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Kia Telluride First Drive 2023 review: An established hit will add more to the menu

SAN ANTONIO – Facts Kia Telluridewith almost the same partner, Hyundai Palisadequickly caught our attention when it launched as a brand new nameplate for the 2020 model year. This new three-row SUV has been a hit from the start, with good looks, a fair price, and plenty of content that outshines other brands. It quickly became popular, with thousands upon thousands of smart, eager, and smart customers spending their hard-earned dollars on bookings. Telluride on their driveway. That US CEO/COO Steve Center claims it is internally referred to as “Selluride”.

Three and a half years later, we still haven’t taken our eyes off this plump uterus. Heck, it’s still pretty new to us. However, that hasn’t stopped Kia from giving the Telluride a mid-cycle refresh for the 2023 model year.

Usually, we’ll say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But even as the Telluride ages, the newer (and cheaper) cars in Kia’s lineup get updates and upgrades that aren’t available in what are truly brand staples. So that’s what we get for 2023. It’s pretty much the same car we know and quickly love, but with new content to choose from, along with two new semi-solid trim packages. and some visual updates are included to good effect.

Under surface, 2023 Kia Telluride largely remained unchanged. It still has a single powertrain option: a naturally aspirated, hard-working 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That gets to the wheels – front or all four, depending on how you specify it – via an eight-speed automatic transmission. So yes, driving a 2023 Telluride should feel familiar if you’ve driven any Telluride. The V6 is appropriately powerful without being particularly fast (or slow), and the transmission is unaffected. You still have different selectable drive modes to get more throttle response (Sport) or range from your fuel tank (Eco). There’s a Comfort mode to split the difference, a Smart mode that helps you think, or a Snow mode for snow.

The first difference discerning consumers will notice will be the external visual updates. At the front, the Telluride 2023 gets a new front end with a revised grille, headlights and LED accent lights. Telluride’s old signature yellow light ring is gone. The rear apron has also been updated, along with the taillights. Each trim level features new wheel designs and three new exterior paint colors color: Midnight Lake Blue, Dawning Red and Green Forest.

Inside, Kia has played with the dashboard design, including the vents and trim panels, to accommodate the same dual screens found in the EV6, Sport and Niro. The combination of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch infotainment screen housed under a single curved glass is standard on the SX and SX Prestige. That infotainment screen is actually standard and includes navigation on all Tellurides – it’s the same instrument cluster found on lower trims with a difference. On the EX and above, the rearview mirror turns into an impressively sharp and clear digital camera display with the flip of a lever – great when you’re packing loads of stuff. The wireless charging dock has been made slightly larger to accommodate the newer, larger generation of mobile phones. Each row of seats has a USB-C charging port. Even the steering wheel gets a new look. The higher trims, at least, continue to stand tall enough to see through the luxurious fence, combining thoughtful design and high-quality materials.

The new X-Line and X-Pro packages take this vision to the next level. The X-Line replaces the Telluride Nightfall Edition and is available as an upgrade to the EX, SX, and SX Prestige trim levels. It features a unique 3D mesh grille, body-colored door handles, unique 20-inch wheels, raised roof rails and of course, “X-Line” badging. There is X-Line embossing on the backrests of the front seats. All-wheel drive is standard here, but arguably the best part of the deal is a 0.4-inch increase in ground clearance, for a total of 8.4 inches, which also improves approach and cornering angles. start. The suspension is slightly adjusted. sled performance.

X-Pro makes things more interesting. Available only for the top SX and SX Prestige trims, the X-Pro includes everything from the X-Line but swaps it out with 18-inch black wheels wrapped in Continent All-terrain tires and suspension tuned for “additional compliance”. It has the “X-Pro” badge and seat embossed, plus an additional 110-volt plug in the cargo area. Finally, its drag rating is the highest of other 500-pound Tellurides, at 5,500, thanks to an upgraded fan for improved cooling.

When driving the X-Pro on the road, if there’s a difference from the extra ride height, suspension adjustments, or higher sidewalls, it’s too subtle to report from this one drive. It is still the familiar driving feeling that favors comfort rather than sportiness, overcoming collisions in a unique way. We were able to take it off-road, and while we can’t really compare it to standard trims in this arena, it’s surprisingly capable, even if one of the wheels the vehicle will lift off the ground when crossing large trenches and trenches. On all terrains, the grip is good and the traction control system works quickly to find a firmer foothold when needed. Turn on the parking camera to see the road ahead when it is out of sight and when going downhill brake Control is performed for the quiet depiction of steep hills. We wouldn’t hesitate to tear this down some old logging trails or unpainted county roads, but, honestly, we wouldn’t hesitate in the regular versions either. We probably won’t go into it like deep into the forest. Still, we’re fans of semi-rigid versions of entry-level SUVs, even if it’s like the looks and capabilities actually increase slightly.

Some 2023 technology updates could make a difference for you, even if the mechanical aspects of the drive are mostly unchanged. The Driving Assist suite has been updated with new standard features, and the Highway Drive Assist 2 system is standard on SX models and above. HDA2 upgrades the standard version with better logic when cars cross or encroach on your lane, and it uses machine learning to learn how you’re driving when cruise control is activated. HDA2 also has improved forward collision avoidance and steering avoidance for oncoming traffic when you are changing lanes. While we couldn’t test those, we were able to test the HDA2’s semi-autonomous lane-changing assist, which takes cues from your turn signals to find an empty spot. in that direction and safely steer you to the next lane. It works smoothly, but takes sweet time. We still do most of our lane changes completely manually while relying on the mirrors, blind-spot warning, and camera feed on the instrument cluster (a combination that has helped us 2020 Technology of the Year).

And, as always, the Telluride offers a great bargain. It starts at $37,025 (including $1,335 at destination) for the base LX with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 across the board, except in the SX Prestige or any versions of the X-Pro and X-Line, where it’s already included. The X-Line adds $2,195 over the price of the EX AWD and $1,395 for the SX AWD and SX Prestige. The X-Pro adds another $1,000. The most expensive version, the SX Prestige X-Pro, costs $54,120 before options (limited to things like special paint colors, tow hooks, carpeting only) floor matsbumper decorations and the like).

The Kia Telluride still offers a lot, for a lot of people, and the new job just makes it more appealing. Kia sold 93,705 Tellurides in 2021, up from 75,129 in 2020 and 58,604 at launch in 2019. Don’t expect Telluride sales to slow down anytime soon. Kia no. In fact, it is expanding its Telluride capacity to 120,000 units per year. And that would be 120,000 very satisfied customers.

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