In 2019 Kia and its parent company Hyundai took the three-row SUV market by storm by releasing the Telluride and its closely related cousin the Hyundai Palisade. When we reviewed the Telluride in early 2020 we raved about its excellent road manners, luxury and comfort. We spent a week with the 2022 Kia Telluride SX V6 to see if this family hauler still has what it takes to compete in a hotly contested segment.
There are very few changes made to the Kia Telluride since we reviewed it last. This is not the Kia of yesteryear; the two Korean brands have changed their image and are aiming to move themselves upmarket by offering premium tech, quality and materials. While Kias are no longer the budget-minded choice for those looking for a way to move their families around, that may not be the worst thing after all.
The Telluride is propelled by a 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine. Power delivery is silky smooth and the engine makes a decent throaty grumble when you’re deep in the pedal. The Telluride is not quick by any stretch of the word, but because the power delivery is effortless and immediate, we think that most buyers will find it more than adequate. If you’re interested in the numbers, this Kia produces 291 horsepower at 6,000RPM, and 262 lb-ft. of torque at 5,200RPM.
The Telluride is only available with one drivetrain configuration in Canada. Power will always be delivered though all four wheels and will be regulated by an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission. The transmission shifts smoothly and feels well refined. There are selectable drive modes and even terrain modes which modify the behaviour of the all-wheel-drive system to maintain the best traction. Overall, in our testing, we never saw the need to change the mode out of the smart option which automatically adjusts throttle response and transmission shift points to adapt to the situation.
Kia Canada rates it 12.7L/100km city and 9.7L/100km highway, averaging 11.2L/100km. In our real-world testing, we managed to get 12.3L/100km over the course of 700km of combined driving. Considering the fact that it was just above freezing ambient temperature, and our tester came equipped with winter tires, we think that this is a very reasonable figure. With a 71-liter tank fitted, longer road trips will be a breeze, and handily the Telluride takes regular gasoline.
In the handling department, the Telluride is exemplary. Steering feel was impressive for a large three-row crossover and the suspension does an excellent job soaking up large bumps and never feeling floaty or unsettled. This truly inspires confidence and makes the Telluride an enjoyable vehicle to be at the helm of.
The brakes feel good, however after one or two heavy applications they did suffer from brake fade, something that we were not happy to see, especially with the Telluride’s 5000-pound towing capacity. On the road, the Telluride also impressed with excellent sound insulation, there is next to no road noise transmitted into the cabin.
The cabin of the Telluride is far from ground-breaking; however, all the main components of traditional interior design are here and are done well. The Porsche Cayenne-reminiscent center grab handles are a nice touch, and the general ergonomics of the cabin are great, everything is within reach and all the switchgear feels high quality. The unvarnished wood trim does look a little bit like driftwood, but overall, all the materials inside the cabin feel good quality and almost all touchpoints are soft.
It is also nice to see that there are still physical buttons for many key features such as the heated seats and wheel. This is a pleasant surprise as we are seeing more and more manufacturers include those features deep into a submenu, such as the 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 tested recently. The Telluride also have wireless charging as standard and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although they are not wireless.
Interior space can best be described as cavernous, our tester was fitted with the second-row bench seat. The SX Limited trim has with second row captain’s chairs and therefore loses seating for one passenger but unless you plan on carrying around eight people all the time, we think the upgrade is well worth it. With the third row up you still have 601-liters of cargo volume, which is shy of the Chevrolet Traverse, but beats out the Honda Pilot. When it comes time to fold down the third row, you’ll be pleased to find a handy electric drop-down feature.
The gadgets are plentiful in the 2022 Kia Telluride. Heated front seats are standard, and cooled seats become standard on the SX trim upwards, and you also will get heated and cooled second row seating in the SX Limited trim. There are two sunroofs and as far as infotainment, all Tellurides will come standard with a 10.25-inch widescreen that runs Kia’s UVO software. Overall, the system is responsive, and won’t have you immediately jumping to use CarPlay or Android Auto. There is even a nice ledge under the screen that you may use to steady your hand on, a nice touch to make using the system a little easier.
And continuing the trend of making life a little easier, the Telluride comes standard with a load of assisted driving technology. Kia’s Smart Cruise Control (SCC) and Highway Drive Assist (HDA) are standard. Once you step up from the base EX trim level to the SX like our test car you will also get a 360-degree camera to make parking a breeze, and the blind spot monitoring system which worked well. On the SX Limited there is also an excellent heads-up display fitted that will further increase situational awareness.
The Telluride looks very handsome. The bold squared-off styling combined with LED headlights and the 20-inch wheels are reminiscent of more expensive entries such as the Volvo XC90 and Range Rover Sport. If blacked-out trim is your thing, the SX Limited Nightsky is available, although it will cost you as it is the highest trim level available. The Telluride starts at $46,995 for the EX trim, a bit higher than the base Chevrolet Traverse and the Honda Pilot. As tested, our 2022 Kia Telluride SX finished in Glacial White Pearl, a $250 option, comes in at a $52,384.
Overall, the 2022 Kia Telluride SX V6 remains one of the top options in the segment. It offers user-friendly tech, a quiet, well-appointed cabin and some of the best road manners you can expect from a three-row crossover. It certainly isn’t the cheapest option, but the value is there, and we believe that if you are in the market for a family hauler that will look good, and be a pleasant place for your family to spend time in for years to come, the Telluride is one vehicle you should most definitely check out.