2023 Kia Telluride Overview: Nonetheless Nice, Duh

Typically—as followers of automobiles and individuals who take into account themselves read-up on the happenings of the automotive business—we neglect most of the people isn’t on the identical web page as us. By now, these of us who’re plugged in know that the South Korean automakers have been kicking absolute ass with regards to delivering automobiles individuals wish to purchase at costs they’re prepared to pay. It’ll take a bit longer earlier than the much less enlightened will assume to utter “Kia” in the identical sentence as “Toyota.” But when Kia retains up on delivering high quality stuff just like the 2023 Kia Telluride, it’ll solely be a matter of time.

One of many hottest-selling issues on the automotive market proper now’s a mid-size SUV with three rows of seats. Make it attractively styled and fairly reasonably priced and also you’ve received a successful method—to the purpose the place Kia couldn’t make sufficient Tellurides to maintain up with demand. 

If the Telluride’s present reputation is something to go by, all Kia has to do shouldn’t be mess something up with this 2023 refresh. Opposite to widespread perception, lightning can and infrequently will strike twice in the identical place, and Kia’s at the moment standing outdoors with a lightning rod raised larger than anybody else.

2023 Kia Telluride Overview Specs

  • Base worth (SX X-Line AWD as examined): $37,025 ($54,120)
  • Powertrain: 3.8-liter V6 | 8-speed computerized | front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • Horsepower: 291 @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
  • Seating capability: 7 or 8, relying on trim
  • Floor clearance: 8.4 inches
  • Curb weight: 4,378 kilos
  • Cargo house 

    • Behind second row: 46 cubic toes 
    • Behind third row: 21 cubic toes
  • Towing capability: 5,000 kilos
  • Off-road angles: 17.7° method | 23° departure
  • Gasoline economic system 

    • FWD: 20 mpg metropolis | 26 freeway | 23 mixed
    • AWD: 18 mpg metropolis | 24 freeway | 21 mixed
  • Fast take: The facelifted Telluride offers established luxurious manufacturers a run for his or her cash by constant high quality, consolation, and elegance. 
  • Rating: 8.5/10

The Fundamentals

Positioned above the smaller Sorento SUV, the three-row Telluride is Kia’s largest SUV. It first went on sale in 2019 and only in the near past underwent a refresh for the 2023 mannequin yr, which brings an up to date entrance and rear fascia and inside, and two new trims—X-Line and X-Professional—meant for gentle off-roading.

The outside adjustments are admittedly very minor. The headlight signature is now two vertical traces and not amber, and there are new grille and wheel designs. Nevertheless, the Telluride nonetheless maintains its handsomely blocky styling, which I believe will assist it age fairly nicely. The X-line take a look at automobile I drove had raised roof rails, trim-exclusive 20-inch wheels, and body-color door handles. As an added bonus, the Wolf Grey-painted exterior was implausible at hiding street grime.

Curved, twin 12.3-inch shows are maybe the most important change to the inside. Earlier than, the Telluride had that ugly screen-tacked-on-top-of-the-dashboard look; now, it’s a lot cleaner and much simpler to learn. Moreover, the HVAC vent shapes have been streamlined barely. Second-row passengers can settle into both a three-person bench seat or two particular person captain’s chairs, and third-row passengers get a three-person bench as the one possibility.

The powertrain goes unchanged: a 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 is the one engine obtainable and is paired with an eight-speed computerized which sends energy both to the entrance wheels or all 4 wheels, relying on which trim you choose. 

Driving the Kia Telluride

Curiously, regardless of its 8.4 inches of floor clearance, I didn’t must climb that far as much as get into the Telluride. In its highest setting for a shortie like me, the seat wasn’t an enormous step up, one thing that made ingress and egress thoughtlessly easy. For the slower and around-town stuff, the Telluride has that lumbering high quality that’s widespread to comfort-oriented SUVs. All skilled suggestions is delicate: light brakes, gentle steering, comfortable suspension, easily imperceptible transmission shifts. It’s not gradual, although; there’s loads of energy from the V6 to get it shifting. Not as soon as did I really feel like I couldn’t move or merge safely. The tester’s 360-degree digital camera made parallel parking a breeze and visibility—owing to the large and upright windshield—was clear and unhindered. 

The place the Telluride actually shone was on the freeway. There, the transmission parked itself in eighth gear and the engine spun quietly within the background. First rate NVH lower down on street and wind noise, and the automobile turned a giant and cozy rolling home that handled my passengers to wonderful legroom and top-notch naps. A way of safety emanated from the Telluride, prefer it was content material to cruise and never a lot might upset it whereas it carried out this process. There’s an “eco” mode for extra environment friendly driving, which is what I used throughout most of my mortgage. I did most of my driving on highways, and by the tip of my journey, the automobile’s journey laptop reported a mean of twenty-two.8 mpg.

