Debuting five years ago, the Kia Telluride has been a major success for the South Korean automaker.
Many automotive expects label it the top three-row midsize SUV on the market today. The Telluride stands out due to its smooth ride quality, spacious interior, solid performance, and a third row that can accommodate adult-size passengers, a rarity for most SUVs.
The 2024 Kia Telluride arrives with virtually no changes other than some exterior styling tweaks. That comes one year after Kia added the new X-Line and X-Pro trim levels, a larger display, and some additional driver assist features.
Its popularity is demonstrated by increasing sales every year since being introduced in 2019, including all-time sales of 110,765 last year. Obviously, Kia made a terrific calculation when it decided to manufacture a bigger SUV than its previously largest model – the now departed Sorento.
The Telluride has a relative twin in the Palisades, another popular midsize SUV. The pair share the same platform and have similar dimensions and specifications, plus are manufactured by the same Korean parent company. Other Telluride rivals include the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Volkswagen Atlas.
Another reason to like the Telluride is it’s offered at a reasonably affordable price, starting at approximately $35,900. We drove the SX-Prestige X-line for a week. It had a much higher price tag (roughly $52,000) than the base model.
The Telluride sports a different look – a bold, blocky exterior, a rarity in its class. It has five trim levels (LX, S, EX, SX, SX Prestige). There are also X-Line versions of the EX, SX and SX Prestige, along with X-Pro versions of the SX and SX-Prestige.
The Telluride has one engine, an efficient 3.8-liter, V6 that generates 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Since the fuel economy is a bit low with the optional all-wheel drive (19-24 mpg), a turbocharged alternative would be welcomed.
Driving in the mountainous Lake Tahoe region, the Telluride felt quicker than its 0-60 mph clocking of 7.5 seconds, an acceleration that is average for a three-row SUV. When properly equipped, the Telluride can haul up to 5,500 pounds. All-wheel drive is an available option on all trim models.
We were impressed with the Telluride’s overall smooth ride and handling capability. It drives more like a smaller crossover and is easy to maneuver in traffic and tight parking lots. Even on challenging roads the steering is firm and there’s good stability, giving the driver lots of confidence handling this relatively heavy SUV.
Standard driver safety systems include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, driver-attention monitoring, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam headlights, rear parking sensors, and rear-seat alert.
AT A GLANCE – 2024 KIA TELLURIDE
- Performance: 3.8-liter, V6, 291 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 19-24 mpg
- Price estimate: $35,900 to $53,200
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/100,000
The interior features a layout that leaves driver and passengers with plenty of comfort. We’re a fan of the comfy second-row Captain chairs, which can be switched out for a bench that seats three people. Head and leg room are better than average in the first two rows and the third row is not just for kids.
With all three rows being utilized, the Telluride has a cargo area of 21 cubic feet behind the third row. The space expands to 46 cubic feet with the second row folded to the floor and 87 with both rows down.
The Telluride has a 12.3-inch touchscreen that functions well, is easy to comprehend, and since being moved, is a closer reach for the driver. There are minimal hard-plastic surfaces. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are standard, and there are numerous USB ports spread across all three rows.
The 2023 Kia Telluride is a terrific three-row midsize SUV. It’s family-friendly, offered at a reasonable price, and is attractive both inside and out.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.