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2022 Kia Telluride SX test drive review

2022 Kia Telluride SX test drive review

(Kia Media)

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_This article was originally published on the KSL Cars Resource Center. You can find the original article here._

"Is that your Telluride? Do you like it?" If you own a Kia Telluride — one of the most coveted cars on the market — you're probably used to questions like this. Inquiring minds want to know whether this midsize SUV is worthy of all the attention it has been getting since its 2019 debut. Spoiler alert: It is. But, your satisfaction level may depend on which trim you select. For this review, we test drove the top-tier 2022 Kia Telluride SX Prestige Nightfall edition. It did not disappoint.

Price and value

The 2022 Kia Telluride comes in four trim levels, with an MSRP range of $33,390 to $43,290. The stylish interior features three rows of seats for up to eight passengers. Some of the major differences in trim levels are noted below.

LX: $33,390

18-inch alloy wheels, painted finish

SynTex seats

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

S: $35,890

20-inch alloy wheels, machined finish

Heated front seats

Power sunroof and roof rails

EX: $38,390

18-inch alloy wheels, machined finish

Heated and ventilated front power seats

LED taillights and exclusive grille

SX: $43,290

Surround view camera system and blind spot monitor

20-inch alloy black sport wheels

Dual sunroofs in the first and second row

Buyers won't be disappointed in the base-level LX. But, springing for the added creature comforts and safety features of the Kia Telluride SX may prove to be worth it in the long run. When you factor in the industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program Kia offers, it's no wonder Telluride continues to be a bestseller.

2022 Kia Telluride SX test drive review
Photo: Kia Media


Each trim comes with the same 3.8-liter V6 engine, so there won't be a difference in performance. Overall, Kia's largest SUV delivers a smooth ride, even if it does lack oomph in acceleration. Our Telluride SX Prestige tester proved to be well worth the extra cost in terms of added comfort.


The Telluride's 3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. With 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, it's not the punchiest ride in town. But, it's pretty darn respectable for its size and price tag. We did notice a slight shift lag at lower speeds, though it's only a minor drawback. The fact that this midsize SUV can tow up to 5,000 pounds is a nice bonus.

Fuel efficiency

If the Telluride has a weak spot, it's fuel efficiency. The 2022 model is rated 20 mpg for city and 26 mpg for highway driving for the standard front-wheel drive, which is fairly average. If you go with all-wheel drive, that drops to 19 city/24 highway. The SX tester we drove averaged slightly less in the city but more on the freeway. This might be partly due to the abundance of hills where we live, but it certainly seems like the Telly is happier when it's cruising at higher speeds.


Front-wheel drive comes standard, but you can upgrade to all-wheel drive on any trim level. The 8-speed automatic transmission is also standard. While you'll glide along nicely on the freeway, you might notice the transmission struggles slightly to find the right gear when you're climbing up hilly roads. Other than that, the Telluride delivers a smooth and pretty quiet ride.

Acceleration and handling

The acceleration isn't the peppiest, particularly at lower speeds. Car and Driver found the Telluride SX trim went from 0 to 60 in 7.1 seconds. The handling is fairly smooth and easy, similar to a minivan— a compliment in this case. It corners well, and the Smart mode driving feature adjusts nicely to driving conditions.


Our Telluride SX was equipped with automatic emergency braking as well as rear cross-traffic braking. The system is responsive, but not so touchy that you get whiplash every time it engages.

2022 Kia Telluride SX test drive review
Photo: Kia Media

Interior comfort and convenience

The interior really sets the Telluride apart from comparable SUVs. The draw here is that you get a near-luxury feel without the price tag — especially with the SX trim. It's more comfortable and roomy than you might expect.


The 2022 Kia Telluride SX comes with heated and ventilated Nappa leather upholstery seats that offer upscale comfort to the driver, front passenger and captain's chair passengers in the second row. Captain's chairs are standard in the SX, though you can opt for a bench seat if you want room for eight instead of seven. The third row technically has three seats, but the compact space is better suited to small children or two adults.

Climate control

The dual zone automatic climate control is a nice feature on top of the heated and ventilated seats. Rear passengers also have automatic climate control, which is great when you're hauling kids who want full command of their temperature settings. Our all-wheel-drive SX trim also includes a heated steering wheel for maximum comfort on those chillier days.

