem, it’s just part of my DNA. I am a curious and inquisitive person, and I’m constantly analyzing everything. I will analyze people, things, cars, traffic congestion — you name it.

Several times while driving the Seltos, I saw an icon appear with the alert, which is hard to admit — it means I was daydreaming or looking around, not paying attention to the green light. I don’t think I’m alone in this, since I notice a lot of people these days seem distracted by life. I can only assume they are not analyzing as much as me, but they do seem distracted, worried, and possibly even looking at their phones while stopped (or, worse yet, while driving).

Distractions have become more pronounced these days, so it’s a novel feature that worked wonders when it came to alerting me about needing to pay attention and keep up with the traffic lights and other traffic. It also wasn’t completely annoying, but instead was helpful and not that obtrusive. I liked how the icon doesn’t flash red or beep like crazy.

Modern cars will need features like these in an age of distraction and especially as more and more automations appear in cars. The Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go feature will actually resume the car for you, although I tend to not use that in heavy traffic. It’s a feature that comes in handy in light congestion, since it’s more of an automation and safety feature than purely practical.

For me, it just meant I joined the flow of traffic faster. While I never did figure out why no one ever goes to that coffee hut, I didn’t have as much time to ponder the problem.