Kia America’s three-row Telluride is getting a midcycle makeover that adds off-road enhancements, exterior styling tweaks and upgraded tech.
The 2023 Telluride will offer two new trims dedicated to adventure — a trend that has swept the SUV and crossover segments since consumers turned more heavily to road trips during the coronavirus pandemic.
The outgoing Telluride offered a Nightfall package on all-wheel-drive models that provided a handful of rugged styling elements but offered no true mechanical off-road capability.
For 2023, the Telluride adds X-Line and X-Pro models, adding 0.4 inch of ground clearance for 8.4 inches total.
Kia didn’t provide specifics on approach and departure angles but claims they are “improved” over the 2022 model’s 17-degree approach angle and a 20.9-degree departure angle, which cut into its true capability.
That’s especially true when compared with true off-roaders such as the Jeep Wrangler that has a more than 40-degree approach angle and more than 35-degree departure angle.
On the exterior, the two X models are equipped with an exclusive grille design, roof rails, body-color door handles and 20-inch wheels. The X-Pro has 18-inch black wheels and all-terrain tires. Exclusive badging is included on the exterior and interior. The X-Pro includes a 110-volt outlet in the cargo hold.
The remainder of the 2023 Telluride lineup receives new bumpers and a new grille, revised vertical headlamps and a new rear fascia to provide a more chiseled profile.
A larger, 12.3-inch navigation screen — up from 10.3 inches — is the most noticeable change inside. Other tech upgrades include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection that will support up to five phones and optional Digital Key access that lets drivers use their smartphone as a key to lock, unlock and drive the vehicle.
Several new advanced driver-assistance features join the Telluride’s menu of safety tech, including standard Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, which recognizes posted speed limits and slows the vehicle according to settings, and an automatic braking system that detects oncoming vehicles while turning left at an intersection.
The Telluride has been a smash hit for Kia since its debut for the 2020 model year. It was Kia’s No. 3 seller in 2021 behind the Forte small car and Sportage compact crossover. Despite supply constraints, high fuel costs and rising transactions prices, U.S. sales of the Telluride increased 1 percent to 22,076 in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. It was one of the few vehicles in Kia’s lineup to post a gain.
The Telluride is built at the factory in West Point, Ga., alongside the K5 sedan and Sportage and Sorento compact crossovers.