Kristen Lee

And since it’s a Kia/Hyundai product, the Telluride got here outfitted with the automaker’s wonderful Freeway Driving Help system. With radar cruise management on and lane-keeping activated, all I needed to do was maintain my palms on the wheel and a watch out whereas the automobile did the remaining. It watched all the opposite automobiles in neighboring lanes and easily adjusted its velocity to suit with the stream of visitors. 

The Highs and Lows

“This is sort of a Vary Rover!” have been my dad’s first phrases when he climbed into the passenger seat. Certainly, the take a look at automobile was lined in plush tan leather-based, brushed metallic accents, and what seemed to be open-pore wooden. The entire thing was extremely upscale to the sight and contact, and it was with a sure smugness that I reminded myself that I used to be sitting in a Kia. The inside format was intuitive and accommodating, and the large, single-slab display screen supplied clear and easy-to-read shows. As with the Kia Sorento I examined earlier this yr, the second row supplied numerous room and enjoyable seats. All in all, this isn’t a spot you’d thoughts spending a number of hours in because the miles fell away.

Although the Telluride technically has a third-row bench seat, it’d be a reasonably tight squeeze for those who needed to really match three adults again there. You might do it, definitely, however after I climbed again there myself, I believed my dad and mom’ 2018 Chevy Traverse has an even bigger and extra accommodating third row. 

Kia Telluride Options, Choices, and Competitors

Base LX-trim Tellurides include the V6, the eight-speed transmission, front-wheel drive, the 12.3-inch touchscreen, cruise management, a collection of driver security options, and may seat eight passengers through a second-row bench seat. MSRP for these begins at $37,025. The take a look at automobile got here within the upper-tier SX X-Line AWD trim—which incorporates 20-inch black alloy wheels, X-Line exterior styling, a tow mode, and self-leveling rear suspension—and had a beginning MSRP of $53,120. After choices such because the Wolf Grey exterior paint ($495), Terracotta Inside Shade Package deal ($295), and carpeted ground mats ($210), complete car MSRP got here to $54,120. 

Kristen Lee

As for the competitors, the Kia Sorento ($31,285 beginning MSRP) has extra powertrain choices, you may get the Dodge Durango ($40,090 beginning MSRP) with a V8, the Honda Pilot ($39,375 beginning MSRP) is roomier, the Mazda CX-9 ($40,025 beginning MSRP) is extra trendy however affords far much less inside room, and it looks as if everybody has the Toyota Highlander ($37,755 beginning MSRP). There’s a purpose why the Highlander and Pilot are perennial favorites (worth, house, reliability, you identify it), however for those who’re trying to break freed from what the lots are doing, the Telluride affords a pleasant various. 


Sadly, the Telluride does seem to lag behind its opponents with regards to effectivity. That large V6 simply can’t compete with the smaller engines within the Highlander and Pilot.


I’d hoped that with the Telluride refresh, Kia would additionally give us a number of totally different engine choices. Maybe a weaker however extra environment friendly four-cylinder or a hybrid or plug-in hybrid possibility just like the Sorento’s received. However, no. The one engine obtainable is the aged V6 which will get belowish-average fuel mileage for an SUV of this dimension and weight. Lately, nevertheless, Toyota added a four-cylinder engine to its Highlander lineup, so it’s potential that Kia might do the identical sooner or later.

Worth and Verdict

Value-wise, the Telluride is a reasonably whole lot in opposition to the competitors. It is priced under principally each single competitor that I listed, and the one purpose the Sorento is cheaper is as a result of it’s a tiny bit smaller (and has a slightly pitiably sized cargo space). Even optioned out the wazoo, because the take a look at car was, I nonetheless felt prefer it justified the asking worth. Certainly, it did really feel like a $50,000 automobile. The inside was definitely on par with a number of the BMWs and Lexuses I’ve pushed.

Look, if you may get your palms on a 2023 Kia Telluride, do it. It’s a marvelously snug and engaging car that will get round with good floor clearance and all-wheel drive. Whereas its third row could also be just a little smaller than different three-row SUVs and it might use a extra environment friendly engine, the very fact stays that it’s Kia’s third best-selling car (behind the Forte and Sportage). With this refresh, Kia left a lot untouched as a result of it is aware of a superb factor when it sees one. So do all of you, apparently.

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