2023 Kia Telluride X-Line Review

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick


Engine: 3.8L V6
Output: 291 hp, 262 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 19/24/21
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 12.8/9.8/11.4
Starting Price (USD): $37,025 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): see text
Starting Price (CAD): $52,145 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $63,395 (inc. dest.)

The 2023 Kia Telluride X-Line is one of the toughest vehicles I’ve had to review.

Not that it’s a bad car—far from it. Pretty much from the moment the Telluride launched in 2019, it has won plaudits from critics (AutoGuide included) and been a sales success for dealers. Kia’s three-row is in such heavy demand that it regularly sells for more used than new.

The thing is, the Telluride was already at the front of the class when we last drove it mere months ago. The 2023 refresh looked light on surprises, too. Could I really just say “the same, but better?”

Uh, yes, because that’s exactly what this is.

Get a Quote on a New Kia Telluride

What’s new?

The yellow DRLs are gone!

Before I cover anything else about this leveled-up Telluride, I have to address the redesigned headlights. No matter how you felt about the yellow, at least it was distinctive. The new look is techy and fresh, sure, but I’m not sold on it. Same goes for the big contrasting rectangle of trim in the lower bumper of this X-Line tester. It’s like Kia needed to take advantage of a soon-expiring dental plan or something.

Ah yes, the new trim levels. Kia is expanding its X-Line and X-Pro family once more, offering both on the Telluride for the first time. The former gets a slight (0.4 inch / 10 millimeter) suspension hike, unique 20-inch wheels, raised roof rails, and a dedicated tow mode. The X-Pro swaps in 18-inch wheels wrapped in Continental all-terrain rubber, a 110-volt charger in the cargo area, and an increase in towing capacity to 5,500 lb (all other Tellurides do 5,000 lb).

Beyond that, there are improvements to the driver assist suite, as well as a handful of choice upgrades to one of the Telluride’s best aspects: its interior.

Satisfying interior

As is the case outside, there aren’t any dramatic surprises in the cabin—and that’s okay. As I alluded to before, the Telluride’s cockpit was already arguably best-in-class, a mix of quality materials, supple leather, and spaciousness that should have buyers questioning the need to quote-unquote graduate to an entry-premium brand. This particular tester’s rich brown leather, with the intricate stitching of the seats, looks (and feels) excellent. Paired with tasteful flashes of brushed aluminum trim and matte-finish wood, it’s a cabin I’d happily spend a road trip in. The layout is easy to figure out too, with a refreshing amount of actual physical buttons.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Kia Soul EV Review

Kia has slimmed the dashboard air vents, but kept the chunky grab handles framing the center console. The latter does fit well with the X-Line’s slightly heavier off-road bent, but whether you prefer that to, say, the more laid-back nature of the Hyundai Palisade interior, is a matter of taste.

(Expect more comparisons to the Telluride’s sibling, as they’re both our current picks in this class.)

Space for adult-sized folks is ample in the first two rows, and the seats are supportive without feeling too stiff. The third row is fine: very few unibody three-rows are actually spacious back here, but for short trips or public school kiddos, it’s no problemo. The Telluride offers up tons of storage space—this is one of the most cavernous SUVs you can buy.

technology and features

This user interface isn’t any different from last year’s model—it’s just bigger now. Kia has swapped out the 10.25-inch touchscreen for a 12.3-inch unit, joined to another the same size for instrument cluster duty. As I’ve said elsewhere, the system is responsive, both natively and via the (wired) Apple CarPlay. The designer in me likes the consistency of the menu design, but the uniform colors and fussy typeface makes it harder to operate at a quick glance. No such qualms with the instrument panel or the head-up display, which are both sharp and easy to configure.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Pathfinder vs Volkswagen Atlas Comparison

Kia has finally embraced USB-C, with a new-standard plug up front along with ones in the front seatbacks, for second-row passenger access. Way-back riders get the ability to juice-up their devices, too. There’s no third-row heating, however.

