- More tech connectivity
- More driver-assist features
- Roomy interior
- Handsome exterior
- Could pass for luxury
- X trims are mostly cosmetic
- Sole powertrain is inefficient
- Seating not as versatile or easy as Palisade
Kia adds X-Line and X-Pro off-road-adjacent trims to the 2023 Telluride three-row SUV.
What kind of vehicle is the 2023 Kia Telluride? What does it compare to?
The 2023 Kia Telluride three-row crossover SUV seats up to eight passengers in minivan-like comfort but with the alluring design of a muscular SUV.
Is the 2023 Kia Telluride a good SUV?
A perennial Best Car To Buy winner since it launched for 2020, the Telluride balances roominess and looks better than most SUVs, including more expensive ones. Its standard safety and convenience features, as well as an excellent warranty and superlative crash-test ratings, result in a high TCC Rating of 7.5 out of 10. We expect the refreshed model to only improve on that. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
What's new for the 2023 Kia Telluride?
The Kia Telluride undergoes a mid-cycle refresh with updated technology, more sophisticated driver-assist systems, new lighting and ends front and rear, different wheel designs, and X-Line and X-Pro trim lines that add standard all-wheel drive, a higher ground clearance, better approach and departure angles, a new Tow mode, and some off-road cosmetics.
All 2023 Tellurides get a fresh face and tail, with revised LED headlights that stretch vertically and lack the orange rectangular running lights of its predecessor. The lower grille slims down and stretches out, housing stacked fog lights that give it a more truck-like presence in rear-view mirrors. Out back, the new taillights appear to dip below the gate and into the bumper, whereas last year’s model had a flat partition that was less integrated. Kia says new side sills and wheel designs buff up the profile, but its round wheel arches and muscular proportions appear to be carved from one whole piece, which is a design element many automakers attempt but few pull off.
The X-branded trims enhance that look even more with off-road elements. Consider the X-Line cosmetic in nature, with distinct 20-inch wheels, roof rails, and a higher ground clearance that increases from 8.0 inches to 8.4. Different bumpers help to improve approach and departure angles, and a revised traction control system and integrated Tow mode add more grip and more grunt. That’s more pronounced on the X-Pro grade, which features a towing capacity of 5,500 lb instead of 5,000 lb on other models. In addition to the X-Line enhancements, it rolls on 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, and has a 110-inverter outlet in the cargo area to help charge or inflate recreational craft.
While the X-models come standard with all-wheel drive and a center locking differential that can send up to 50% of the torque to the rear axle, as well as lock the axles equally for lower speed off-roading, the standard Telluride comes with front-wheel drive. The same 291-hp 3.8-liter V-6 with an 8-speed automatic transmission carries over from last year, and has solid though never overwhelming acceleration. The Telluride shines with its comfy ride quality, and a four-wheel independent suspension that disregards road acne like a high school reunion. Unlike some rivals, the Telluride lacks a hybrid or more efficient turbo-4 option, peaking at just 21 mpg combined with AWD.
Fuel economy becomes a distant concern in the high-end cabin, which not only distances itself from road and wind noise but reaches for the premium segment with a fit and finish that would make Cadillac blush. The proportions remain the same, and they are generous, both with the placement and number of small thoughtful storage cubbies, and 21 cubic feet of space behind the third-row bench. Available power-folding rear seats allow for 46 cubic feet, and the second row can be equipped with captain’s chairs to seat seven or another bench for room for eight.
In keeping with the family way, Kia loads the 2023 Telluride with even more safety features, including automatic emergency braking that works against oncoming impacts when turning at intersections, speed sign recognition, and a rear occupant alert that sounds an alarm when the car is shut down and locked if motion is detected in the cabin. Additional standard features include blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control. Available driver-assist features for 2023 include automatic high-beam headlights, front parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and a larger head-up display, as well as a limited hands-free driving system. Standard LED headlights could bump the Telluride to an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, and the NHTSA gives it a top five-star crash rating.
How much does the 2023 Kia Telluride cost?
Pricing and trim levels will be announced closer to the summer on-sale date, but expect an increase from the 2022 model that started at about $35,000 and topped out at $47,000.
Additional features for 2023 include a larger available touchscreen that grows from 10.3 to 12.3 inches with navigation, a rear camera mirror to see past the bobbing heads in back and beyond the available power liftgate. Kia’s enhanced digital key connects more devices and has more functionality than its predecessor, and the Telluride comes as a wifi hotspot with over-the-air updates. Wireless smartphone charging remains an option, but Kia’s lack of mentioning wireless connectivity suggests Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will still require a tether to activate. But, two phones can be connected at once to power different features, and Kia says the voice recognition system is improved.
Where is the 2023 Kia Telluride made?
In West Point, Georgia.