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2022 Kia Telluride: Choosing the Right Trim

Although relatively new to the world of 8-passenger SUVs, the 2022 Kia Telluride has taken the market by storm. Its sales numbers are as impressive as its standard equipment list, and the Telluride’s aggressive pricing handily counters competitors like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot.

We think the Telluride’s “wow” factor plays a significant role in the big SUV’s success. From a styling point of view, even the base LX looks fantastic, meaning if you’re happy with its feature set, you can get into an attractive, well-equipped 3-row SUV for well under $35,000.

The Telluride also comes with one of the best warranties in the industry, offering a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain plan and 5-year/60,000-mile basic coverage.

The Telluride’s stylish interior and logical controls strike a comfortable balance between advanced touchscreen technology and proper knobs, buttons, and switches. And, the third-row seat is quasi-usable for two adults, provided they’re not too tall. Thanks to the large windows and low beltline, visibility is quite good in all directions.

Under the hood, a 291-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission comes standard on every Telluride. Power flows to the front wheels, but all-wheel drive is available across the trim range. Find a 2022 Kia Telluride for sale here

2022 Kia Telluride LX (Starting at $32,790)

When shopping the Telluride’s competition, one might notice the entry-level models are usually quite plain. That’s not the case with the Telluride LX. Although the LX has smaller wheels and a different grille than its more upscale brethren, it shares the same crisp lines, distinctive headlights, and large side windows.

A quick look at the LX reveals standard 18-inch alloy wheels rolling on Pirelli tires. The Telluride’s automatic on/off headlights employ standard projector bulbs, but the Daytime Running Lights and positioning lights derive illumination from brighter LEDs.

Where some entry-level SUV use cheaper black plastic body parts, the Telluride LX covers its bumpers, door handles, rear spoiler, and power heated side mirrors with matching body-color paint.

Rear privacy glass helps keep the cabin cool and prying eyes from seeing what’s inside, while an acoustic windshield helps eliminate excess noise.

Gaining access to the Telluride requires only having the key fob in a pocket or purse. Kia’s Smart Key allows entry simply by grasping the door handle. Once inside, a push of a button starts the engine. The fob also allows remote start, a nice feature when it’s too cold to venture outside.

Seating in the LX includes individual manually adjustable front seats with bench seating for the second and third rows. The middle 60/40 split-bench seat features a one-touch fold-and-slide feature making it easier for people to reach the 60/40 split-folding third-row seat. A set of levers in the cargo bay makes it easy to release and fold flat the second-row seats.

The LX’s seats use a synthetic leather called SynTex, but you’ll just call it comfortable, attractive, and easy to clean.

Little details worth mentioning include sliding sun visors with lighted vanity mirrors, five USB charging ports located throughout the cabin, and strategically placed grab handles for all three rows, including the driver seat. Highlights are ceiling-mounted air vents for the second and third rows and a manual day/night rearview mirror because not everyone likes the auto-dimming option.

If you can live without power seats, the rest of the LX’s comfort and convenience features are pretty generous. Standard equipment includes automatic climate control for the front and rear seats, variable front wipers, rear wiper/washer, one-touch up/down power windows, and tilt/telescopic steering wheel with controls for audio, Bluetooth, and cruise control.

Kia’s Drive Mode selector allows the driver to select from various modes that change the steering feel, throttle input, and transmission gear changes. The system includes modes for Sport, Comfort, Eco, and Smart.

The Telluride LX’s 10.25-inch split-screen display houses standard navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Wi-Fi hotspot, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The system can be controlled via the touchscreen or by voice commands and includes Driver Talk, an amplified system that allows the driver to communicate with rear passengers without the need to shout.

Quiet mode limits audio to the front speakers, allowing rear-seat passengers to rest or play games without interruption. A six-speaker audio system completes the Telluride LX’s infotainment setup.

When it comes to occupant safety, the Telluride LX has everyone covered, literally. Airbag protection includes front airbags, front side-impact airbags, 3-row side-curtain airbag, and a driver’s-knee airbag. It warns exiting passengers of approaching traffic and also alerts the driver if a person or pet may still be in the vehicle. Also standard is electronic traction and stability control, rollover detection system, and trailer stability control.

