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2022 Kia Telluride Test Drive Review

In so many ways, the 2022 Kia Telluride seems like a bargain at the sticker price. But the value here goes beyond a low price and a long warranty because the 2022 Telluride is genuinely desirable.

8.8 /10
Overall Score

Inside the halls of Kia’s North American headquarters in Irvine, California, the Kia Telluride is colloquially known as the “Selluride.” Indeed, since the midsize three-row crossover SUV debuted to widespread acclaim for the 2020 model year, Kia’s dealerships have been desperate to obtain as many examples as possible from the automaker’s West Point, Georgia, assembly plant. There is good reason for the model’s popularity, and the 2022 Kia Telluride adds more standard equipment to ensure that rivals know they must still contend with Kia in this segment.

Look and Feel

9/ 10

Styling goes a long way toward drawing consumers to the 2022 Kia Telluride. From its muscular design and balanced proportions to its available trendy blacked-out wheels and trim, the Telluride is a handsome midsize SUV. For 2022, Kia doesn’t mess with success, making any more than a minor change to the grille pattern and slapping on Kia’s new badges.

The 2022 Telluride continues in LX, S, EX, and SX trim, with pricing that ranges from $32,790 to $44,590, plus a destination charge of $1,225. Each version comes with front-wheel drive (FWD); all-wheel drive (AWD) is available for an extra $2,000 ($1,900 for SX trim). Our Telluride SX test vehicle had AWD, the SX Prestige Package, and a set of carpeted floor mats, for a grand total of $48,325.

Regardless of the version you choose, the Telluride’s interior looks great and the controls are arranged in a logical manner. However, the plastic covering the lower half of the cabin displays too much gloss, which makes it look cheap. This is especially true in the SX Prestige, which has attractively stitched Nappa leather upholstery and a simulated suede headliner that, together, contrasts sharply with the shiny plastic panels. But, it is important to remember that this isn’t a pricey SUV in the first place.

Besides, for 2022 Kia is making up for it with numerous new standard features. For example, every Telluride now includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, but this change means the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included with the formerly standard 8-inch display are no longer available. Automatic climate control, a driving aid called Highway Driving Assist, and navigation-based Smart Cruise Control-Curve are also standard for 2022. The Telluride S trim gains a standard wireless smartphone charger this year.


8/ 10

Though it's sized to seat seven and is saddled with the same taller center of gravity every SUV suffers, the 2022 Kia Telluride is remarkably satisfying to drive.

The smile on your face starts when you press the accelerator pedal to rouse the 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine. Between the horses under the hood and the 262 pound-feet of torque, the Telluride has no trouble getting out of its own way. Unfortunately, it is your only engine choice. In an automotive market rapidly adopting electrification, a hybrid alternative would be nice to have.

An eight-speed automatic transmission powers the wheels, and with AWD you can take advantage of a Lock mode that evenly splits power delivery to the front and rear axles. Though the Telluride offers eight inches of ground clearance, limited wheel articulation means you’ll want to stick to paths more traveled. In the past, we’ve tested the Telly in snow and on muddy roads and it has performed well.

The Telluride is good to drive on dry pavement, too, thanks in part to a brake-based Torque Vectoring Cornering Control system. Drivers choose between Eco, Comfort, Smart, and Sport driving modes, and the SX features sizable 20-inch wheels and 245/50 tires that provide good grip. There is a suppleness to the Telluride’s ride quality, and though the SUV allows a little more roll in corners than some people might prefer, the benefit to this compliance is a smoother ride without any apparent loss in handling capability.

On the open road, the Telluride effortlessly cruises at or above prevailing speeds. It’s a great long-distance driver, lacking only massaging front seats to be perfect for the great American road trip, especially if you make use of the excellent Highway Driving Assist technology.

During our testing, the Telluride essentially matched the official EPA fuel economy estimate of 21 mpg in combined driving. Our Telluride SX AWD returned 21.1 mpg on the testing loop. With front-wheel drive, the EPA number is 23 mpg.

If you’re planning to do some towing, know that the Telluride’s trailering capacity tops out at 5,000 pounds.

Form and Function

9/ 10

The 2022 Kia Telluride is the rare vehicle that successfully balances form with function. Its interior design is upscale, organized, and appealing, yet Kia clearly prioritizes utility—right down to the functional grab handles on the roomy center console and the roof pillars. Thoughtful details abound, such as the overhead air vents, manual rear side window shades, rear smartphone storage pouches, USB ports embedded into the front seatbacks, and accessible rear cupholders.

Dual-zone automatic climate control warms and cools front-seat occupants, and a single-zone automatic climate control panel serves those sitting in the back. Kia’s SynTex simulated leather is standard in LX and S trim, while the EX and SX feature real leather. Choose the SX Prestige package for premium Nappa leather upholstery.

That’s what graced our test vehicle, along with that package’s simulated suede headliner. The result is an interior that looks, smells, and feels like it is installed in a more expensive vehicle. But this impression extends beyond the quality and appearance of the materials. With heated and ventilated front and second-row seats, dual sunroof panels, and a Smart Power Liftgate that can sense the presence of the keyfob and automatically open, our Telluride SX Prestige seemed as though it should cost thousands more.

