Pros: Bigger-than-average third row and cargo space; user-friendly tech; extra-smart cruise control; handsome design; excellent value
Cons: X-Pro ride quality; no hybrid powertrain available
Turns out your three-row family hauler doesn’t have to be a drab appliance. The 2024 Kia Telluride has the sort of square-jawed, classically rugged style that made SUVs popular in the first place, yet provides the abundant, family-friendly practicality that saw crossovers slowly take over the segment. It also offers near luxury levels of equipment and interior ambience with a lower price tag and, again, greater practicality than various actual luxury models.
In short, the 2024 Kia Telluride is one of our top choices in the three-row family SUV segment along with the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Palisade (the Telluride’s mechanically related twin). The Honda has a slight advantage in terms of interior versatility and driving precision (its off-road-oriented TrailSport is also more capable and comfortable than the Telluride’s X-Pro), while Kia and Hyundai offer superior infotainment and safety technology. Between the two twins, it’s mostly a coin flip based on style preference and perhaps the deal you get at a dealer. Of course, there are plenty of other options available, but in the interest of keeping things simple, we’d recommend starting with this trio first – and certainly wouldn’t be surprised if you found the Telluride to be the best choice.
What's new for 2024?
People were clearly not entirely on board with the Telluride’s mid-cycle styling refresh last year (above right) because Kia has partially walked back one of the changes. The original design’s distinctive square amber halo running lights (above left) are still gone, but the new design’s twin vertical light lines have been changed from white to amber (see the gallery at the top of this page). We still think the new design is worse than the more timeless original and wonder why Kia still sees the need to change things just for the sake of change when its designs are so excellent these days (this isn’t 2008 anymore and it isn’t selling anonymous Optimas). Last year’s new X-Line and X-Pro also get gloss black exterior trim in place of the dark metallic trim designers used to be a bit different from the norm. Apparently, people like the norm.
What are the Telluride interior and in-car technology like?
Admittedly, we've only had contact with the highest Telluride models that boast soft leather, high-quality trim materials, and a generally luxurious ambience that trumps nearly everything else in the segment (the new Mazda CX-90 is definity ritzier and it's a coin flip between the Telluride and mechanically related Hyundai Palisade). The Telluride also tends to cost 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 this pricing and features page on Autoblog 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 USB and USB-C ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with navigation. 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. It's not quite the latest-and-greatest Kia system that you'll find in the Sportage or EV6 (there's some flashier graphics and better user interfaces in some menus, especially for the radio), but it's a minor difference. There is plenty of customization to be found throughout (such as where you want individual menu icons to be) and thoughtful, family-friendly features like Quiet Mode, which kills the rear seat speakers for kids catching Zs or listening to their own stuff through headphones. No need to tap-tap-tap into sound settings to push the output all the way forward (and do so again come Monday morning when you don't have a back seat full of kids). Upper trims also get the all-digital instrument panel to create a dual-screen look, wireless smartphone charging, a color head-up display and 100-volt plugs. The USB ports embedded in the backs of the front seats are unique, and shorten the distance between phone and port for those in the second row. Most of those ports have also been upgraded to the smaller USB-C variety, which is great for future-proofing your Telluride, but in the near term, you may need to buy charge cord adapter or new charge cords (not that big of a deal).
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 feat 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 is also better than 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.
What are the Telluride fuel economy and performance specs?
The 2024 Telluride still has a single powertrain option: a hard-working, naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 peaking at 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, put to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The front-wheel-drive Telluride is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. With all-wheel drive, it gets 18/24/20 mpg. That’s not bad for a non-hybrid in this segment, but it’s not anything to write home about, either. In about 800 miles of mostly Interstate driving, we only managed 23 mpg in a Telluride X-Pro. This isn't surprising given its all-terrain tires.
What's the Telluride like to drive?
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. It’s certainly not particularly memorable to drive (it may look a bit like a Range Rover, but it doesn’t drive like one), but we’re guessing that’ll be OK for many.
The V6 is suitably powerful without being particularly quick (or slow), and the transmission stays out of the way. It certainly won't blow you away, but rather falls in line with the rest of the Telluride's driving experience: largely forgettable but also vice-free. You still have the various selectable drive modes to eke out either more throttle response (Sport) or range from your tank (Eco). There’s a Comfort mode to split the difference, a Smart mode that does the thinking for you, or a Snow mode for, well, snow.
The Telluride X-Pro provides a considerably different driving experience due to its Continental all-terrain tires. We found only a negligible reduction in steering precision and road holding in the context of a three-row family SUV, but the ride quality is absolutely worse. The suspension found in both the X-Pro and X-Line might have been retuned to better soak up bumps, but the X-Pro's rigid tires draw attention to every bump in a way that may grow tiresome. It feels like the equivalent of replacing the soles of your comfy running shoes with hard winter boot rubber. Interestingly, the Honda Pilot Trailsport has the exact same tires and does not suffer the same issues.
Now, should you take the Telluride X-Pro off-road, as we did, you should find it to be surprisingly capable. It manages to keep going when one of the wheels would lift from the ground while crossing ditches and large ruts. The all-terrains found grip well, and the traction control worked quickly to find even more footing when it’s needed. We wouldn’t hesitate to take this down some old logging trails or unmaintained county roads, but, honestly, we wouldn’t hesitate in the regular versions, either. In other words, the X-Pro's extra capability (and cool-looking tires) are not worth the degradation in ride quality.
What other Kia Telluride reviews can I read?
We drive the newly refreshed Telluride, and find the extra content and rugged-ish trims to be worth consideration
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.
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.
What is the 2024 Telluride price?
Even the base Telluride comes very well equipped with items typically not standard, including a heated steering wheel, 12.3-inch touchscreen display with navigation, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, and more safety features than usual (see Safety section below). Moving up in trims unlocks more convenience features, smarter tech and finer materials. The standouts here are the new X-Line and X-Pro trims, which increase ride height, add some rugged styling elements and, include all-wheel drive and, in the X-Pro, all-terrain tires and a higher tow rating. Each is offered with differing degrees of equipment (EX X-Line and SX Prestige X-Line, and then the SX X-Pro and SX Prestige X-Pro). The luxurious, line-topping SX Prestige trim has all the bells and whistles to go with a ritzier, more luxurious vibe.
All prices below include the mandatory $1,365 destination charge. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is a $2,000 unless otherwise indicated
EX X-Line (AWD only): $47,250
SX X-Line (AWD only): $50,650
SX X-Pro (AWD only): $51,650
SX Prestige (AWD only): $52,055
SX Prestige X-Line (AWD only): $53,550
SX Prestige X-Pro (AWD only): $53,185
What are the Telluride safety ratings and driver assistance features?
Standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane-keeping steering assist, blind-spot warning, rear parking sensors, a driver inattention warning system, rear occupant alert, safe exit assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering steering assist (Highway Driving Assist). The SX trim and higher add a blind-spot camera (a live video feed pops into the gauge cluster showing your blind spot when a turn signal is active), the Highway Driving Assist II system (adds enhanced steering assistance and automated lane changes to the adaptive cruise control plus machine learning that allows the system to adapt to your driving style), improved forward collision avoidance features for more driving situations (junction crossing, lane changing, etc.), forward parking sensors, reverse automatic emergency braking and surround view parking cameras.
While most competitors offer features like these, the Kia/Hyundai systems are better-executed. 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.
The 2023 Telluride doesn't have full crash scores from the federal government's NHTSA, but we doubt it would be different from the 2022 Telluride that 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 2023 Telluride a Top Safety Pick+ for its best-possible performance in all categories. This is a slight improvement over its pre-refresh performance.
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