2022 Kia Telluride

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
July 12, 2021

Buying tip

The 2022 Kia Telluride EX nails the convenience and connectivity sweet spot—but we’d be lying if we didn’t point to the SX as our favorite.

features & specs

EX AWD
EX FWD
LX AWD
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
MPG
20 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 24 hwy
MSRP
$39,790
MSRP
$37,790
MSRP
$34,790

The 2022 Kia Telluride still tops our family-SUV shopping list with its handsome looks, great space, plentiful features, and long warranty.

What kind of car is the 2022 Kia Telluride? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Kia Telluride three-row crossover SUV seats seven or eight, polishes its top trims with luxury touches, and has captured our Best Car To Buy award and others since it was new in 2020. It’s a rival for cars like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and its tentmate, the Hyundai Palisade.

Is the 2022 Kia Telluride a good car?

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Sold in LX, S, EX, and SX versions, the 2022 Telluride earns a TCC Rating of 7.5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Kia Telluride?

Not much has changed for the award-winning Telluride. For 2022, all models adopt a 10.3-inch touchscreen and automatic climate control, while LX and S editions gain adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go control.

With a shape that neatly slips between the rugged and the urbane, the sleek 2022 Telluride wears just the right balance of angles and curves. The body’s appealing; the cabin’s a cut above even that, especially with the SX’s quilted nappa leather and wood trim. 

Performance doesn’t soar to the same heights, but the Telluride’s 291-hp 3.8-liter V-6 works well with its 8-speed automatic to provide ample acceleration through the front or all four wheels. Ride quality shines, especially compared to the dated Pilot and the too-taut Explorer: the Telluride quietly smothers bumps and road seams, while it also provides up to 5,000 lb of towing capacity. Gas mileage is middling, and there’s no hybrid offered.

We’re still bowled over by the Telluride’s wealth management: It makes the most of its interior space by upgrading finishes from very good to spectacular. Up to eight passengers will notice cut-above trim in the base versions; those in the SX will ride in cooled second-row captain’s chairs covered in quilted leather and wonder how they ever got along in the Before Times. With up to 86 cubic feet of cargo space, the Telluride’s flexible at multitasking, too—and it’s safe, with top crash-test scores and an abundance of standard active-safety gear.

How much does the 2022 Kia Telluride cost?

The base $34,015 Telluride LX comes with seating for eight, power features, the 10.3-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. We’d pick the $39,015 Telluride EX and its leather upholstery, power tailgate, sunroof, and cooled front seats—but the $43,915 Telluride SX is sorely tempting.

Where is the 2022 Kia Telluride made?

In Georgia. 

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2022 Kia Telluride

Styling

The handsomely drawn Telluride blurs the line between mass-market and luxury SUVs.

Is the Kia Telluride a good-looking car?

It really is, don’t you think? With square-rigged corners and a suitably softened cockpit, the Telluride lifts the best luxury-car cues and SUV riffs and blends them together with an expert hand. We give it an 8 here, but it would merit a 9 if the lavish SX interior came with the LX’s price tag.

With a faint whiff of GMC in its outline, the Kia Telluride has a purposeful but chunky vibe that’s appealing from nearly every angle. Narrow, upright headlights and a substantial grille lay out a hefty stance that doesn’t play voluptuous games with the eyes, like the Stinger mid-size hatchback. The hype doesn’t lay false claim on rugged SUV stereotypes; it reads more like a smartly executed family wagon, and looks great on big 20-inch wheels to boot. Take the Nightfall or SX models for blacked-out trim—or don’t. We’re divided on their appeal.

The Telluride cabin boxes out maximum space while steering clear of retro riffs. The wide and low dash sits under a billboard-style 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. Base versions wear plainer beige or black trim, while the Telluride SX conjures a mountain resort with its wood trim and plush nappa leather. It’s particularly handsome in off-white, though that brings with it the anxiety of spilled juice boxes.

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6

2022 Kia Telluride

Performance

The Telluride isn’t quick, but it has a serene ride.

With a V-6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, an independent suspension front and rear, and available all-wheel drive, the Telluride ticks all the big-crossover boxes save for one—a fuel-saving option. We give it a 6 for performance, with the point above average awarded for its ride.

Is the Kia Telluride 4WD?

All versions can be upgraded from standard front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive.

How fast is the Kia Telluride?

The 291-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 found under the Telluride’s hood may sound familiar; it’s shared by the Hyundai Palisade. Teamed with an 8-speed automatic, it doles out power to the front wheels or to all four wheels. Curb weight comes in around 4,500 pounds in top trims; as physics tells us that makes for fuss-free acceleration, not fierce forward motion. It’s better at mid-speed passes; the automatic’s always up for a quick and clean shift, but putting it into a sport drive mode damps the already middling fuel economy. Kia’s V-6 doesn’t have the ripe growl of a Honda V-6, either, but it’s smothered by thick glass.

