Engine: 3.8-liter gas direct injection V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Torque: 262 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 18/city, 24/highway, 21/combined
Base price: $52,785
As tested: $55,120
Overview: The Kia Telluride continues winning awards — just as it has since it debuted in 2020. It was most recently named the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top safety pick, as well as Car Connection’s 2023 best car to buy, among others. It hasn’t changed its winning ways, but has added a new model — the SX-Prestige X-Pro, which this review focuses on. The X-Pro adds 18-inch, black alloy wheels and all-terrain tires; increased towing capacity; heavy-duty cooling and tow mode; self-leveling rear suspension; a 100-volt inverter outlet; and some specific X-Pro exterior styling and badging.
Walkaround: The Telluride’s rugged, yet cultured styling has remained the same since its debut, showcasing a pleasing combination of both curves and angles that’s appealing from every viewpoint. The wide grille and upright LED headlights showcase an aggressive stance — especially with the 18-inch black alloy wheels.
Interior: The Telluride’s cabin trim varies depending upon the model. Our X-Pro offered nappa leather seating surfaces with front buckets and second-row captain chairs — both rows are power, heated and cooled. The second row boasts as much rear seat room as some minivans. There’s also a head-up display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, Harman Kardon premium surround sound, wireless charging, remote start, hands-free power liftgate and power front, and fixed second-row sunroofs, along with all the other usual power accessories. The low, wide dash features dual 12.3-inch panoramic touchscreen displays for instrumentation, navigation and infotainment. The driver and front passenger space is outstanding, as is the small-item storage. There’s 21 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row, 46 with it folded and 87 with the second row folded.
Behind the wheel: The Telluride’s 291-horse, 3.8-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic work well with either front- or all-wheel drive — and there’s a sport mode, too. At about 4,500 pounds, acceleration isn’t ferocious, but adequate, and the transmission downshifts quickly and cleanly when speed is needed. The Telluride’s ride is quite comfortable — as we found road-tripping it over a wet, cold Interstate 90. With all-wheel drive, the Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds. A 50/50 power split is locked in at speeds up to 40 mph, but changes as required, depending on driving conditions. Since there is no Telluride hybrid version, EPA ratings are somewhat marginal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Telluride five stars overall and four for frontal protection, and calls models with LED headlights a top safety pick.
Bottom line: The award-winning Telluride checks every box except fuel economy. It’s been termed an “amazing value” — especially when compared to rivals. And don’t forget that best-in-the-business 100,000 mile warranty.