The Kia Telluride remains one of the most sought-after vehicles in its class. This three-row, midsize crossover utility vehicle rolled out in 2020 to critical acclaim. Consumers prize it for its rugged looks, upscale interior, robust powertrain, and decent value. Finding one, though, remains a challenge and typically requires thorough research and patience for shoppers.
Kia Telluride Overview
Introduced in 2020, the Telluride is the flagship utility vehicle in Kia’s fleet. This model slots above the Kia Sorento, itself the previous flagship. Like the Telluride, the Sorento is a midsize crossover, but it is slightly smaller and less roomy than the Telluride.
From its onset, demand for the Telluride has outstripped supply as Kia struggles to keep up. As a result, to this day customers may find it difficult to locate one. Moreover, dealer markups of more than $10,000 are possible, an unheard-of amount for a Kia vehicle until now.
Since its inception, the Kia Telluride has benefited from updates. Beginning in 2021, the Telluride received a Nightfall Edition package that includes blacked-out wheels and trim. For 2022, this model receives standard driver-assist technologies across its trim range. Further, dual-zone climate control and a 10.25-inch display screen are standard.
Looking ahead to 2023, the Kia Telluride is refreshed. This mid-product-cycle upgrade includes revised front and rear styling. Also, additional driver-assist tech and an updated interior rollout. Finally, a pair of X grades debut – X-Line and X-Pro.
Kia Telluride Highlights
There is much to consider when contemplating a Kia Telluride. First, it is available in four grades with 2023 prices ranging from $35,690 to $52,875. That’s a considerable price hike over 2022 as our specifications show below. Add $1,335 for the destination charge, and that’s also an increase this year.
Kia further breaks down the Telluride’s grades into 10 configurations. Thanks to new X-Line and X-Pro packages, the 2023 Telluride has far more choices than before. Our test model, though, was a 2022 Kia Telluride SX Prestige with all-wheel drive. The sticker price came in at just under $50,000. For 2023, expect a fully loaded, top-configuration model to cost upwards of $55,000. Yet, that threshold remains within the range of competing midsize models.
In developing the Telluride, Kia sought to create an SUV with a rugged look. The company’s designers succeeded in that endeavor. Indeed, the Telluride features a squared body, not unlike traditional body-on-frame models that once dominated the segment.
This model has a bold front end with rectangular headlights and LED touches. A broad hood, strong shoulders, and upright roof pillars combine to advance a powerful stance. Robust wheel wells, a high beltline, and subtle signature lines and body sculpting are other features of note. Kia ties it all together with a rear fascia that features boomerang tail lights.
An assortment of wheel choices can be had with the 2022 Telluride. A sunroof or in some cases a panoramic sunroof is on the available list. LED fog lights and a hands-free tailgate are available.
Whether seating is for seven or eight, the Telluride’s interior is impressive, especially further up the grade range. We’re partial, though, to seven-passenger models as the middle-row captain’s chairs are quite comfortable. Moreover, the chairs make it easier to access and egress the third row. Further, the rear-seating passengers will find legroom marginally increased.
The Telluride supplies up to 87 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the second and third-row seats folded. That expands on the standard 21 cubic feet or 46 cubic feet behind the second row.
Imitation leather seats come standard, while real hides are available. Dual-zone climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are also standard equipment.
Move up through the grades and features such as power-controlled front seats come in. Heated front seats, ventilated front seats, heated outboard second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel are available. Other features include ambient lighting, stainless steel pedals, second-row sunshades, and a premium headliner.
Ample Safety Features
We expect a long list of driver-assist technologies in today’s vehicles. The Kia Telluride does not disappoint.
Every model comes with forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking. Lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control with full stop and go are standard. The list continues and includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.
Depending on the chosen grade (or package), there are other features available. These include automatic high-beam headlights, a surround-view parking camera system, front parking sensors, and a head-up display. Rain-sensing wipers are also available.
Loads of Technology
Kia continuously improves the Telluride to help it stay on top of its class. In the tech arena, all grades come with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display. A 6-speaker audio system is standard as are six USB ports. Other standard features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, navigation, and satellite radio.
Beginning with the SX grade, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system comes in. This grade also gains a 7-inch instrument cluster display and a 115-volt power outlet for the SX Prestige.
We give Kia credit for supplying the Telluride with a strong powertrain. The 3.8-liter V6 powering the Telluride is not new – it has been in the Hyundai-Kia fold for more than a decade. This engine makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Power routes to the wheels employing an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Telluride supplies robust step-off acceleration and works its way up to highway speed with ease. However, we did notice that sometimes the transmission takes its time shifting to a lower gear under hard acceleration. The feeling parallels the sensation drivers may experience with turbo lag. The Kia’s engine, though, is naturally aspirated. It’s just that the transmission doesn’t always work seamlessly in the background.
We like the Telluride’s weighted steering and decent-for-an-SUV handling. The Telluride supplies a comfortable ride and the body roll on curvy roads is normal for the segment. Firm brakes bring this SUV to a sure stop.
The 2022 Telluride is rated to pull 5,000 pounds. For 2023, that number increases to 5,500 pounds, which places it above most competitors except for the Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and Dodge Durango.
We like the Telluride’s all-wheel-drive system. Available across all grades, AWD is useful for slippery roads or where wintry conditions are common. The Telluride has decent off-road command too, although keeping it on well-worn trails is advised. For 2023, a pair of “X” grades bring slightly higher ground clearance and improved approach and departure angles. All-terrain tires should help matters as well.
Besides the Sorento, the Kia Telluride operates in a crowded segment. The Hyundai Palisade is similar underneath, but more polished overall.
Other models to consider include the Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The Volkswagen Atlas, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, and GMC Acadia all compete. Finally, the Toyota Highlander and the Honda Pilot are both worth considering.
As of this writing, you won’t find a new 2022 Telluride as the 2023s have arrived. If you want one, you’ll need to show much patience and expect to pay above list price to acquire a Telluride. Otherwise, for those willing to compromise on space, a Kia Sorento might serve as a fitting substitute.
2022 Kia Telluride Specifications
|Segment||Midsize, Three-Row CUV|
|Price Range||$33,390 to $49,235|
|Engine No. 1||3.8-liter, V6|
|Horsepower||291 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||262 @ 5,200 rpm|
|Curb Weight (pounds)||4,134 to 4,439|
|Headroom (f,r…inches)||40.9, 40.2, 38.1|
|Legroom (f,r…inches)||44.1, 42.4, 31.4|
|Shoulder room (f,r…inches)||61.6, 61.2, 55.3|
|Hip room (f,r…inches)||58.9, 58.0, 43.7|
|Storage (bed length)||21.0/46.0/87.0|
|Gross vehicle weight (pounds)||5,578 to 5,917|
|Payload (pounds)||1,367 to 1,664|
|Fuel Tank (gallons)||18.8|
|EPA Fuel MPG (city/highway/combined)||20/26/23 (FWD); 18/24/21 (AWD)|
|Manufacturing Plant||West Point, Georgia|
Specifications supplied by the manufacturer. Statistics compiled by Tom Keegan.
See Also — The Kia Telluride Luxury SUV
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