The 2023 Kia Telluride Is Fighting With Its Family

2023 Kia Telluride X-Line

Price: $60,999 CAD

Colour: Wolf Grey

Much like the newest Hyundai Palisade, the new Kia Telluride gets a light facelift with the newest generation. They’ve given it the requisite nosejob and a few interior updates but for the most part it’s the same Kia Canada has loved since its inception in 2019. When I drive different examples of the same platform like the Palisade and Telluride I can’t help but compare. The Telluride is a big seller and outsells the Palisade year over year.  I’ll be honest and say I can’t figure why. The Palisade is superior in almost every way and feels so much more refined as an automobile. We seem to like it because it’s a little rougher looking and less refined. This is like preferring a less better looking person because they’re a little crueler to you on a daily basis. Strange I think.

Power & Performance

The power plant is unchanged with this generation. You still get the same 3.8L 6 cylinder as previous and it’s a very smooth engine. The 8-speed transmission sends the power to wheels in an equally smooth fashion. Smoothness is what this car is all about. You get 291hp and 262lb/ft on the Telluride and that’s enough to fit what this vehicle is all about. You’re never overwhelmed by the power band of this vehicle but you also don’t feel like you’re standing still all the time. This is a good setup as not every vehicle needs to be a sports car.

All-Wheel Drive is standard on all Tellurides sold in Canada. This is an ever-increasing theme these days. It seams like every time I turn around there is a new car being offered only with AWD. It’s a rare modern trend in the carmaking business that I agree with. AWD is a wonderful setup and a keeps the Telluride driving straight and true.

Exterior

The 2023 Telluride gives us an updated nose with new headlights and some grille changes. The changes don’t improve or ruin the looks of the car, they simply serve to justify the price increase that comes with the redesign. The real issue with the outside of the Telluride is the bare plastic cladding that rims almost the entire vehicle. I hate bare plastic cladding. It fades after a few years and really diminishes the looks of any vehicle it’s on. There must be significant cost savings to build the car this way as it becomes more and more common with each new generation of vehicles. The curious thing is the Palisade (in the top shelf trim) has fully painted cladding and it looks fantastic because of it. I wish they had done the same for the Telluride in its higher trim as well.

Interior

The 2023 Kia Telluride features a new infotainment system. The double screen arrangement is a great upgrade over the previous system and is superior to the system you get in the Palisade. The dash is contained within the screen directly in front of the driver and the infotainment screen is mounted in the center. The screens themselves have excellent resolution and the cameras on the vehicle are crystal clear. The infotainment system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity but, like so many Hyundai products, it’s wired only. There is not wireless option. That’s frustrating and makes no sense. I will say no more.

Every time I drive a Hyundai product I look for the wonderful blind spot camera system that I love so much. Fortunately, Kia has included the system on the Telluride. I am always so happy to see those little circles pop up when I hit the turn signals. It’s one of the most useful pieces of equipment on any vehicle.

The X-Line model comes with Nappa leather and it’s a wonderful grade of leather. The Terracotta Brown featured on the press vehicle wasn’t as ugly as brown can typically be and actually suited the vehicle. The leather allows for both heated and ventilated seats in the front and second row.

The second row of the test vehicle comes specified with captains chairs. I say it all the time and I’ll say it again. I love second row captain’s chairs. They make so much sense and give the primary passengers in this vehicle a premium experience. They also look good. Having a bench seat in the second row looks wrong.

New in 2023 in the Telluride is a rear-view mirror camera system. I love these systems. They give you a wide angle view of what’s behind you and are a great option if you’re loaded with stuff in the cargo area or the window is frosted over or even if it’s dark. The camera sees so much more than the standard mirror.

The third-row seats in the Telluride are folded by little latches in the rear cargo area. It makes the seats easy to fold down if you need more space in the back. The kicker is that in the Palisade, for similar money, you get a powered third row, up and down. If you got a price break for things like this that would make sense but you don’t, they just didn’t bother.

Quality

The 2023 Kia Telluride feels well made. The materials are top shelf and the vehicle is quiet with no rattles. The engine is smooth and relatively quiet. It is a step down from the Palisade in the luxury feel but is no less well made.

CQI – 8. Proper carpet. Nice to see.

Value

The 2023 Kia Telluride gives competes with many, many vehicles as there are so many options in this category. If this is the class of vehicle you’re looking at you have your work cut out for you. What you get in the Telluride that you don’t get so much of anymore is a proper, large capacity, non-hybrid internal combustion engine. Everyone is shrinking their engine sizes but Kia is sticking with the old school. That adds to the utility of this vehicle should you need to tow/haul in addition to the usual daily driving.

Final Thoughts

The 2023 Kia Telluride is a nice vehicle. It’s had small updates that will keep the design fresh and contemporary. The kicker is, the Palisade is simply better. You get a more refined looking vehicle with better equipment like painted fenders, powered third row and the remote park assist. All this should be included in the Telluride because it costs the same as the Palisade. If it was a more economical, less equipped vehicle then I would support that. This just feels like they knew people would buy it anyway no matter how many key items they left out. It pays to do your research.

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