Who would've thunk that one of the hottest cars on the market would be a three-row family crossover from Kia, of all brands? Yet, that's exactly what the 2022 Kia Telluride is. Demand was already through the roof before pandemic-related shortages compounded things, resulting in customers either finding no Tellurides available to purchase or gigantic dealer markups driving prices up far beyond the not-insignificant MSRP. In other words, no matter how much we recommend the 2022 Telluride, you may not be able to find or afford one.
All of that said, the 2022 Kia Telluride is indeed our top-recommended three-row family SUV. First and foremost, it is supremely practical, providing space in all three rows for full-size adults or teenagers — that's not a given in its segment. It also provides more cargo space than most, including its mechanically related Hyundai Palisade sibling (speaking of which, if you can't find a Telluride, trying turning next to a Palisade or at least Kia's smaller Sorento three-row SUV). Kia also provides loads of equipment, user-friendly infotainment features, well-executed safety tech and above-average fuel economy. The only real downside, besides its general scarcity, it that it's merely OK to drive, with an engine that's nothing special in terms of fuel economy and acceleration. Ultimately, the Telluride's most appealing attribute is that it manages to be one of the most practical family crossovers without looking overtly like a practical family crossover. There's more than a whiff of Range Rover about it, which undoubtedly has fueled its on-fire demand. The fact that Kia has finally adopted a new logo for 2022 that doesn't remind one of crummy old Kia Sephias and Spectras should stoke that fire even more.
Interior & Technology | Passenger & Cargo Space | Performance & Fuel Economy
What it's like to drive | Pricing & Features | Crash Ratings & Safety Features
What's new for 2022?
Yes, the Telluride gets Kia's new logo for for 2022, but the Telluride is otherwise visually identical inside and out (that's why we've kept most of our same photos in this review). In other badging news, the trim level and engine badges have been removed from the tailgate. More important, the 10.25-inch touchscreen upgrade trickles down to the LX and S trim levels along with the Highway Driving Assist adaptive cruise control.
Read what's coming for the 2023 Kia Telluride, including its updated styling and new X-Pro trim level.
What are the Telluride interior and in-car technology like?
Admittedly, we've only had contact with the ritziest, range-topping Telluride SX model that boasts soft, interestingly stitched leather, convincing faux wood trim, and a generally luxurious ambience that trumps nearly everything else in the segment (it's a coin flip between it and the mechanically related Hyundai Palisade). It also costs less than range-topping rivals that actually have less equipment.
Now, will an LX and EX be as swank? No, but the general quality of plastics, switchgear and other materials should still be above average. Every Telluride is also extremely well equipped. Check out the pricing and features section below for a full breakdown, but suffice to say, you don't need to pay top dollar to get heated and ventilated seats, sunshades and an abundance of infotainment features.
Indeed, every Telluride comes standard with five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and for 2022, the same wide 10.25-inch touchscreen that used to be found on only the top trim levels. Not only will this large screen impress your friends with its largesse, but it's one of the more functional on the market as well. You can find our full Telluride Infotainment Review here. You still have to get one of the upper trims to add to it wireless smartphone charging, integrated navigation and a grand total of seven USB ports spread throughout all rows. The ports embedded in the backs of the front seats are unique (pictured above, bottom right), and shorten the distance between phone and port for those in the second row.
How big is the Telluride?
The 2022 Telluride is a large, three-row family crossover, eclipsing most competitors in terms of overall length and interior space. On paper, second- and third-row legroom is particularly generous, and we confirmed this in person by comfortably fitting 6-foot-tall people back-to-back in all three rows. That's a rare feet for any vehicle, especially in terms of the third row. The way-back's comfort and space are enhanced by its ample headroom and reclining capability, as well as the sliding second row (available as a bench or captain's chairs). We also like the large rear quarter windows that help the Telluride's third row avoid the claustrophobic feel of many competitors. Access to the third row is gained by pressing a button on the second-row captain's chairs (if so equipped), which automatically slides and flips the seat forward. This may be conveniently simple, but the resulting gap isn't that big.
Cargo space also betters that of most competitors, even with the third-row raised. There's 21 cubic feet with all seats in place, versus the 16 to 18 range of most rival crossovers (it's even more than the mechanically related Hyundai Palisade that's jumbo in its own right). Now, as we discovered when cargo-testing the Telluride, achieving that 21-cubic-foot max capacity behind the third row is accomplished by removing the floor panel (stored outside the car) that adds 5 inches of depth, but nevertheless, the result is being able to stow more bags than any other three-row crossover besides the Chevrolet Traverse/Buick Enclave.
With all seats lowered, only the Ford Explorer and Chevrolet Traverse outdo the Telluride's 87 cubic feet of maximum space.
What are the Telluride fuel economy and performance specs?