On the driver-assist front, the Telluride LX includes navigation-linked adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. This ingenious system allows the vehicle to slow or stop in traffic, then automatically resume speed. Also standard is front-collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, and a blind-spot monitor.

Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist are included, as is Kia’s Highway Driving Assist, which keeps the vehicle centered in its lane and has the ability to automatically adjust speed to the posted limit.

If there’s a weak link in the Telluride LX’s driver assists, it’s the omission of standard auto high-beam headlights. While this feature is common on many of the Telluride’s rivals, it is only available on the EX and SX, the two most expensive Telluride trims.

Rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview monitor with parking guidelines are all standard.

Options for the LX are limited to dealer add-ons a few extra-cost paint color choices.

All-wheel drive adds another $2,000 to the LX’s bottom line and changes the standard tires from Pirelli to Michelin.

With the $1,225 destination fee, the 2022 Kia Telluride LX costs $34,015. On a 60-month loan at 3% financing and with no money down, the LX’s monthly payment comes to $611.

2022 Kia Telluride LX Includes:

  • Navigation – Standard navigation is a rarity on an entry-level model. The Telluride’s system is incorporated into the standard adaptive cruise control, helping it slow down for turns before they come into view.
  • Driver Talk – Allows the driver to speak with unruly rear-seat occupants via the Telluride’s speakers.
  • Front and rear automatic climate control – Allows front- and back-seat passengers to choose the air temperature coming from the vents.
  • Smart Key – Allows entry and start without having to physically hold and operate the key fob. Find a 2022 Kia Telluride LX for sale

2022 Kia Telluride S ($35,290)

The Telluride S brings a sportier image to this big SUV and a few more standard features.

The exterior receives enhancements to the grille, roof rails, and door handles, with silver and satin-chrome finishes. The S rides on larger machine-finished 20-inch alloy wheels and includes a single muffler with dual exhaust tips.

In the cabin, the driver enjoys an 8-way power seat with 2-way power lumbar support. Both driver and passenger enjoy three-setting heated front seats.

In the S trim, the second-row bench seat is replaced by a set of sliding captain’s chairs, reducing the overall passenger complement to seven.

Upgrades over the LX include a single-panel front sunroof, LED overhead lighting, a leather-trimmed shift knob, and a wireless phone charger.

As with the LX, all-wheel drive is the only factory option.

With the $1,225 destination figured in, the 2022 Kia Telluride S costs $36,515. If we calculate a 60-month loan at 3% financing and zero down, the monthly payment comes to $656, or just an additional $45 a month over the LX.

2022 Kia Telluride S Includes:

  • 8-way power driver’s seat – Allows a better fit for drivers of all sizes and shapes. The 2-way power lumbar support helps eliminate lower back fatigue.
  • Power sunroof – An excellent way to let more light into the cabin, or when vented, help reduce buffeting when riding with the rear windows down.
  • Wireless phone charging – No more need for wires cluttering the dash. Simply rest your wireless-charging-enabled smartphone on the charging pad, and the battery automatically recharges.
  • Heated front seat – A nice feature to have, especially when you’re freezing, but others insist on keeping the cabin temperature cool. Find the 2022 Kia Telluride S for sale here

2022 Kia Telluride EX ($37,790)

The EX trim moves the Telluride closer to the luxury category. It also bumps the price up by a few grand.

The EX trim sees the Telluride’s wheel size return to 18 inches and the second-row back to a bench-style seat, although there is an option for captain’s chair seating. The EX’s rear liftgate is power-operated and can be activated by standing behind the Telluride with the key fob on your person. The side mirrors include a power-folding feature, and the front side windows use the same sound-deadening acoustic glass found in the windshield.

Inside the EX, genuine leather upholstery covers the seats, the passenger seat gets an 8-way power adjuster, and the front seats are both heated and ventilated. Faux wood appliques replace metal painted trim, and the rear doors include built-in sunshades. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is standard, as are six USB ports – five for charging and one for media.

