2022 Kia Telluride Interior Review | Three splendid rows

The 2022 Kia Telluride is about as hot as they come for in-demand SUVs these days, and for good reason. It’s the total package from every perspective. Perhaps most important of all, though, the Telluride has a rocking interior.

Kia managed to design a stylish, high-class interior that is both functional and attractive in every one of its three rows. Of course, it helps that the test car used for this review is the top-line SX model with key extras in the option book stacked onto it. Even after decking it out, this test car tallied up to $49,235. Before you scoff at a $50,000 Kia (and people still do), that’s actually a remarkable price for what we consider to be one of the best three-row SUVs. The chip shortage and accompanying dealer markups for popular cars means you may have to work to get a Telluride at MSRP right now, but if you can, it’s a stellar deal.

This Telluride SX with the $2,300 SX Prestige package greets with supple and comfortable Nappa leather seats in a few attractive colors — Dune Brown, black or gray as seen in these photos. The gray is closer to a chalky white, and it contrasts nicely with all of the black/silver plastics and light brown faux wood trim. And speaking of that trim, it’s nicer than most, because Kia applies a rather convincing texture to it that could have some thinking it’s real wood. The only questionable materials choice is the heavy use of piano black plastic in the center console. That trim is bound to get covered in scratches (plus endless fingerprints), so it’ll only look good for a short period of time after purchase.

If you’re curious about what’s new inside for 2022, the answer is: not much. All get the new Kia logo on the steering wheel, while the lower LX and S trim levels now come standard with the 10.25-inch infotainment system that was always included in the EX and this SX — you can find our review of the Telluride’s infotainment here.

One big difference between the Telluride and its Hyundai cousin, the Palisade (above right), is the center console design. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and they offer a similar amount of space in different configurations. We’re definitely fans of the grab handles on the Telluride, as they remind of a similar handle on the Porsche Cayenne. However, the Palisade’s use of a push-button shifter (instead of the Telluride’s traditional gear lever) gives you more flexibility for where you can tuck personal belongings. We appreciate the continued use of real volume and tuning knobs for the radio, and the rest of the controls for climate and drive modes are logically laid out, too. If there was one rough point, it’d be the large lid for covering the wireless phone charger and USB outlets. It feels flimsy and frequently requires several tries to get it to close.

The last difference that could be a selling point between the Telluride and Palisade is Kia’s use of a part-analog, part-digital gauge cluster. The Palisade goes fully digital (above right), and it offers a little more customization and better-looking graphics than the Telluride does. That said, fans of analog will prefer the Telluride for its simplicity.

Moving to the rear, our list of complaints is similarly negligible. The captain’s chairs are super-comfy and can be adjusted to your preference. There’s a ton of legroom, even if you move up to allow the third row greater breathing space. Speaking of, hopping into the third row is made simple via a one-touch operation of a button either by the seatback adjuster or on the top of the seat, accessible to those in the third row. Press it, and the chair folds and slides forward, allowing a quick exit out of the way back. The gap between seat and pillar is far from being the segment’s widest. 

Sitting in the second or third row is a pleasant experience thanks to the airy glass above the seats and plentiful access to charging ports. The second row gets USB outlets on the seat backs of the first row that make plugging in even easier than searching for a port down on the bottom of the center console. Plus, the SX Prestige package ensures that the second row gets the same heated and cooled seat capability of the first. Unfortunately for third row passengers, there are no seat heaters available — that’s an option typically reserved for mega-luxury SUVs.

The Telluride’s box shape pays more utility dividends in the cargo space where you’ll find a plethora of space for luggage. You’ll get the most use out of the cargo space behind the third row if you remove the floor panel. Once you do that, it provides the biggest and most useful space of any three-row crossover. One downside with the Telluride is that the third row only goes down via manual pulls, whereas the Palisade gives you buttons to press that electrically lower the seats.

Overall, we’re incredibly pleased with how well the Telluride comports itself inside. The quality and tech is available in spades, and Kia is able to give you all the key components at an exceptionally competitive price.

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