Unlike the Sorento, which provides a choice of hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the Telluride continues to offer a single choice of engine: a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. These are strong numbers for the segment. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel is an option. That system constantly alters the amount of power going to the front and rear axles, with the percentage of distribution differing depending on the selected drive mode. For instance, Sport splits power 65/35 front/rear, whereas Comfort and Snow have a 80/20 split. There's also a Lock mode best suited for off-roading, which keeps things 50/50. Towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds, which is typical for a large family crossover.
EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, and 19/24/21 with all-wheel drive. This is effectively the same as most competitors.
What's the Telluride like to drive?
The Telluride definitely doesn't follow in the footsteps of the Stinger or other sporty Kias that demonstrate sharp handling and even driving fun. There's lots of body roll, but it's not uncontrolled, as the suspension sets itself nicely through a corner while maintaining composure over big bumps or undulations. The steering, at least in Smart or Sport modes, is also precise enough and provides confidence to the driver. The Comfort mode is too numb and allows too much play at speed.
In terms of ride quality, the optional big 20-inch wheels create choppy reactions to certain road imperfections and we'd avoid them. In general, though, the ride is perfectly pleasant and at least comparable to most competitors. Really, the Telluride strikes a great balance between comfort and driver confidence that should be perfect for many. It also, importantly, doesn't drive as big as its sizable dimensions would imply.
Power from its standard V6 engine is ample and similar to what you'll find in most competitors, though it certainly won't blow you away. Really, it's in keeping with the rest of the Telluride's driving experience: largely forgettable but also vice-free.
What other Kia Telluride reviews can I read?
Our first complete drive of the 2020 Telluride, including a deeper dive into its design, interior functionality and driving experience.
Senior Editor John Beltz Snyder spends some time in the family-friendly Telluride with his wife and son.
Associate Editor Byron Hurd reviews the Telluride's excellent 10.25-inch touchscreen interface included on the EX and SX. As he concludes, it "is robust, versatile and customizable, but still very intuitive to use."
We find out how much stuff can fit behind the Telluride's raised third-row seat.
In a previous test with different luggage, we compared it to the Buick Enclave. It, along with its Chevy Traverse sibling and the Volkswagen Atlas, are the only three-row crossovers with more space behind the third row than Telluride.
It's not just one piece of technology. Rather, it consists of multiple layers of well-executed tech features that collectively make lane changes safer and easier.
How much is the 2022 Kia Telluride price, and what features are available?
The price goes up by nearly $1,000 for 2022 as the base Telluride LX now starts at $34,015, including the also-increased destination charge of $1,225. All-wheel drive adds $2,000 to every trim level.
Standard equipment isn't quite as generous as you might expect from a Kia, but is certainly in keeping for the segment. The LX includes 18-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights, rear privacy glass, proximity key and push-button start, remote ignition, simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 10.25-inch width-oriented touchscreen, five USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and a six-speaker sound system. See the Safety section for the Telluride's full complement of advanced safety technologies.
We think opting for either the S or EX is a good idea as they add a number of indispensable upgrades. The Telluride S ($35,560) adds a sunroof, eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats, roof rails and a choice of either second-row captain's chairs (seven passengers) or a bench seat (eight passengers, which is standard on the LX). It also includes 20-inch wheels. The Telluride EX ($38,560) goes back to the 18's but adds hands-free power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear temperature controls, leather upholstery, an eight-way power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, second-row sunshades, wireless smartphone charging, more USB ports and integrated navigation.
The SX ($42,190) slathers on luxury features, including LED exterior lighting, expanded digital instruments, an upgraded driver seat and a Harmon Kardon sound system. It then really kicks thing up with its $2,300 Prestige package that adds heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel and fancier leather among other items.
Finally, the Telluride Nightfall Edition is really a package that can be added to either the EX or SX. It basically just adds black trim to anything that is otherwise silvery and/or shiny, including the 20-inch wheels. The exception? The new Kia badging. It costs $1,295.
You can find a full breakdown of the 2022 Telluride's features, specs and local pricing here on Autoblog.
What are the Telluride safety ratings and driver assistance features?
The 2022 Telluride comes standard with a comprehensive array of safety equipment, including accident avoidance tech. Besides the usual airbags and stability aides, standard items include forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, and a driver inattention warning system. For 2022, the Highway Driver Assist adaptive cruise control system with pedestrian detection and lane-centering steering assist is added as standard equipment.
While most competitors offer something like this, the Kia/Hyundai system is better than most. The available, enhanced blind-spot monitoring system included in the SX is also better than the norm. We named it Autoblog Technology of the Year for its comprehensive, effective and not annoying layers of features designed to make lane changes safer and easier. Among its talents, the blind-spot camera display in the instrument panel (pictured above) that shows the respective blind spot when you signal right or left.
The Telluride received five out of five stars for overall and side crash protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and four stars for front protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Telluride a Top Safety Pick for its best-possible crash protection and crash prevention scores. Its base headlights got a "Poor" rating, which is typical, while its available upgrade headlights got an "Acceptable" rating.
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