Tested: 2023 Kia Telluride

Practically every award-giving publication or organization in North America has named the Kia Telluride a winner. Such universal acclaim is rare, but clearly indicates the South Korean company has hit a home run, tapping into the hearts of the crossover-loving NA market.

Built at Kia’s giant plant in West Point, Georgia, the Telluride first appeared in 2019 as a 2020, model. Acceptance and praise was almost immediate. The plant runs 24 hours a day to keep up with demand.

The 2023 three-row Telluride has come in for a mild visual update, added technology and two additional trim levels atop the lineup. All trim levels get a new appearance up front with vertically stacked headlights. The taillights, bumpers at both ends, trim and side sills are all revised.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

Inside, the updates include dual 31-centimetre screens on top trim levels for gauge and infotainment housed in a single, and dramatic, curved display. The same upper trim levels get a large heads-up display. All 2023 Tellurides get revised trim, a new steering wheel and fresh interior colour choices.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

Two new trim levels for the top-of-the-line 2023 Kia Telluride

The tester was one of the new trim levels – the X-Line. Along with the X-Pro it brings a new level of standard equipment, and technology. Both get a slightly taller suspension and 10-mm more ground clearance, dark or glossy black trim, black headliner and unique seat trim. They also get a tow mode with specific transmission programming and trailer sway control.

The X-Line gets its own 20-inch alloy wheels, and the X-Pro gets exclusive 18-inchers wrapped in all-terrain-specific tires. The X-Pro also brings a 5,500 lb. towing capacity, and 110-volt outlet in the cargo area.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: KIA CANADA

 

The X-Line tag reads $60,995 and the X-Pro $62,595, before delivery. Other models in the line include the EX at $49,995, SX, $54,995 and SX Limited at $58,995. All come with a 291-horsepower 3.8-litre V6, eight speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel-drive.

 

In typical Kia fashion, value is paramount.

Even the most basic model comes with 20-inch machine-finished wheels, power folding mirrors, sunroof, 31-cm infotainment screen, 11-cm TFT instrument cluster, Bluetooth, voice recognition, eight-passenger seating, power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, Homelink, 110-volt outlet, tri-zone automatic climate control, tilt & telescope steering wheel, C-Type USB outlets on all three rows, wireless phone charging, power liftgate, and GPS-based navigation.

The interior at all trim levels belies the price point. This is an upscale environment with exceptional build, and material quality. Visually attractive it offers excellent passenger space, even in the third row.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: KIA CANADA

 

The infotainment system is excellent with those giant, and highly legible displays, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, onboard Wi-Fi, and wireless smartphone charging.

 

Safety features abound across the full trim line of the Kia Telluride

You’ll get automatic LED headlights, Intelligent speed assist, forward collision avoidance, junction turning and lane following assist, safe exit assist system,  blind spot and rear collision avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic avoidance and rear park assist.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

As the top wrung in the trim ladder the new X-Line gilds the lily with additional safety features, dual sunroofs, different exterior trim and wheels, a Harmon Kardon audio system, 360-degree camera, 31-cm instrument cluster.

The X-Line also boasts Nappa leather seats, a 12-way power driver’s seat with memory, second-row sun blinds, self-levelling rear suspension, power passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated and cooled second-row captain’s chairs and a 25-cm heads-up display.

The engine is smooth, and silent. It does not provide the hefty instant poke of turbocharged engines, but does have plenty of power. Fuel economy is reasonable but far from class leading.

 

Telluride sets the mid-size crossover bar

The independent suspension has been nicely tuned to provide the comfortable ride fitting such a refined and luxurious vehicle.

 

2023 Kia Telluride
Photo: GARRY SOWERBY

 

Nobody is likely to drive a big three-row crossover like a sports car. But, if they do find themselves entering an offramp or corner more quickly than intended the Telluride will not embarrass them. Both brake and steering systems have been tuned for excellent feel, and linear response.

Refined, stylish, value-packed, and comfortable, the 2023 Kia Telluride enhances what has brought it to the top of most rating systems for family-size crossovers. It continues to set the bar for the mid-size-crossover segment.

 

FACTS & FIGURES – 2023 Kia Telluride X-Line

 

PRICE

Base: $60,995

As tested: $63,245 including freight

 

INFOTAINMENT

27-cm screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Bluelink telematics, satellite radio, Harmon Kardon audio system, wireless phone charging

 

SAFETY

Forward, rear cross-traffic and blind spot collision avoidance assist, lane keep and follow assist, rear occupant alert, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights, blind view monitor

 

STANDARD EQUIPMENT

20-in alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, leather seats, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, self-levelling rear suspension, heads-up display, dual sunroofs, interior mood lighting

 

OPTIONS

None

 

MECHANICAL

3.8 litre V6, 291-horsepower, 262 lb.ft. of torque. Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 12.8/9.8

 

DIMENSIONS

Length, 5,000-mm; wheelbase, 2,900-mm, width, 1,990-mm; weight, 2,098-kg

 

COMPETITION

Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Volkswagen Atlas

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