All three rows of seats are comfortable for adults, though this is a relative observation with regard to the rearmost cushions. Though grown-ups fit, and while the Telluride includes a brilliant one-touch sliding and folding second-row seat mechanism to make loading the third-row seat easier, nobody will prefer this location to other rows.

Kia also provides plenty of storage space for everyone aboard, and when the hands-free power liftgate opens it reveals 21 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seat. Fold it down, and the Telluride still hauls up to five people and 46 cubic feet of luggage. The maximum volume measures 87 cubic feet.

We used the Telluride for an Ikea run, and the SUV’s folding seats and resulting flat load floor made it easy to haul our new bookcases and filing cabinets home.

Tech Level

9/ 10

For 2022, Kia makes its 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system standard equipment, including a navigation system with voice recognition technology. Previously, Kia restricted this system to higher trim levels.

The change is a welcome one, though the Telluride loses the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality provided by the old standard system with an 8-inch display. Now, those features require a wire. Also, the voice recognition system is not conversational, so it can be frustrating to use.

Kia supplies USB charging ports in all three rows, including airline-style ports embedded into the front seatbacks for use by rear-seat passengers. A wireless smartphone charging pad is now standard in all versions of the Telluride except for the LX.

Standard equipment includes Kia Connect. This is a connected services platform that includes a free trial subscription for one year of service. It includes 911 Connect for emergency assistance; safe teen driving alerts related to curfew, speed, and geofenced boundaries; remote engine start (button on the remote fob) and cabin climate pre-conditioning; a Find My Car feature; and more. The system provides home-to-car Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant smart speaker integration, too.

Kia Connect also delivers alerts to your smartphone if the standard ultrasonic rear occupant sensors detect movement in the Telluride. This technology reminds you to check the back seat before locking and leaving the SUV, but if you go ahead and do so anyway, and your child wakes from a nap and starts to fidget, Kia Connect will send you an alert after the ultrasonic sensors detect movement.

The kid-friendly Kia Telluride also has a standard Quiet Mode. When your children are sleeping in the back, you can adjust the stereo to play music only through the front speakers in order not to disturb them. A standard Driver Talk function does the opposite, broadcasting your voice to the rear seat occupants through the stereo speakers to ensure that you are heard without yelling.

Our SX test vehicle also had a decent 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system, an outstanding head-up display providing a wide range of information, and a helpful surround-view monitoring system with a top-down camera view.


8/ 10

Kia knows families will buy the 2022 Telluride, and it knows parents place a high priority on the safety and well-being of their children. As such, the Telluride includes numerous standard driver assistance and collision avoidance technologies under an umbrella called Kia Drive Wise. The list of safety features includes forward-collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-centering assist, and adaptive cruise control with curve speed reduction.

The Telluride also gets Kia's Highway Driving Assist technology. It combines adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assistance to keep the SUV on the straight and narrow during highway driving, but still requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel.

We’re big fans of this technology, and it works with enough subtlety that you’re inclined to continue using it instead of turning it off. However, if you were to fall asleep or suffer a medical emergency and you quit holding the steering wheel, Highway Driving Assist can only slow the Telluride down to a before deactivating. It doesn’t bring the vehicle to a safe stop with the hazard lights flashing, which is a safer solution.

New for 2022, the Smart Cruise Control-Curve system uses GPS data for the navigation system to predict upcoming curves and to automatically slow the Telluride for them. This feature works when the adaptive cruise control is in use, and it’s irritating. We shut it off.

Additionally, the Telluride includes standard Safe Exit Assist. This feature identifies when vehicles or cyclists are approaching the Telluride from the rear and warns occupants not to open a door. It is helpful when you’ve parallel parked the SUV.

Our SX test vehicle also had Kia’s Blind-Spot View Monitor technology. This supplements the standard blind-spot warning system with camera-based tech that shows the driver what’s in each of the Telluride’s blind spots. The imagery shows within the instrumentation display and works only when the driver uses a turn signal.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2022 Telluride earned a five-star overall rating, but individual performances for frontal-impact protection for the driver and the front passenger rates four stars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Telluride its “Top Safety Pick” designation. It missed out on the highest "Top Safety Pick+" award due to less-than-stellar headlight ratings.


10/ 10

In so many ways, the 2022 Kia Telluride seems like a bargain at the sticker price. This is especially true when you climb into the SX Prestige model and then look at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of less than $50,000. If you’ve already shopped around looking at the Telluride’s competitors, Kia’s asking price is undoubtedly appealing.

Now, add the complimentary one-year free trial of Kia Connect to this mix, along with one of the best warranty programs of any vehicle you can buy, and the Telluride should strike shoppers as a steal. The new-for-2022 standard equipment simply serves to amplify this impression.

In short, a 2022 Kia Telluride is exceptionally cost-effective. But the value here goes beyond a low price and a long warranty. The Telluride is genuinely desirable, even if you’re cross-shopping it with some luxury models.

Obviously, we’re big fans of this big Kia. With a hybrid powertrain option, a conversational voice recognition system, a small bump in safety ratings, and maybe something other than purple graphics for the infotainment display, it would be nearly perfect.

Updated by Christian Wardlaw

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