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I’m gonna say this up front, the Kia Telluride may just be the new benchmark midsize crossover. My colleague Eric covered it on Hooniverse well back when it was a brand new model in 2020, noting that it’s “as good as everyone says“. If you’re already sold on that notion, thanks for clicking and you can go read something else that I wrote. However, it’s so good that this bears repeating, plus there are some new bits for 2022. I had a week in a top spec 2022 Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD and would like to scream from the top of the virtual mountain how good it is.

Did I mention it’s good? Let’s continue.

2022 Telluride Overview

When Kia rolled out the Telluride in 2020, it was a replacement for the fairly forgettable Kia Borrego. Since then it has established itself as an attractive option in a competitive segment. This being the third model year, things aren’t drastically different from 2020 or 2021. There are still four main trim levels for the 2022 Telluride, the LXSEX and SX.

As you can see, there is a near $10,000 delta between the base LX and the top trim SX. I review a lot of cars, way too many of them are crossovers. Looking at the spec sheets, hell, even the base LX is impressively equipped with dual-zone climate, sim-leather seating, a large (newly standard for 2022) 10.25-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and safety features like adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring, forward collision mitigation, and lane-keeping assist (all the safety stuff is now standard for 2022 across all models).

From there you still have the S that builds upon the base trim with 20-inch dubs, a sunroof, heated seats, and more. The EX adds full leather seating a hands-free tailgate, ventilated front seats, and a lot more. The top spec SX like our tester adds goodness like:

  • Dual sunroofs
  • Larger seven-inch driver’s display
  • Blind-Spot View Monitor
  • Surround-view camera systemMore adjustable power driver’s seat w/ emory settings
  • 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system

Our loaner had even more added to the window sticker, with the SX Prestige package ($2,300) that ramps things up with premium leather upholstery, a head-up display, heated and ventilated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, a 110-volt outlet and customizable lighting on the interior. But wait, there’s more, it also had the Towing Package ($795) and some upgraded floor mats.

All in you’re at just over $49,000 before adjusted dealer markups. #NOADM

2022 Telluride Inside & Out

While the Hyundai Palisade is good, for me it’s the exterior design of the Telluride that makes it better. The “baby Yukon” front end plays well, and Kia has built an immensely recognizable headlight pattern. I can pick a Telluride out of a multi-car lineup at night because of the amber parallelogram accents on the front end. That’s right, just dropped some geometry knowledge from grade school, who says it was useless!?

Across the side it’s beefy without being overly aggressive. The taillights aren’t my favorite, but give it a premium look reminiscent of some higher end options. For 2022 Kia added the new Kia logo and badging as well as a new grille.

Inside it’s just as good of a story, maybe better. Kia has a well laid out dash, plenty of storage, and great ergonomics. I found myself thinking that the interior was almost without fault. Love the grab handles up front, and even the dang headrest is comfy. I don’t always feel like $50,000 vehicles feel like $50,000 vehicles, but this Telluride SX (with options) has such a nice interior its easy to justify the price.

Critiques on the inside, well hell, I guess like a lot of new cars it’s hard to hop from Apple CarPlay back to the radio. However, it has plenty of redundant buttons on the dash, so you can make it happen.

Out on the road, not only does have it a great ride, in sport mode this thing has some guts. I actually like that sport mode seems to make some type of meaningful change in performance. Also, and I say this with all Hyundai/Genesis/Kia products that have it, I absolutely love the side view camera that pops up in the tach and speedo. All cars should have that.

I’m a fan of captains chairs, they are great for making easier access to the rear, but I suppose it removes a seat. I used it to chauffeur friends in town during spring break around DC and they found it easy to get in and out. With 21 cu. ft. of space behind the rear seat, it’s pretty practical, and if you need more room just drop the rear seats. Unfortunately they aren’t power, but they’re easy to use.

Summary

This review was both easy, and difficult. When I originally reviewed the Telluride over on the autotrader dot come slash oversteer I said that it was “one of the few (press cars) that I was left feeling like I would spend my own money on. It’s just that good, I just hope people buy it”. I still think that, and the only reason I didn’t end up with one in my driveway recently came down to a mix of limited availability, ADM markups, and the fact that I wanted to try and EV.

Time will tell on whether it’s a success, but it’s certainly just about perfect packaging in the midst of the crossover storm. If you need a midsize SUV, the Telluride had better be on your list.

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