Trucks and SUVs

2023 Best Mid-Size SUV: Kia Telluride

To say that Canadians like their SUVs is an understatement tantamount to saying crispy bacon is only marginally popular at the Sunday morning buffet. With the 2023 Telluride, Kia has the right combination of squared-off styling, a sumptuous interior, and a reasonable price to create the type of vehicle shoppers across this country have been clamouring to get in their driveways – culminating in earning the 2023 AutoTrader Award for Best Mid-Size SUV.

For 2023, Kia has revised the Telluride’s squarish face, introducing a new vertical headlamp design plus a fresh front fascia and grille treatment. These features often draw visual comparisons with costly Yukons and Range Rovers despite those vehicles playing in far more expensive segments. A smattering of new colours and different taillights will also inform the neighbours you didn’t have to settle for last year’s model.

Leading the charge this year are two new trims, both with an off-road bent. The X-Line adds body-coloured trim and 10 mm of extra ground clearance, while the X-Pro gets the same but trades the X-Line’s 20-inch wheels for a set of 18s wrapped in burly Continental off-road tires. Those trims are two of five available in our market this year, ranging from the $49,995 EX version to the top-rung $62,595 X-Pro model.

Kia originally made a name for itself in Canada by packing its vehicles with the type of features typically found in machines with more expensive price tags. For this model year, the 2023 Kia Telluride raises the bar with some new technology including a 12.3-inch infotainment display, which is a 2.0-inch upgrade over the old unit. A Cadillac-esque digital rearview mirror is now an option, along with a power liftgate that can now close on its own as the driver walks away with an armload of groceries. Also new are safety gear like a system that can alert the driver of posted speed limits plus sensors for forward collision avoidance.

This is all in addition to what is already one of the best interiors in its class. It’s no wonder AutoTrader’s own Editor-in-Chief Jodi Lai has called the Telluride “a champion for families on the go.” Necessities like USB ports in all three rows are present, some of which are smartly tucked into the front seat backs instead of consuming valuable real estate on the centre console. There is ample space for passengers and their gear, with the second row being suitable even for future NBA stars. The same cannot be said for some of the Telluride’s competitors, despite their outsized exterior dimensions.

A smooth powertrain rounds out this attractive package, showing up for duty as a 3.8L V6 with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. While these numbers – and the eight-speed automatic transmission – are wholly average for this segment, the refinement of this power team gets the job done without any bizarre gear changes or other unnecessary drama, all while returning better than 9.9 L/100 km in highway driving conditions. Every new 2023 Telluride sold in Canada now gets all-wheel drive as standard equipment.

Our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from across the country considered every single new three-row SUV available for Canadians to buy and voted for the best ones using a dozen different criteria ranging from safety and quality to efficiency and performance. These criteria are weighted with a critical eye to the segment’s intended purpose; for example, passenger comfort was more important here than in the performance car category. It is worth noting that, even with these stringent criteria, the Kia Telluride is a multi-year winner in its segment.

Good looks, a long list of features, and a seamless powertrain? Make no wonder the 2023 Kia Telluride is popular as bacon on Sunday morning – and the recipient of AutoTrader’s Best Mid-Size SUV award.