The Telluride’s better at towing and traction. With all-wheel drive, it can pull up to 5,000 lb, and with its all-wheel-drive system locked in a 50:50 power split at speeds of up to 40 mph, it’s a good tool to carve up wintry roads when absolutely necessary. 

The ride’s the reason to admire the Telluride, even when it’s shod with 20-inch wheels that come standard on nearly every version. Base versions (which we haven’t driven) may do better at high-velocity bump-snuffing, but the Telluride SXs and EXs we’ve driven hone down nasty pavement ripples with ease. The Telluride stays composed and mostly unbothered. We wouldn’t mind if the steering took the lead: it picks up weight in some drive modes without matching that with strong feedback.

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9

2022 Kia Telluride

Comfort & Quality

The Telluride welcomes a lot of people and a lot of cargo.

The Telluride’s long and wide, so seating up to eight passengers isn’t taxing. Finely finished and rigged with good cargo space to boot, it’s a 9 for comfort.

The Telluride measures almost exactly the same as its Hyundai Palisade kin, with a 114.2-inch wheelbase and an overall length of 196.9 inches.

Base crossovers have manually-adjustable front seats with synthetic leather, but the S model upgrades to an eight-way power driver seat. Telluride EX and SX SUVs get leather upholstery and a power passenger seat, with a nappa-leather option on the SX. In every Telluride we’ve driven, the driving position and space surrounding front passengers has impressed us—and so has the small-item storage for keys and smartphones.

The second row can be configured as a bench seat or with two captain’s chairs. In either case the Telluride has plenty of space for large adults. The seats fold and slide forward to grant better access to the third-row seat, which also has enough room for adults, albeit for shorter trips. There’s as much room in the back as some minivans; sorry if we revealed the Telluride’s hidden agenda without a trigger warning.

Some 21 cubic feet of cargo space exists behind that third row. With that seat folded out of the way the Telluride offers up 46 cubic feet. Fold the middle seats away and space blooms to 87 cubic feet.

Kia screws together the Telluride with obvious care, and lines it with well-chosen materials that render the interior more expensively than it actually is. The Telluride SX takes it a step further with chrome and wood and leather—a suede headliner and nappa hides, at the top of its game—and in the process makes some truly expensive vehicles look chintzy.

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2022 Kia Telluride

Safety

The Telluride collects all the safety trophies.

How safe is the Kia Telluride?

The NHTSA gives the Telluride five stars overall—with four-star ratings for frontal protection—and the IIHS calls some versions a Top Safety Pick. That earns a 9 here, thanks to standard safety technology and active-safety options.

The IIHS award only applies to Telluride EX SUVs with optional LED headlights and the SX model. Other versions have “Poor” headlights and don’t merit the award.

All Tellurides get standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. The Telluride SX also comes with automatic high-beam headlights, front parking sensors, and a surround-view camera system; a head-up display is available.

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9

2022 Kia Telluride

Features

Its infotainment and warranty are great, which makes the Telluride an excellent value.

Kia doesn’t offer many options on the Telluride; it bundles them in packages instead. That minor quibble aside, the 2022 Telluride’s an amazing value, from its standard features to its excellent infotainment interface to its 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. It’s a 9 here.

The $34,015 Telluride LX doesn’t fail with its standard active safety features, power features, eight-passenger seating, keyless start, and its newly standard 10.3-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Spend $2,000 more and all-wheel drive is yours.

The $36,515 Telluride S piles on heated front seats, a power driver seat, 20-inch wheels, and second-row captain’s chairs. 

Which Kia Telluride should I buy?

We like the $39,015 Telluride EX, which gains wireless smartphone charging, leather upholstery, a power tailgate, cooled front seats, and a sunroof.

How much is a fully loaded Kia Telluride?

The $43,915 Telluride SX remains our stretch recommendation: It’s a luxury crossover in all but price with its surround-view camera system and Harman Kardon audio, even before you spend another $2,000 for nappa leather, a head-up display, heated and cooled second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

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4

2022 Kia Telluride

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy’s OK in the Telluride.

Is the Kia Telluride good on gas?

It’s similar to gas-only crossovers of its size, but the three-row Telluride doesn’t offer a hybrid powertrain as some rivals do. 

It’s a 4 here, based on EPA ratings of the front-drive Telluride: 20 mpg city, 26 highway, 23 combined. The ratings fall to 19/24/21 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Those ratings are roughly equal to direct competitors, but the 36-mpg Toyota Highlander Hybrid puts the Telluride in an awkward place.

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$32,790
MSRP based on LX FWD
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7.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 9
Features 9
Fuel Economy 4
Compare the 2022 Kia Telluride against the competition
  • 2021 Ford Explorer

    7.0
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  • 2021 Honda Pilot

    6.3
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  • 2021 Hyundai Palisade

    7.3
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  • 2021 Subaru Ascent

    6.7
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  • 2021 Toyota Highlander

    7.2
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2022 Kia Telluride Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Telluride available; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: $339 per month for 36 months
  • Rebate: No cash incentives
  • Finance: 1.9% APR for 60 months
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