The face of Kia’s mid-size Telluride SUV is slightly restyled for 2023. (Kia)

The face of Kia’s mid-size Telluride SUV is slightly restyled for 2023. (Kia)

2023 Kia Telluride is upscale, luxurious, and a bargain

Updates for the three-row mid-size SUV include the addition of X-Line and X-Pro models to the lineup.

The Kia Telluride’s exterior and interior styling are mildly renovated for 2023, and there are technology upgrades including a newly available dual 12.3-inch panoramic display screen, standard navigation, and available Wi-Fi hotspot. New X-Line and X-Pro trims are added to the lineup, providing boosts in capability, towing capacity, and rugged appearance.

The Telluride mid-size SUV has three-row seating able to hold up to eight passengers with its standard second-row bench seat, or seven when fitted with the optional captain’s chairs.

All Telluride models share the same powertrain: a 291-horsepower V6 making 262 pound-feet of torque, coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for an extra $2,000.

Base pricing starts at $37,255 (with a $1,365 destination charge) for the Telluride LX model. It provides a generous serving of standard features including synthetic leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, push-button and remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, LED headlights with automatic high-beam control, and a raft of safety and driver-assistance systems.

Three more trim levels dish up extra features in increments to reach the all-you-can-eat SX Prestige at $53,350.

Every 2023 Kia Telluride is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. (Kia)

Every 2023 Kia Telluride is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. (Kia)

Availability of the new X-Line and X-Pro packages starts at the EX level. They include all-wheel drive along with an upcharge for the higher clearance, increased towing capacity (5,500 pounds), mechanicals, and appearance features they offer.

The 2023 Kia Telluride is sturdy, skillfully pieced together, upscale and luxurious. It rides like a dream. Pricing has increased somewhat for 2023, but compared with other SUVs in this class, the Telluride is a real bargain.

I drove the SX Prestige X-Pro model. To itemize the full list of features in the X-Pro package: unique 18-inch black wheels, all-terrain tires, X-Pro exterior accents, 5,500-pound towing capacity, heavy duty cooling and tow mode, self-leveling rear suspension, 110V inverter outlet.

As the proud owner of nothing to tow, my appreciation of the test Telluride was focused on how great looking it was, with those X-Pro highlights and dazzling Midnight Lake Blue paint ($495 extra, worth every penny).

Telluride’s fuel economy is a disappointment, I have to say. The test vehicle’s rating is 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

Room inside the 2023 Telluride belies its mid-size status. Rear seat legroom is vast. The rear cargo area is only 21 cubic feet with the third row seats in play, but with those seats folded, capacity expands to 46 cubic feet.

The third row is too tight for adults, but little kids would love it, as would your very good dog.

A 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen is the focal point of Telluride’s standout interior. (Kia)

A 12.3-inch multimedia touchscreen is the focal point of Telluride’s standout interior. (Kia)


Base price, including destination charge: $54,150

Price as driven: $55,120

Mary Lowry is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. She lives in Snohomish County. Vehicles are provided by automotive manufacturers as a one-week loan for evaluation purposes only. Manufacturers do not control content of the reviews.

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