I've never designed an automobile before, but I have to imagine that the hardest thing---harder even than a clean-sheet design---is to update a vehicle you got right the first time.
That's the position Kia's team found itself in this year---a mid-cycle refresh of the Tellruide---an instant hit out of the gate when it arrived for model year 2020. A right-size three-row family SUV that gives off major Range Rover vibes at a fraction of the price. The Kia team did the near-impossible. Changed it---improved it---without messing it up. The revised headlamps, front and rear fascias and fog lamps make the Telluride look even more purposeful, as do the addition of X-Line (our tester) and X-Pro trims. The X-Line gets increased ground clearance, raised roof rails and downhill brake control, while the X-Pro gets all those things plus increased towing capacity, a tow mode, 18-inch wheels and Continental all-terrain tires.
Under the hood, the 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine continues, as does an eight-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 happens in 6.8 seconds---more than respectable for the Telluride's size and weight. The EPA city/highway fuel economy average is 21 mpg---and I was able to beat that in a week of city street and urban freeway driving, getting 22.5.
Kia also updated the interior---something I wouldn't have thought was really necessary while driving the '22, but the more modern screen setup is a very nice evolution.
The base price of the 2023 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line V6 AWD is $53,120 including destination. And virtually everything comes standard, including a complete suite of active safety features, dual panoramic 12.3-inch displays, navigation, a surround view monitor and blind spot view monitor, a head-up display, a Harman/Kardon premium audio system with a three-month free trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, smart key with remote start, a digital rear-view mirror, wireless phone charger, Nappa leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front and second row seats, a heated steering wheel, dual sunroofs, a smart power liftgate, rear privacy glass, 20-inch black alloy wheels, tow mode and a self-leveling rear suspension.
The only extra-cost options on our test vehicle were the Wolf Gray paint ($495), the terracotta interior color package ($295) and carpeted floor mats ($210), so the as-tested price of the 2023 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line V6 AWD is $54,120.
A steal at that price. Again, your neighbors will be guessing $75K plus. Bravo, Kia!
Now....how do you follow this?