It’s not surprising that the 2023 Kia Telluride is so popular since it’s a well-rounded SUV with good looks and a low price. The Telluride comes with a lot of standard features, and the top trim gives you an experience that is on par with SUVs that cost twice as much. The Telluride feels refined on the road, too, thanks to its smooth-running V-6 engine, quiet cabin, and sure-footed handling.
The Telluride can pull up to 5500 pounds, so it can be used to move a small boat or camper. Its spacious and comfortable cabin is perfect for long-distance cruising. The Telluride not only does its job perfectly, but it also sets the bar for the rest of the mid-size crossover class.
What’s New for 2023?
In 2023, the Telluride will get a styling update that will make it look even better. This will include a new grille, new headlights, and a new front bumper. Inside, Kia has added a new instrument panel that is all digital and has two 12.3-inch screens for entertainment and gauges.
We’ve seen similar layouts on luxury cars like the BMW iX, the Cadillac Escalade, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS-class, so it looks like Kia is taking a page from the class above. A Wi-Fi hotspot and navigation are now standard on all of the models. The X-line and X-Pro trims look more rugged and give the Telluride its maximum towing capacity of 5,500 pounds.
Telluride LX — From $34,015
The Telluride LX has a leatherette interior with an eight-way power driver seat and a four-way power passenger seat. It also has a leather-wrapped steering wheel and automatic climate control in two zones. Buyers also get 18-inch alloy wheels, remote start, and proximity key access.
Telluride S — From $36,515
The S gets a sunroof, heated front seats, a shift knob wrapped in leather, satin chrome accents on the outside, and 20-inch wheels.
Telluride EX — From $39,015
The EX comes with real leather upholstery, ventilated front seats with eight-way passenger power, woodgrain interior accents, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power liftgate, rear sunshades, and a woodgrain steering wheel.
The outside gets 18-inch wheels with a machined finish and side mirrors that fold in automatically. The EX Premium Package costs $1,695, and it adds LED headlights, captain’s chairs in the second row, roof rails, and 20-inch wheels. The $1,395 EX Nightfall Edition Package has black wheels and trims on the outside.
Telluride SX — From $43,915
The SX moves upmarket with two sunroofs, a 10-way power driver seat with memory, a universal home remote, ambient interior lighting, LED fog lights, and unique 20-inch black wheels.
AWD models can get the $2,300 SX Prestige Package, which includes Nappa leather seats, a head-up display, heated and ventilated second-row seats, automatic wipers, and a better timer. On the SX, you can still get the Night Fall Edition Package.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Telluride has a naturally aspirated V-6 engine that makes 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Its engine is paired with an automatic transmission with eight speeds that sends power to the front wheels as standard. An all-wheel drive is also an option for all models.
The fastest we could get the top-of-the-line Telluride SX to go was 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. But at low speeds, the big Kia didn’t feel as responsive to the throttle as some of its turbocharged competitors did. The Telluride has a firm ride, and rough pavement can sometimes make the three-row SUV go in the wrong direction.
There is also a self-leveling air suspension for the back. The brakes are great, and the steering is accurate and has a nice weight to it. The Telluride has a ground clearance of 8 inches, so it can go off-roading, and it can tow up to 5500 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Unlike many of its competitors, the Telluride only comes with a V-6 engine. The version with front-wheel drive gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. All-wheel-drive models get 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which is a little higher than the Volkswagen Atlas and a little lower than the Honda Pilot.
On our 75 mph highway fuel-economy test route, the all-wheel-drive Telluride got 24 mpg, which is the same as what the government says it should get. During our real-world test, the Atlas got 24 mpg and the Pilot got 27 mpg. Visit the EPA’s website to learn more about Telluride’s gas mileage.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
No matter what people think of Telluride’s bold exterior, its interior is high-end and comfortable. The build quality is great, the materials look nice, and there are a lot of features that people want. The SX trim has the most luxurious features, such as a driver’s seat with memory settings, a head-up display, heated and ventilated rear seats, a premium headliner, and Nappa leather upholstery.
Because the Telluride is a few inches longer than the seven-passenger Kia Sorento, its cabin is even roomier, especially for those in the very back seat. With a second-row bench seat or the optional captain’s chairs, there is room for eight people. There was a lot of storage space inside the cabin, and we were able to fit four carry-on suitcases behind the third row and 35 carry-ons when both back rows were folded down.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Telluride has a powerful infotainment system with a 12.3-inch touchscreen and popular features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, in-dash navigation, and Wi-Fi. A 10-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, a 110-volt power inverter, and wireless charging for smartphones are also available. Driver Talk makes the driver’s voice louder and sends it to the back two rows through speakers. This makes it easier for the driver to talk to people in the back.
2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD
VEHICLE TYPE front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED $46,910 (base price: $44,585)
ENGINE TYPE DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block, and heads, direct fuel injection Displacement 231 cu in, 3778 cc Power 291 hp @ 6000 rpm Torque 262 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm