2024 Kia Telluride Review: Square-jaw style, sensible shoes practicality

2024 Kia Telluride Review: Square-jaw style, sensible shoes practicality

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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.

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it's like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

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. 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.