Monday, June 5, 2023
Reviews 2023 Kia Telluride Review: When You’re This Good, it's Difficult to Resist

2023 Kia Telluride Review: When You’re This Good, it’s Difficult to Resist

The 2023 Kia Telluride is part of the Hyundai Group’s 1-2 punch in the three-row midsize SUV segment

2023 Kia Telluride Pros

– This SUV has style, content, and loads of room for everything.

– The facelift and other upgrades for 2023 are significant for a midcycle refresh.

– First impressions are impossible to ignore.

– All versions are exceptionally refined.

2023 Kia Telluride Cons

– Long-term durability is still questionable.

– Fuel consumption is on the high side.

I feel like dropping my guard, like throwing caution to the wind and telling you all who are reading this review that buying a new freshly-updated 2023 Kia Telluride is the right thing to do. I really am tempted to forget about the past, both recent and from a decade ago, and state that this is the best three-row midsize SUV, period.

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The last five months or so have been a deep-dive into the Hyundai Motor Group’s product lines, from the Kia Sportage to the Genesis G90, and many models between the two. All impress and are popular – it’s no small wonder why Hyundai is now the third largest automaker in the world behind only Volkswagen and Toyota.

The Telluride launched in 2019 for the 2020 model year, and it demonstrates Kia’s relentless drive. It’s but one of its many SUVs though as the brand’s flagship (love you Stinger!), it gets a dash more of everything and this only makes it even more exceptional.

Looks the part

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

From the onset, the Kia Telluride has been one of the most attractive SUVs in its segment. The 2023 model year vehicle launched with a mild facelift, among a few other changes. Visually, the SUV gets a redesigned grille, front and rear bumpers, and new wheels, and it’s all great. For some inexplicable reason, designers thought it wise to revise the headlights by doing away with the already signature amber halo – a small but significant mistake in my opinion.

The big win physically is the addition of the new X-Line and X-Pro models. As we all know, all things rugged are winning (the early 2010s were fun) and Kia’s now capitalized on this trend. They’re differentiated by their dark accents, high gloss black bridge roof rails, front grille, exclusive wheel designs (18″ X-Pro or 20″ X-Line), and all-terrain tires (for the X-Pro).

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The tested X-Line, which retails for $61,195, painted Glacial white, looked great. Part of the reason is equated to the extra 10mm of ground clearance and the specified Terracotta Brown leather interior.

Sharp indoors too

As with most Hyundai and Kia vehicles, the automakers load up the cabins as well. The 2023 upgrades include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch touchscreen display, and many more functions.

As tested, the X-Line throws in heated and cooled first and second-row seats, second-row captain’s chairs, a head-up display, and loads more. The list of features is immense but that’s just one aspect. Kia’s attention to detail and the materials used give the impression that the Telluride is a premium vehicle. It also offers the best mix between displays and physical buttons. This Kia provides hard HVAC controls which means that, in winter, heated seats and the steering wheel can be activated while the screen is booting up.

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

On the topic of the boot, the Telluride’s trunk enables 1,300L of useable volume behind the second row. With the third row at work, the number drops to 600L. Beyond these figures, passengers in the first two rows get massive amounts of space. Third-row occupants are not as lucky though accessing and sitting in the final row isn’t entirely torturous even for a 5’10” adult. 

The big Kia is a good driver

Like the Hyundai Palisade, the Telluride soothes and delivers exactly what consumers want out of a large family SUV. In fact, it’ll officially sell the vehicle to any and all who drive it. The immediate impression is that of refinement, comfort, and even luxury, from the powertrain to the ride.

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The standard-for-all 3.8L V6 engine is suave and punchy. With the bolted-on 8-speed automatic transmission, which operates almost invisibly, the two-ton SUV moves. The V6 ponies up 291hp and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, more than enough to get the Telluride out of its own way. Despite the numerous drive modes, I found comfort to best the most in tune with the big Kia’s true purpose, which is to carry stuff and people. Even so, the transmission and V6 come to life when pushed. However, pushed or not, fuel consumption is an issue as I returned over 14L/100km compared to the estimated 11.4L/100km according to Kia.

On the road, the 2023 Kia Telluride behaves with utmost civility. The fully independent suspension provides a satisfying amount of control and comfort no matter the road surface’s condition. The cabin remains quiet even at highway speeds which helps to increase the overall reigning serenity.

I’m torn

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Torn because I really REALLY like the 2023 Kia Telluride and if I was in the market for a midsize three-row SUV, it would be at the top of my “want list” though I wouldn’t sign for one.

As I reported in my 2023 Hyundai Palisade review, alternatives to the Koreans include the Toyota Highlander, new Mazda CX-90, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Dodge Durango, and  Jeep Grand Cherokee L. All have plenty to offer. If I was to select, I’d put my family in the Toyota’s basket.

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2023 Kia Telluride | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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