May 30, 2024
Wheels

Telluride is handsome mid-size SUV offering extreme value

No hiding the truth, it’s a wolf – in Wolf Gray paint

The 2024 Kia Telluride is a handsome mid-size SUV offering extreme value.

When the 2023 upgrade for the Telluride came out and won all the accolades, few of us who were asked to weigh in could deny this Kia was one of, if not the, best in the class. After testing the 2024 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige X-Line, I’m convinced it’s my “best.”

With a base price of $36,110, the Kia Telluride mid-size SUV offers a lot. That should not come as a surprise if you know Kia, who has built a cadre of vehicles that push the value expectations of consumers further every year.

I find the Telluride especially endearing as it delivers exactly what you expect it to. There’s no hiding behind marketing speak, and no surprises on trim-level options. There’s no sheep beneath this wolf’s clothing – though my tester did feature a gorgeous Wolf Gray exterior hue with sharp 20-inch X-Line black, alloy rims.

Performance

Each trim level of the Telluride features Kia’s tried-and-true 3.8-liter DOHC V6. This dependable powerplant delivers 291 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque at 5,200. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that pushes contact through all four wheels, my tester was capable of 0-60 in just 7 seconds. That’s decent, but it might not be enough for heavy-footed family members.

At 4,325 pounds, the Telluride is at the heavier end of the mid-size spectrum in the class. I found acceleration to be more than adequate under all circumstances, from darting around town to jumping into highway-speed traffic.

I think the Telluride offers owners value as a highly competent daily driver with a slightly firm ride that certainly helps with minimizing body roll and enhancing maneuverability. Not surprisingly, my tester featured Kia’s self-leveling rear suspension, which uses airbags. It makes a huge difference in the ride quality.

Featuring 8.4 inches of ground clearance, my Telluride X-Line has just enough off-road capability to give the family that never plans to go off the pavement a real peace of mind.

Telluride X-Line AWD models offer 18 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined. If you opt for the front-drive setup, it is 20 city, 26 highway, 22 combo.

Cabin

The Telluride cabin is quite comfortable, anchored by nicely bolstered seats that are wider than average. The upgraded Nappa leather trim was an appreciated aesthetic, as were the soft-touch surfaces and convenience of storage, cup holders, and charger ports.

Telluride’s second-row seats can be independently positioned up or down, as can the third-row seats. This is incredibly helpful when trying to configure a space to accommodate both people and cargo. Put them all down and you have 87 cubic feet of space!

Wireless smartphone charging, WiFi, CarPlay, and Android compatibility are all part of the universal offerings for Telluride. The tech suite is a highlight of the SUV. Impressive dual digital displays, along with a head-up display, reveal blind spots by highlighting the positioning of surrounding vehicles. While the nav system and audio system are incredibly intuitive to operate, audiophiles will fall in love with the 10-speaker Harman/Kardon package.

My tester featured the X-Line standard dual-screen panoramic digital display, Nappa leather upholstery, as well as heat and ventilation for both the first- and second-row seats.

Telluride can seat eight people unless you opt for the second-row captain’s chairs that my tester featured. Every family/owner has their preference, but the row-two captain’s chairs were a delight for one long road trip.

Safety is a priority with this SUV. The digital rear-view mirror gives you a choice of camera or reflective viewing, while Kia’s “Driver Talk” feature uses the rear audio speakers to ensure rear passengers can hear communication from the driver.

Insights

While the Telluride is an incredible value, it does have a few downsides. First and foremost is the fuel economy numbers, even the 22 combo for the front-drive configuration is a bit low. Part of the challenge for Telluride is only one engine option is available, something Kia will likely address very soon. Of course, third-row seating is very tight, and I’d guess only the little ones will want to be seated back there.

In terms of value, Kia’s 10-year, 100K-mile powertrain warranty is unmatched by anyone other than sister-brand Hyundai. My tester had a base price of $52,185 for the top-end trim level Telluride. That cool Wolf Gray paint added $495, some custom-fitted mats and covers added about $450; and destination costs added another $1,365. The final price out the door was $54,540. And yes, Junior, that would be a value in 2024.

• John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations and new vehicles.