Kia Telluride 3 Row SUV Adds X-Line and X-Pro To the Lineup. It Was Worth The Wait

2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro Featured Image

And lucky for you, Kia plans to build a lot more of these! 

Since it was introduced in 2019, the Kia Telluride has been the SUV to get: Large, boxy and fit for a family. Its Land Rover-ish good looks paired with Kia’s reputation for being reliable and quality-built, plus a price tag at a pinch south of $50K, put it at the top of the wish list of many families. 

And, with so few available to buy, those who got one were the focus of long, envious stares in traffic. 

Finally, though, if you’ve been waiting, the wait is not just over, it’s worth it. Kia has pledged to increase production by 30% for the 2023 model year. And, Kia is introducing two new models and some great new features in the Telluride that make this not just a good value, but a luxury bargain, too.

Related: Kia Telluride vs. Hyundai Palisade: These 3-row SUVs Are HOT

The 2023 Kia Telluride

The 2023 Kia Telluride. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Meet Mr. X: Kia Telluride X-Line and X-Pro

There are two new Telluride models for 2023: X-Line and X-Pro. They are similar in that they are designed for off roading. The X-Line adds .4″ higher ground clearance, roof rails, tow mode and 20″ wheels and self-leveling rear suspension; X-Pro adds 18″ all terrain tires, a household outlet in the cargo area and up to 5,500 lb. of tow capacity, which is 500 lbs. more than the other models in the lineup.

But the improvements don’t end there. Kia not only made the X models better for off road driving, but added more luxuries to the top of the line Prestige model. And, with AWD, which is available on all models, the Telluride has improved capability. And this is the biggest surprise: It’s intended to drive off road in comfort mode. 

Yes, comfort mode. This was a surprise: In AWD models simply tap the ‘lock’ button in the center of the drive mode dial and you’re locked in for maximum traction on all four wheels. It’s not exactly 4 wheel drive, but it’s good enough to get up crazy tall hills, across a steep grades and keep moving even though one or two wheels may be completely off the ground. It was impressive.

Related: 2020 Kia Telluride SX 3-Row SUV: Bespoke Details at an Off-the-Rack Price

The Interior Of The 2023 Kia Telluride

The interior of the 2023 Kia Telluride. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How Much Luxury do You Need?

If you need luxury—as in, you spend so much time in the car that luxury is a sanity saver—you’re in luck here, too. The top trims of the Kia Telluride, which start $50,000 and top out at about $55,000, include Nappa leather seats, micro suede ceiling headliner, a dual pane sunroof, head up display, wireless phone charging and a video rear view mirror.

You can dial down the luxury a bit and still get: 

  • leather seats (in all but the bottom two trims)
  • rear seat sunshades (on all but the bottom two trims)
  • heated front seats (on all but the base model)
  • vented seats (on all but the bottom two trims) 
  • wireless phone charger (on all but the base model)

The wireless phone charger is worth a note: Kia says it charges faster and keeps your phone cool. I didn’t exactly time the charging speed but I did keep my phone in the charger most of the day (sometimes plugged into the USB, sometimes not) and did notice it never got hot.

Then, you’ll also get all the standard features.

Related: Kia Telluride Wins 2020 World Car of the Year, and We’re Not Surprised

The Single Pane Of Glass Houses The Driver Information Screen As Well As The Multimedia Screen

The single pane of glass houses the driver information screen as well as the multimedia screen. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How Much Luxury is Standard? 

Here, Kia piles it on:

  • Kia’s expanded the suite of driver assist and safety features
  • a new single pane multimedia screen with Kia’s new media system
  • wifi hotspot
  • wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • smart key
  • second row climate control panel
  • seat back hooks
  • seat belt reminders
  • rear seat reminder
  • nearly all the family friendly features you can think of (keep reading for more on this).
Rear Seat Climate Controls Are In The Cieling Of The Kia Telluride

Rear seat climate controls are in the ceiling of the Kia Telluride. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Family Friendly Features are Standard, Too

Telluride is known for accommodating 7 or 8 passengers; captains chairs are included on all but the LX and EX models; these have a bench seat. All models have electric slide-and-tilt center row seats that function with the push of a button. And, you can slide the seat forward with a forward facing child car seat or an infant seat base installed using the LATCH system. The area created when the seats slide forward —a nd I tested it without child car seats installed— created ample room to climb into the third row, and the seat was easy to pull back into place from the third row.

I found the third row to be comfortable; I had enough leg room when the center seat pushed back about midway. With it pushed all the way back my knees brushed up against the seat back. The space is fine for younger or smaller passengers but adults may feel cramped on longer drives, even with center row captains chairs. 

Aside of the seating, Kia includes standard a number of very good family-friendly features. These include: 

  • quiet mode, which channels music to only the front speakers and keeps the level low
  • passenger talk, which uses a microphone and speaker system to allow first and third row passengers to hear each other
  • second row climate control panel embedded in the ceiling between the first and second rows
  • 6 USB ports including two in the backs of the front seats and two in the third row
  • two cup holders and bottle pockets in the doors (first and second row) and the wall panels (third row)
  • 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row (46 behind the second row)
Rear Seats In The 2023 Kia Telluride

Rear seats in the 2023 Kia Telluride. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How Kids Car Seats Fit

The Telluride is designed for families. In addition to being able to access the third row via a passthrough or by sliding and tilting the second row seats, center row seats are also adjustable forward and back and recline slightly, whether for installing car seats or just getting settled in for a long ride. 

When it comes to installing car seats, the doors open nice and wide and there’s a good amount of leg room for maneuvering. 

Kia includes full LATCH systems — that is, a pair of lower anchors and a tether connection on the back of the seat—on the two center row outboard seats or captains chairs, and one set on the driver’s side third row seat. There is additionally a tether on the third row center seat, but not a lower anchor. 

A View Of The Front Seat In The 2023 Kia Telluride

A view of the front seat in the 2023 Kia Telluride. Photo: Scotty Reiss

How Much is the Kia Telluride?

Here’s how pricing stacks up for the 2023 Kia Telluride: 

  • LX Base model: $35,690
  • S model: $37,590
  • EX model $41,290
  • EX X-Line AWD: $45,485
  • SX model $45,490
  • SX X-Line AWD: $48,885
  • SX X-Pro AWD: $49,885
  • SX Prestige AWD: $50,390
  • SX X-Line AWD: $51,785
  • SX X-Pro AWD: $52,785
  • Add AWD when not included: $2,000
  • Destination and handling: $1,335
The Dual Pane Sunroof Lets All The Good Views In

The dual pane sunroof lets all the good views in. Photo: Scotty Reiss

On Road Driving is a Pleasure

We took the Telluride around San Antonio, driving on the highway, in the city and in the country. Despite being a full size SUV, it doesn’t feel weighty or unmanageable. The V6 engine which produces 291 horsepower is ample for merging and on the off road trail, powering over a big hill or through a muddy puddle. And it’s estimated to get 20 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway and uses regular gas. There is not yet a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version, but my guess is that’s on the horizon (I hope soon.)

On the road the Telluride was pretty quiet, though I did appreciate the passenger talk feature for being heard in the third row. And the added luxuries of Nappa leather, head up display and wireless Apple CarPlay made me feel as if I was driving a much more expensive car than I was. Which is always a bonus. And in a car this popular, worth the wait.

Disclosure: I was Kia’s guest for this test drive; accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss