July 15, 2024

2023 Kia Telluride: More off-road chops and major marketing push

2 min read
2023 Kia Telluride: More off-road chops and major marketing push

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Russell Wager, head of marketing for Kia America.

OURAY, Colo. — The Telluride has carved successful new paths for Kia since the crossover was launched in 2019.

The large ute draws a steady wave of new, younger and more affluent buyers to the brand. Average transaction prices have hovered above sticker since it went on sale.

It was the fifth-bestselling large crossover in the U.S. last year behind the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Volkswagen Atlas; it moved ahead of the Traverse in the first half of this year to take the No. 3 spot. The Telluride ranked second among vehicles in the three-row crossover segment in J.D. Power’s latest survey of initial quality, behind the Highlander and ahead of the GMC Acadia, after placing first in 2021.

And it consistently scores among the most satisfying and appealing crossovers in its segment, again rated by owners, based on a separate J.D. Power survey.

But it is still missing some true off-road chops that cater to families and outdoor enthusiasts. So Kia is adding two new trim packages as part of a 2023 update.

The Telluride X-Line and X-Pro models — both with all-wheel drive — gain 0.4 inch of ground clearance for a total of 8.4 inches. The X-Line adds a new Tow mode, beefier roof rails, a redesigned grille and unique 20-inch wheels. The X-Pro takes that package and adds a 110-volt outlet in the cargo area, swaps the 20-inch wheels for 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, and gets an increased tow rating of 5,500 pounds, up from 5,000.

And hill-descent control is a new addition and standard on all Telluride trims, whether equipped with front-wheel drive or awd.

Kia hasn’t provided specifics on approach and departure angles based on the updates but claims they are improved over the 2022 Telluride’s 17-degree approach angle and a 20.9-degree departure angle. For comparison, genuine off-roaders such as the Jeep Wrangler boast a more than 40-degree approach angle and more than 35-degree departure angle.

On the redesigned Kia Sportage, the new X-Pro accounts for more than 20 percent of model mix, well ahead of Kia’s 10 percent target, according to Russell Wager, head of marketing for Kia America.

Wager also said Kia aims to boost output of the 2023 Telluride about 20 percent as it and other automakers work through supply bottlenecks.


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