The standout quality of the 2022 Kia Telluride is just how easy it is to live with.
During a week-long cottage trip with my boyfriend and his kids, there was not a single moment where I wasn’t happy with how easily the three-row SUV handled all the monumental family tasks we threw its way. It integrated so smoothly into our lives, and I was so impressed by its performance that I’ve been trying to convince my Mercedes-Benz-loving sister that she needs a Telluride for her growing family.
My sister and her husband have a dog, an active pre-teen, a rambunctious 1-year-old, and another baby on the way. They take lots of weekend trips and do cottage getaways a few times a year. They currently have a Mercedes GLC-Class and will need to upsize to a three-row, but the GLE-Class isn’t big enough and the GLS-Class is out of their budget. The Telluride obviously doesn’t offer Mercedes-level luxury, tech – or prestige – but it’s immensely practical and might be worth more than those aspects combined for an active family.
Inside, there are what seem like dozens of cupholders, storage cubbies, and door pockets deep enough for water bottles. There’s a spot to stash everything a busy family needs and lots of nooks for all the little rocks and random debris kids seem to collect. The doors also open nice and wide, so passengers can enter and exit easily and parents shouldn’t have too much difficulty installing child seats.
With all three rows of seating in use, there’s 601 L of space in the trunk that doesn’t even include a generously sized underfloor storage compartment that spans almost the entire width of the cargo area. There’s a huge 1,304 L behind the second row and an enormous 2,455 L of space with all seats folded flat. It easily held four people’s provisions (food, bedding, towels, games, suitcases, beach equipment, and more) for a week-long cottage/beach trip with room to spare. The wide trunk opening, low liftover height, and boxy shape of the Telluride’s cargo hold made it easy to load and unload, and the easy configurability of the seats is a big bonus.
The third row can be stowed or deployed using a simple strap, but the second row can be folded flat using buttons in the trunk. The second row can also slide forwards or backwards to make more room for cargo or passengers, and they’re easy enough to release using buttons near the headrest that a kid could enter and exit the third row on their own.
With proper equipment, the Telluride is rated to tow 2,268 kg (5,000 lb).
Besides its practicality, the Telluride’s intuitive operation is also one of its strengths. One of my biggest frustrations with new vehicles is that sometimes the learning curve is too long, and while it’s true that most people will learn to figure it out so that it becomes second nature, it doesn’t need to be that way.
This is not a vehicle that will require drivers to do a deep dive into the owner’s manual to complete even simple tasks. Everything is obvious almost immediately, the menus make sense, and completing most tasks is seamless.
The Telluride’s boxy and refreshingly straightforward design means even a few years after its debut it still manages to look fresh and rugged. There are enough details to help it stand out but not too many that would make the design overwrought. The Telluride is a smartly designed crossover that leans toward looking like a more budget-friendly Land Rover with its upright grille and unique square halo daytime running lights.
Inside, it’s nice but nothing too special. That fact doesn’t even bother me because of how thoughtful and functional it is.
The Telluride SX tested here sits in the middle of the lineup and has all the features a busy family needs. Some standouts include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (both wired connections), 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats with memory on the driver’s side, wireless phone charging, ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, power tailgate, and rear sunshades. The USB ports in all three rows, as well as the household outlet in the second row, are also incredibly appreciated during a road trip; they meant the kids could keep their phones charged up for the drive, which minimizes complaining – a feature that’s worth its weight in gold.
Stepping up to the SX Limited model adds extra features like a head-up display, heated and ventilated second-row seats, and second-row captain’s chairs, all nice-to-have features that I don’t consider mandatory.
Every Telluride comes standard with a long list of safety and driver assistance features including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-tracing, driver attention alert, high-beam assist, safe exit assist that warns you of oncoming traffic or cyclists, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a rear seat reminder alert, and adaptive cruise control. The SX model adds blind-spot cameras, front parking sensors, and a surround-view monitor.
The adaptive cruise control works well to keep a safe distance from a leading vehicle, but it struggled with keeping the Telluride centred in its lane during testing. Often when trying to navigate a slight bend in the road, the lane-keep warnings would sound, even though the system was supposed to be in control. But all the other safety systems worked well and accurately. I especially love the blind-spot cameras that show a live view of either side of the vehicle when the corresponding signal is used.
Throughout our entire trip no one complained of any discomfort, and though more plush and coddling seats do exist out there, the ones in the Telluride are totally fine. The two taller-than-average pre-teens also sat in the third row (let’s start calling it the back-back) for a portion of the trip, and with the second row pushed all the way forward they had plenty of room.
The Telluride is powered by a 3.8L V6 with 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission are standard. During our trip, the powertrain performed well, moving with confidence and refinement even when packed full of stuff and people. Acceleration isn’t blazing quick, but it’s strong enough to pass or get up to highway speeds without any drama.
Driving Feel: 9/10
The Telluride is large but feels smaller to drive, which is so appreciated. It means it’s easy to manoeuvre around tight parking garages and it doesn’t feel floaty, which is an issue that plagues many SUVs of this size. The steering has a heavier weight to it, so it feels like you’re in control, the visibility is fantastic so there are no troubling blind spots, and there’s not much body movement when hustling through a corner. The Telluride is also very easy to park, with the 360-degree parking cameras being a fantastic help.
Fuel Economy: 9/10
The Telluride gets decent fuel economy despite its large size, brick-like aerodynamics, and V6 engine. While it’s officially rated to 12.7 L/100 km in the city, 9.7 on the highway, and 11.2 combined, after our nearly 1,300-km trip through mostly country backroads, the SUV was returning a very respectable 9.9 L/100 km. It also takes regular-grade gas, and that’s a big bonus.
The SX model is the one I’d pick because it has all the features I think are necessary without any of the more expensive, gimmicky ones, and it starts at a very reasonable $51,495 plus an $1,895 destination fee. The Telluride feels worth the asking price because the fit and finish is excellent, the practicality is astounding, and its workhorse nature is strong.
The 2022 Kia Telluride has always been one of my top picks in its segment, but after putting it through the ultimate test of a week-long family getaway, I was even more impressed. The three-row SUV is just so remarkably easy to live with, and its huge practicality and user-friendliness made the week a smooth experience with zero frustrations.
A busy family doesn’t have time to figure out how to live with a new vehicle, it just needs to work without a fuss. The Telluride delivered one of the most seamless weeks I’ve ever experienced with a vehicle, despite the many challenges it faced, and I’d confidently recommend it to any family on the go.
|Peak Horsepower||291 hp|
|Peak Torque||262 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||12.7 / 9.7 / 11.2 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||601 / 1,304 / 2,455 L behind 3rd/2nd/1st row|
|Model Tested||2022 Kia Telluride SX|
|Price as Tested||$53,740|
$250 – Paint colour, $250