Cargo space and cabin storage

For its size, the Telluride is surprisingly spacious and doesn't leave you wanting for storage. It has 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, 46 cubic feet with third-row seats folded down, and 87 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded. Up front, there's a sunglasses compartment and a small cubby for your phone under the infotainment system. The sizable center console is flanked by cupholders for both front and back seat passengers.

Infotainment system

The Telluride dazzles with a 10.3-inch touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, satellite radio and Bluetooth. There are other snazzy selling points, such as the sounds of nature component that acts as a white-noise machine. The 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system delivers excellent sound quality throughout the cabin. The quiet mode feature is handy if you want to cut the noise to rear passengers who might be, say, snoozing in their car seats. Passenger talk is another great feature — it amplifies your voice for rowdy riders who might not hear you otherwise. Also available is a 110-volt power inverter and wireless smartphone charging.


Exterior appearance and functionality

There's no denying the Telluride is a head turner, and this midsize SUV gets top marks for both style and substance. This is particularly true for our Kia Telluride SX Prestige Nightfall tester, with its black roof rails, grille and wheels. Aside from the extremely popular Wolf Gray we drove, the color options Gravity Gray, Ebony Black and Glacial White Pearl are stunners as well.

Towing capacity

The Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds with a payload capacity of 1,565 pounds. That means it can haul a small boat or trailer, respectable for a vehicle of its size.


The Telluride comes with either 18-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels. Our SX came equipped with 20-inch alloy black sport wheels that handled bumps nicely and muffled freeway noise for a peaceful drive.

Lights and turn signals

The amber daytime running lights on the SX were a favorite exterior feature. The LED headlights offer unparalleled, crystal clear vision at night. In fact, they're so illuminating, some oncoming cars apparently thought we had our brights on. Our SX also had a high beam assist function. Blind spot cameras activate when you use the turn signals, which is a nice bonus.

Cameras and side mirrors

For virtually any angle you wish to see around your Telluride, Kia's got you covered with plentiful cameras in high resolution. The SX trim comes with blind spot cameras, but we found that the sensors are adequate on their own. EX and SX models both have power folding side mirrors, while the SX trim automatically tilts side mirrors down when you're reversing.

Front and rear windshield

Cameras aside, the visibility through the front and rear windows is also great. The rain-sensing windshield wipers are helpful since you won't need to fiddle around with the settings during a storm.

2022 Kia Telluride SX test drive review
Photo: Kia Media


Kia knew the Telluride would largely be a family hauler, and the safety features reflect that. With all the standard features you expect and then some, the Telluride is an award winner in this category for a reason.


Drivers and passengers alike should feel at ease, thanks to the vast array of standard safety features. On the top-tier SX trim that we drove, these include:

Adaptive cruise control

Surround view monitor

Blind spot view monitor

Forward collision warning

Lane departure warning

Lane-keeping assist

Automated emergency braking

Rear cross-traffic braking

Lower car seat anchors

Parking sensors

Driver attention warning

Rear occupant alert

Awards and ratings

The 2022 Kia Telluride earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was named a top safety pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also ranked second on MotorTrend's list of Best 3-Row SUVs with an overall score of 8.6 out of 10.

Final impression

When you weigh the many pros against the few cons, the 2022 Kia Telluride is indisputably a great vehicle for the money. It's comfortable, stylish and packed with safety features that will give families peace of mind on the road. Noting how well this SUV retains its value, the top-of-the-line SX Prestige package is well worth the extra cost for all the added comforts.


Is the Kia Telluride a reliable car?

J.D. Power gives the 2022 Kia Telluride a score of 85 out of 100 for quality and reliability, placing it solidly in the Great category.

Is the Kia Telluride fun to drive?

If you're looking for something with a lot of power, the Telluride probably won't be your first pick. But, if you want a comfortable daily driver that makes you feel like you're riding in stylish luxury, you won't do much better.

Does the Kia Telluride drive well in the snow?

Like many SUVs, the Telluride does well in the snow. However, upgrading to all-wheel drive will give you maximum wintertime performance.

If you've been wanting to get behind the wheel of a Telluride, it's time to scratch that itch and see for yourself why these midsize SUVs are such a hit for consumers. Find one today on KSL Cars.

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KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of or its employees.

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Allison Bell for KSL Cars


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