Kia continues to offer a robust suite of driver assists on the Telluride, and the list gets longer for 2023. A new Intelligent Speed Limit Assist adapts the limit of the car based on posted signs (if the driver turns the feature on), while the Forward Collision Avoidance now supports Junction Turning braking. Highway Driving Assist 1.5 is standard; 2.0 is optional, and it’s a smooth operator, even handling lane changes now too.

Old-school under the hood

The Telluride continues to use Kia’s largest V6 engine, the 3.8-liter Lambda unit. There’s certainly an appeal in using something non-turbo for lower long-term running costs, and its 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet are plenty good for all everyday uses. The eight-speed auto is a great match too, smoothly shifting away in the background. The one word I would use to describe the Kia’s general driving disposition is “laidback.” Not lazy, because it always feels in control of what its four corners are doing. More soft, approachable, doing its absolute best to avoid giving you any undue stress. The steering is light and consistent. The brake pedal is light too, and progressive.

In the city, the Kia’s generous greenhouse makes it easy to see out of, and the 360-degree camera keeps its extremities scratch-free in tight parking lots. Loaded up with stuff? The new digital rearview mirror lets you look past the people and things. On the highway it’s a comfy cruiser, though with a bit more wind noise than I remember in the equivalent ’23 Palisade I drove recently.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Review

I just with both SUVs offered a hybrid powertrain, even as an option. The Lambda is a thirsty beast, rated to just 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km) combined—and I couldn’t even match that over the course of the review period.

Dollars and sense

For 2023, American buyers can get into the redesigned Telluride (in LX trim) for $37,025 in front-drive form. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 surcharge. In addition to the previous EX, SX, and SX Prestige trim walk, each of those now comes in regular, X-Line, or X-Pro flavors. The value-oriented S trim continues, as well. An SX X-Line with the premium Wolf Gray paint would run $50,715; the SX Prestige X-Line, $53,615. The jump to the X-Pro is an extra grand.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Subaru Ascent First Drive Review

Things are different in Canada. (Aren’t they always?) The X-Line and X-Pro are single trims situated above the SX Limited (nee Prestige), but the X-Line does feature a few downgrades to the SX L, not least of which is a smaller, single sunroof. Also, AWD is standard across the board. That’s why the basic Telluride EX in Canada is $52,145 CAD; this tester is $63,395 CAD.

This or a base-model Acura MDX? I know what I’d grab.

Verdict: 2023 Kia Telluride X-Line Review

It turns out it’s not too hard to write about the 2023 Kia Telluride X-Line after all. From its spacious, smartly styled cabin, relaxed driving attitude, and relatively affordable price, this remains a co-leader in a very contentious segment. Kia didn’t have to reinvent the wheel here, only refine. “The same, but better,” after all.


How much does the 2023 Kia Telluride cost?

The refreshed model starts from $37,025 in the US for a front-drive LX; Canada’s entry level is an EX AWD for $52,145 CAD. Both prices include destination

Does the 2023 Kia Telluride have WiFi?

Yes, the Telluride offers a 4G LTE connection for up to five devices.

Does the 2023 Kia Telluride have a hybrid option?

No it does not; the only engine option is a 3.8-liter V6.

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  • Big, blocky-cool looks
  • So spacious
  • A luxury car without the price tag


  • Thirsty V6
  • Wind noise on the highway
  • Less distinctive styling
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

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2 of 3 comments
  • Don Don on Jan 07, 2023

    Thirsty , is what always has been the problem with Hyundai/Kia in comparison to the Japanese counterparts.

  • Tucker Dawg Tucker Dawg on Mar 28, 2023

    Just don't plan to tow anything. While KIA stresses the great towing abilities of 2023 Tellurides, I can't tow my trailer because KIA does NOT offer a 7 pin or 4 pin tow harness. The dealer can't install one; aftermarket places have nothing. When you inquire KIA about this they just say "No ETA on when we will have one" or "Nothing available, we don't know when . . " A great car otherwise, but very poor of KIA to continue to advertise that it can tow an even show picture on their WEB site of it towing. It can't!! I have to cancel my vacation planned for late May in my camper trailer and I am NOT happy.