The Kia Telluride has come into the market to shake things up and it has done so in its short three years of existence fundamentally becoming a benchmark for mainstream midsized 3-row crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). For the 2022 model year, the Kia Telluride remains mostly the same to age gracefully as it receives its new brand badging on the front grille and rear power liftgate. Otherwise, Kia makes the advanced driver-assist safety tech, 10.25-inch touchscreen, and dual-zone automatic climate control standard across all trim levels.
Kia basically changed the expectations for the CUV segment for both the mainstream and many luxury offerings. As a top-rated vehicle for its segment from many well-recognized automotive outlets, the Kia Telluride sets a tone for others to follow in building a decent CUV/SUV. The long list of standard features, a well-to-do drivetrain, and plenty of thoughtful accommodations go the distance to keep the Telluride at the top of the shopping list for many established and growing American families.
Powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque sending power to either the front wheels or all four, the Telluride isn’t exactly fast but it has just the right amount of power to avoid complaints. The 8-speed automatic transmission does its shifting duties without issue in a smooth and somewhat predictable manner. The suspension is dialed in nearly perfect for a nice balance of comfort and the proper amount of feedback, so the driver knows exactly what the large 3-row crossover is doing. The only drawback I find is I could use a bit more power when you have a full load of passengers and their stuff inching close to the max payload of 1,565 pounds. However, the overall appeal of the Telluride makes for a balanced driving experience with just the right amount of advanced safety tech to master the road ahead.
Zero to 60 mph ticks off in 7.2 seconds in my loaded-up Telluride SX V6 AWD test vehicle. You’re able to tow up to 5,000 pounds adding to the versatility of such a vehicle.
The fuel economy is consistent to match and sometimes best the EPA estimates of 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined in the AWD version, which is available in any of the four core trim levels. If you opt for the front-wheel-drive Telluride you’ll improve upon the fuel economy to get 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.
As I have praised in my previous review of the Kia Telluride in a stylish Nightfall Edition trim, Kia pulled out all the stops when it comes to making such a vehicle family-friendly through thoughtful amenities for all three rows of seats. Having the 7-passenger seating configuration in the Telluride SX trim with many forward-thinking features, such as a plethora of USB ports for everyone, easy access sliding seats, and a nifty Driver Talk system that amplifies the driver’s voice to reach all passengers in the back make it all well worth its price of admission.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment unit is among the best in the mainstream with easy use and a short learning curve. The Telluride’s heated and ventilated front seats are mostly common but having the second row also heated and ventilated is still a rarity for vehicles outside of the luxury segments, more of Kia elevating the expectations of SUVs.
There’s also the expected tech of having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration along with a plethora of active safety features, including, forward collision avoidance assist, highway driving assist, lane-keeping assist, safe exit assist, smart cruise control with stop & go, and blind spot monitors, and a unique blind-spot view monitor (displays a live camera feed in the center gauge cluster screen of the blind spot according to which direction you turn your blinker on).
Part of the Kia Telluride’s attractiveness, apart from its straightforward and decent exterior look, is the pricing that starts at just $33,390 for the base LX trim. Still, moving up to the top SX trim you’re looking at a starting price of $43,290. Opting for my loaded Telluride SX AWD trim with the SX Prestige option package you have an MSRP of $47,895 and an out-the-door price of $49,120 when you include the $1,225 inland friend and handling fee.