Kia Telluride – Already superb SUV only gets better for 2023

By Jim Prueter

(December 28, 2022) It’s the hottest 8-seat, 3-row SUV on the market with such a selling success that Kia literally can’t build enough of them to meet consumer demand. So much so that Kia is upping production at its West Point, Ga., manufacturing plant by 25 percent to around 120,000 a year.  It’s  the 4th bestselling 3-row SUV in America. In fact, it’s the one I recommend the most for anyone looking for a family friendly 3-row vehicle. 

First released for the 2020 model year and now for the fourth year of its lifecycle, the 2023 Kia Telluride gets a styling refresh including a new updated grille, redesigned LED headlamps, and a new front bumper and fascia.

Inside, Kia has a new all-digital instrument panel with dual 12.3-inch LED screens that serves as the infotainment center and gauge displays. Navigation is now standard for all Telluride trim levels and there’s two new rugged rugged looking trim levels for 2023, the X-Line tested here and X-Pro for heavier towing duty.  

The X-Line features standard all-wheel drive, a higher ground clearance, improved off-road approach and departure angles, upgraded traction control system and downhill brake control. While still not a hard-core off-road vehicle, the X-Line will help it track further through urban, suburban off-road and ranch-style landscapes.  Other features include exclusive 20-inch black wheels and all-terrain Continental tires.

Every Telluride is powered by a smooth operating 3.8-liter 261-horsepower V6 engine with enough power to satisfy most buyers. Driver’s get a choice of five drive modes – Smart, Eco, Sport, Comfort or Snow each using different settings for powertrain, drivetrain, and steering effort mapping to provide the desired driving experience. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard.

The Telluride offers a generous complement of standard features with our test SX delivering a near-luxury experience loaded with high-end features including a Harman/Kardon stereo, front and rear sunroofs, second-row captain’s chairs, quilted Napa leather seat trim, heated and cooled front and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, smart power rear liftgate, self-leveling rear suspension, head-up display, Sirius XM, wireless phone charging and more.

Overall, the Telluride with its unquestionably upscale interior and passenger comfort, along with superb build quality and premium materials rival luxury SUV competitors that cost almost twice the price.

Add the comprehensive suite of driver-assistance and safety technology (all standard) including a 360-degree camera system, blind-spot view monitoring that actually projects an image of the vehicle in your blind spot, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, safe vehicle exit assist, a feature called Driver Talk that amplifies the driver’s voice through speakers in the back two rows and finally the best new car powertrain warranty in the business, Telluride is the complete package and a wonderful vehicle to drive and own making it perhaps the best choice in midsize SUVs

Vital Stats

Base Price: $51,785
Price as Tested: $54,120
Engine/Transmission: 3.8-liter 261 horsepower V6 engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard 4-wheel drive
EPA Fuel Economy: 18/24/21 mpg City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 7 or 8

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Overall four out of five stars for frontal crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Where Built: West Point, Georgia

Competes With:
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Traverse
Dodge Durango
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot and Passport
Hyundai Palisade
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Nissan Pathfinder
Toyota Highlander
Volkswagen Atlas

Near-luxury at a bargain price
Superb build quality, refined, premium materials
Stylish, comfortable, loaded with standard features

Marginal fuel-efficiency