Car Reviews

2023 Kia Telluride First Drive Review: An established hit adds more to the menu

SAN ANTONIO — The Kia Telluride, together with its mostly-same-beneath-the-skin counterpart, the Hyundai Palisade, rapidly caught our consideration when it launched as an all-new nameplate for the 2020 mannequin 12 months. This new three-row SUV was a heavy hitter from the start, with attractiveness, wise pricing and a wealth of content material that bettered different manufacturers. It rapidly turned common, with hundreds upon hundreds of shrewd clients eagerly and intelligently spending their hard-earned {dollars} to place a Telluride of their driveways. Kia America Govt VP/COO Steve Heart claims it’s internally known as the “Selluride.” 

Three and a half years later, we haven’t damaged our gaze from this well-rounded ute. Heck, it nonetheless feels fairly new to us. That didn’t maintain Kia from twiddling with it, although, giving the Telluride a mid-cycle refresh for the 2023 mannequin 12 months. 

Normally, we’d say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.” However even when the Telluride has been growing old effectively, newer (and cheaper) autos in Kia’s lineup have been getting up to date and upgraded options not out there in what’s successfully the model’s flagship. In order that’s what we get for 2023. It’s just about the identical automobile we all know and rapidly fell in love with, however with contemporary content material to select from, together with two new semi-ruggedized trim packages, and a few visible updates thrown in for good measure.

Underneath the floor, the 2023 Kia Telluride stays largely unchanged. It nonetheless has a single powertrain choice: a hard-working, naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 peaking at 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That’s put to the wheels — both the fronts or all 4, relying on the way you spec it — by way of an eight-speed automated transmission. So, sure, driving the 2023 Telluride goes to really feel acquainted should you’ve pushed any Telluride in any respect. The V6 is suitably highly effective with out being notably fast (or gradual), and the transmission stays out of the best way. You continue to have the assorted selectable drive modes to eke out both extra throttle response (Sport) or vary out of your tank (Eco). There’s a Consolation mode to separate the distinction, a Good mode that does the considering for you, or a Snow mode for, effectively, snow. 

The primary variations discerning shoppers will discover would be the exterior visible updates. Up entrance, the 2023 Telluride will get a brand new entrance fascia that includes a revised grille, headlight and LED accent lighting. The Telluride’s outdated signature yellow ring of accent lighting is gone. The rear fascia is up to date, too, together with the taillights. Every trim degree will get new wheel designs, and there are three new out there exterior paint colours: Midnight Lake Blue, Dawning Crimson and Jungle Inexperienced.

Inside, Kia has performed with the sprint design, together with the vents and trim panels, with a view to accommodate the identical twin show discovered within the EV6, Sportage and Niro. The mix of 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment display joined beneath a single curved glass panel is normal on the SX and SX Status. That infotainment display is definitely normal and contains navigation on all Tellurides – it’s the analog instrument cluster present in decrease trims that differs. Within the EX trim and up, the rearview mirror turns into an impressively crisp and clear digital digital camera show with the flip of a lever — nice for while you’re loaded up with cargo. The wi-fi charging pad has been made barely greater to accommodate a more moderen, bigger era of cellphones. Every row of seating will get USB-C charging ports. Even the steering wheel will get a contemporary look. The upper trims, at the least, proceed to face tall sufficient to peek over the posh fence, combining considerate design and high-quality supplies.

The brand new X-Line and X-Professional packages take these visible flairs up one other notch. The X-Line replaces the Telluride Dusk Version, and is on the market as an improve to the EX, SX and SX Status trim ranges. It will get a novel 3D mesh grille, body-color door handles, distinctive 20-inch wheels, raised roof rails and, after all, “X-Line” badging. There’s X-Line embossing on the backrests of the entrance seats. All-wheel drive is normal right here, however arguably one of the best a part of the deal is a 0.4-inch enhance in floor clearance, for a complete of 8.4 inches, which additionally improves strategy and departure angles. The suspension is tuned a bit The traction management settings have been upgraded, and it additionally will get a Tow mode that adjusts powertrain settings for higher towing efficiency.

The X-Professional makes issues much more fascinating. Solely out there for the line-topping SX and SX Status trims, the X-Professional contains every little thing from the X-Line however swaps in 18-inch black wheels wrapped in Continental all-terrain tires, and the suspension is tuned for “further compliance.” It will get “X-Professional” badging and seat embossing, plus an additional 110-volt plug within the cargo space. Lastly, its tow ranking bests the opposite Tellurides by 500 kilos, at 5,500, due to an upgraded fan for improved cooling.

Driving the X-Professional on the street, if there was a distinction from the additional modicum of experience top, the suspension  tuning or taller sidewalls, it was too refined to report on from this single drive. It was nonetheless the familiar-feeling experience that leans extra towards consolation than sportiness, absorbing bumps properly. We did get to take it off-road, and whereas we will’t actually evaluate it to the usual trims on this enviornment, it was surprisingly succesful, even when one of many wheels would raise from the bottom when crossing ditches and huge ruts. The all-terrains discovered grip effectively, and the traction management works rapidly to seek out much more footing when it’s wanted. Turning on the parking digital camera helped to see the path forward when it dipped out of sight, and the downhill braking management made for calm descents of steep hills. We wouldn’t hesitate to take this down some outdated logging trails or unmaintained county roads, however, actually, we wouldn’t hesitate within the common variations, both. Possibly we wouldn’t delve as deep into the woods. However, we’re followers of semi-ruggedized variations of mainstream SUVs, even when it’s as a lot for the looks because the truly slight enhance in functionality.

A few of the 2023 tech updates would possibly make a distinction for you, even when the mechanical features of the drive are largely unchanged. The driving force help suite has been up to date with new normal options, and the Freeway Drive Help 2 system is normal in SX and up. HDA2 upgrades the usual model with higher logic for when automobiles lower you off or encroach in your lane, and it makes use of machine studying to learn the way you prefer to drive with cruise management activated. HDA2 additionally has improved ahead collision avoidance, and evasive steering for oncoming site visitors while you’re altering lanes. Whereas we couldn’t take a look at these, we may take a look at HDA2’s semi-automated lane change help, which takes a cue out of your flip sign to seek out an open spot in that path and steer you safely into the following lane. It’s easy in operation, however takes its candy time. We nonetheless carried out most of our lane adjustments utterly manually whereas counting on our mirrors, blind spot warning and digital camera feed on the instrument cluster (a mix that gained our 2020 Expertise of the 12 months).

And, as ever, the Telluride drives a tough discount. It begins at $37,025 (together with $1,335 in vacation spot) for the bottom LX with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive provides $2,000 throughout the board, besides in SX Status or any of the X-Professional and X-Line trims, through which it’s already included. X-Line provides $2,195 on prime of the worth of the EX AWD, and $1,395 to SX AWD and SX Status. X-Professional provides one other $1,000 on prime of that. The most costly trim, the SX Status X-Professional, prices $54,120 earlier than choices (that are restricted to issues like particular paint colours, a tow hitch, carpeted flooring mats, bumper appliques and the like).

The Kia Telluride nonetheless presents rather a lot, for lots of people, and the refresh solely makes it extra interesting. Kia offered 93,705 Tellurides in 2021, up from 75,129 in 2020 and 58,604 when it launched in 2019. Don’t anticipate Telluride gross sales to decelerate anytime quickly. Kia doesn’t. The truth is, it’s increasing Telluride capability to 120,000 models a 12 months. And that’ll be 120,000 very completely satisfied clients.


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