KIA Telluride was one of the best “first” attempts of Korean Automotive industry.
You heard it right. 3-row SUVs and Crossovers are more popular than ever. It is not an easy task to come up with something competitive, even for entries that have been on the market for several decades. How does KIA’s offering can set the threshold since it’s first released is not a mystery.
KIA stood out from the competition by not just creating a good product, but it they were able to come up with something that looks attractive, upscale and unique while still having decent features for a reasonable price. After driving many other 3-row SUVs, let’s see how Telluride stands out in 2022.
Exterior and Interior
KIA Telluride is the largest vehicle Korean brand has ever produced. Unlike its corporate sister, Hyundai Palisade, the Telluride is manufactured in the United States which also means that it has less Asian or European design elements and focused more for the North American buyers.
As you can see, the Telluride has a very boxy design and sharp body lines in the front. It has a big front grille design with chrome pieces wrapped around it. The headlights are relatively small compared to the overall proportions of the front end, but orange DRLs makes the car look unique.
Like the front end, sharp body lines and boxy design is very obvious from the side view, and rims come with the SX trim looks gorgeous. Compared to other 3-row SUVs, it definitely find a nice balance of ruggedness while still being civilized enough for an average family.
Like the front end, the rear end looks unique in its own way. It is quite surprising to see KIA has come a long way in the last decade, as they are no longer a trend follower when it comes to design language. It has 100% real exhaust tips that puts premium brands with fake exhaust tips to shame.
The interior design is one of the biggest indicators that this vehicle is purely designed for the North American market. It has wide seat designs, large steering wheel, wood trims all around the dash, nothing is complicated here. The interior is very well laid out, and it still has lots of physical buttons for pretty much all important features such as the A/C control buttons.
You don’t have to choose the top trim to get the memory seat function with the Telluride. The SX trim is kind of a upper-mid option that comes not only with memory seats, but it also has cooled and heated seats option. Overall seat comfort is exceptionally good for long trips.
If you want more luxury in the rear seats, SX trim may not be the best fit for your needs, as there is no heated or ventilated seat options available. However, if you absolutely need to have 8 passengers on board, you cannot go higher trim as it only comes with 7-seat option with Captain Seats in the second row.
Due to the boxy design, the Telluride has surprisingly good amount of 3rd row passenger space for a 3-row SUV. However, it has typical 3rd row flaws that is also applicable for pretty much all other entries. For instance, getting in and out is not easy, the floor is quite high for longer trips, which means it cannot replace your traditional minivan if you carry passengers frequently.
Combined legroom is one of the class leading in the 3-row SUV segment, but what about the overall cargo space? Behind the power tailgate, we find one of the best cargo spaces of 21 cu. ft. (594L), it goes up to 46 cu. ft. (1303L) if you fold down the 3rd row, and can go all the way up to 87 cu. ft. (2464L) with all seats down.
If you want a 3-row vehicle with more cargo room than you find in Telluride, then you definitely need to consider a minivan or full-size SUV because those are the only two options that would give more cargo room. There is even more storage space under the cargo floor for smaller items and you can also put the roller cover.
Engine and Drivetrain
Like the previous years, 2022 KIA Telluride comes with only one engine and transmission option. It is a corporate naturally aspirated 3.8L V6 that puts out 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. As it does not have turbocharger or any other type of forced induction option, the power and torque curve is pretty smooth and comfort oriented.
The transmission is an 8-speed torque converted regular automatic transmission that is also used in many other high end KIA, Hyundai and Genesis models. Like the engine setup, the transmission is focused towards road comfort and refinement, and it does a pretty good job as it shifts seamlessly.
As the engine is placed horizontally, the All Wheel Drive system is front biased, but it is standard in all trims in Canada. It does not have advanced off road features like mechanical locking differential, but the AWD system is more than enough for its natural habitat. It can tow up to 5000 lbs, which is pretty good for an SUV that has a unibody frame.
Driving Impressions and Features
When you get behind the steering wheel of the 2022 KIA Telluride, you find it just drives like any other mainstream 3-row SUV. However, the drivetrain makes the difference so much smoother as some entries have turbocharger lag, or their engines are not as refined.
As soon as you start driving the Telluride, you immediately realize it is just focused for the smooth and comfortable ride experience. Steering is numb but soft and precise enough for daily driving. Overall suspension tuning is the very good for a traditional crossover shopper.
The biggest flaw of the whole driving experience is the overall road noise is a little bit high especially when you compare it with premium entries. Our tester had Yokohama Winter tires so it was even louder than factory tires, but it is just louder than other entries with winter tires.
The Telluride’s AWD system works quite well in slippery conditions. We had a chance to drive on deep snow, and having 8 inches of ground clearance definitely helps moving of course with a proper set of winter tires. The AWD system can be adjusted based on road condition and it can distribute power accordingly.
If you are looking for the Telluride, you are probably considering the biggest rival – Hyundai Palisade. Feature wise, Telluride is not as good as the Palisade, as it’s missing digital gauge cluster, as well as electronically folding 3rd row seats. However, there are features that I like using it, especially the Highway Driving Assist stands out from the competition.
Another great feature is the infotainment system as well as the screen quality. The screen and back up camera quality is great for the price range. Although the competition gets really close, I still think KIA/Hyundai’s infotainment system is one of the most intuitive and easy to use compared to other non-premium mainstream brands.
Pricing and the Verdict
2022 KIA Telluride is still the threshold in the 3-row crossover segment not just because it does something exceptionally better than the other entries. It has the least amount of compromises with the least boring design, meaning that it is the most unique 3-row crossover option that offers the most usable 3rd row seats without going full size.
2022 KIA Telluride starts at $46,995 CAD with the base EX trim, and it can go all the way up to $56,695 with the top trim. Our tester is the SX trim is priced at $51,995, which is actually the lower mid trim that offers the most bang for the buck, unless you absolutely need heated or ventilated seats in the second row.
For more details – please go to www.kia.ca