Dashing, Updated Design. Since its introduction, the Kia Telluride has stood out for having one of the more unique designs in the packed midsize class. For 2022, the Telluride now wears Kia’s new badge on the grille and liftgate. The badge can also be found on the new steering wheel cover.

The changes aren’t radical, but they didn’t need to be. The Telluride continues to feature a bold design that looks part upscale and part rugged. It’s a look we’ve only seen from American automakers, but Kia pulled it off well with the Telluride. Going with the Nightfall Edition, which came out last year, or the range-topping SX trim brings noticeable changes that include 20-inch black wheels, low-profile roof rails, and satin chrome exterior trim pieces.

The best part about the Telluride’s exterior design is that the SUV starts at $34,015 with destination, which is average for the class. Despite the starting price tag, the Telluride will help you trick some neighbors into thinking you’ve purchased a luxury vehicle.

Packed With Features. While Kia’s decision to bundle options in large packages is annoying, the SUV is packed with all the features you could ever need. Even lower trims come with a 10.25-inch touchscreen that includes six USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and a 3.5-inch TFT trip computer.

Of course, higher Telluride trims feel luxurious with things like a Harman Kardon audio system, a 7-inch LCD display, a wireless smartphone charger, and seven USB ports. Wood trim, Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated first and second-row seats, dual-zone climate control, 64-color interior ambient lighting, and a heated steering wheel further help the Telluride’s case for being a luxury vehicle.

Kia also offers an extensive list of standard safety features on the Telluride that goes above and beyond for the class. For 2022, the SUV now comes with navigation-based adaptive cruise control as standard. The system adjusts the vehicle’s speed when entering and exiting a corner. Highway Driving Assist, which utilizes traffic sign recognition to automatically adjust the vehicle’s speed to posted speed limits, is also standard for 2022. The changes help bolster the Telluride’s already-excellent list of safety features.

Plenty Of Space For Adults. Most midsize SUVs don’t have cabins that are spacious enough for adults in all three rows, but that isn’t the case with the Telluride. Regardless of configuration — whether the second row is a bench seat or two captain’s chairs — adults can fit in all three of the Telluride’s rows.

In addition to having a generous amount of passenger space, the Telluride also offers one of the larger cargo areas of any midsize SUV in the class. Behind the third row of seats, the Telluride offers up to 21 cubic feet of cargo space, which expands to a total of up to 87 cubic feet of cargo space. Against competitors, the Ford Explorer is one of the few rivals that can actually hold more cargo, as that SUV has a total of 87.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

V6 Lacks Oomph. For daily use and long road trips, there’s nothing wrong with the Telluride’s standard 3.8-liter V6 engine. It’s rated at 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque and has a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds. These figures are competitive for the class, but other options come with more powerful turbocharged engines that have higher towing capacities.

On the flip side, competitors with smaller, turbocharged engines are more efficient than the Telluride. With front-wheel drive, the Telluride is rated at up to 23 mpg combined. Get an SUV with all-wheel drive, and the combined rated drops to 21 mpg. Those figures trail a lot of rivals, especially those that are offered with hybrid powertrains.

Final Thoughts. The 2022 Kia Telluride is one of the few SUVs that can fit the needs of multiple consumers. Families on a budget, consumers looking for a semi-luxurious SUV, shoppers wanting the latest tech features, and drivers in need of a spacious cargo area will all find something to like with the Telluride. Its unique, upscale design also helps its place at the top of the class.

While not as spacious or as rugged as the Telluride, the Mazda CX-9 matches Kia’s SUV in the near-luxury department. Top-level fit and finish, as well as high-end materials give the CX-9 an upscale feel that closely resembles the Telluride. Mazda only offers the CX-9 with a turbo-four that makes up to 250 horsepower, though it feels peppy with up to 320 lb-ft of torque.

The Toyota Highlander doesn’t have the same list of standard features as the Telluride, nor is it as spacious, but it has its own strengths. The Highlander Hybrid is available in an efficient hybrid powertrain, has an available 12.3-inch touchscreen, and is offered in a sporty XSE trim. Toyota has penned a more unique design than the Telluride, which may not be to everyone’s tastes.

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