The EX offers three packages, the first being a Tow Package that brings a tow-hitch and self-leveling suspension.

Next is the EX Premium Package that adds second-row captain’s chairs, LED headlamps with auto high beams, 20-inch wheels, and satin-chrome roof rails.

Last is the Nightfall Package, which adds all-wheel drive, 20-inch black-finish wheels, unique Nightfall grille in black finish, gloss-black exterior trim, black headlight and taillight bezels, and body-color door handles.

With destination, the 2022 Kia Telluride EX costs $39,015. If we assume a loan with no money down for 60 months at 3% financing, the EX’s monthly payment comes to $701.

2022 Kia Telluride EX Includes:

  • Ventilated front seats – Keeps occupants cool, helping to mitigate unwanted perspiration from collecting on clothing or the vehicle’s seat.
  • Leather upholstery – Soft to the touch and easy to clean, leather seating gives the EX a more upscale feel.
  • Smart Power Liftgate – Automatically opens when sensing the Smart Key fob is near, providing an easier way to load the vehicle when your arms are full.
  • 8-way power passenger seat – Allows the front-seat passenger to be as comfortable as the driver. Find the 2022 Kia Telluride EX for sale

2022 Kia Telluride SX ($42,690)

At the top of the Telluride range is the SX trim. This version is loaded with additional luxury and safety equipment, plus opens the door to one very well-equipped option package.

In addition to the EX’s features, the SX adds LED headlights and foglights, a dual-pane power sunroof, automatic high-beam headlights, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The SX’s side mirrors tilt down when the Telluride is placed in reverse, helping the driver see objects that might be near the wheels. Aero wiper blades improve the wiper’s ability to remove water from the windshield, and a 360-degree surround-view monitor gives an unobstructed view outside the vehicle.

A digital display screen between the tachometer and speedometer houses a blind-view monitor that uses cameras to project an image of the Telluride’s blind zones.

The 10-way power driver’s seat includes memory and a thigh extension cushion, while ambient interior lighting offers 65 color choices.

Harman Kardon is responsible for the SX’s sound system. In this case, it’s a 10-speaker masterpiece with a separate amp and subwoofer.

To complete the SX, buyers can opt for the SX Prestige Package that brings all-wheel drive, rain-sensing wipers, Nappa leather upholstery, second-row heated and ventilated captain’s chair seating, head-up display, and premium headliner. Also included are a heated steering wheel and second-row 110-volt outlet.

With the $1,225 destination charge, the 2022 Kia Telluride SX comes to $43,915. With no money down and on a 60-month loan at 3% financing, the monthly payment comes to $789. That’s just $88 more each month compared to the EX.

2022 Kia Telluride SX Includes:

  • High Beam Assist – Automatically dims the high beams when detecting oncoming nighttime traffic, then turns them back on once the approaching vehicle or vehicles have passed.
  • Harman Kardon audio – With 10 speakers including a powered subwoofer, this is the system for people who love their music loud and clear.
  • Dual-pane sunroof – Allows light to enter over the first and second row and includes a power sunshade for the larger, fixed-glass second-row panel.
  • 360-degree surround-view monitor – Allows the driver to see every angle around the vehicle, helping to avoid collision with objects below the driver’s sightlines. Find the 2022 Kia Telluride SX for sale



What is the best 2022 Kia Telluride trim?

The base LX trim is so well-equipped that it’s arguably the best value in the Kia Telluride lineup.

How many mpg does the 2022 Hyundai Telluride get?

The Kia Telluride gets up to 20 city/26 highway mpg with FWD and 19 city/24 highway mpg with AWD.

Which 2022 Kia Telluride trim level offers the most safety?

The Kia Telluride gets a better safety rating when equipped with the LED headlights that are optional on the EX trim and standard on the SX model. The Telluride is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and it gets a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo
Joe Tralongo is a longtime contributor who started in the industry writing competitive comparison books for a number of manufacturers, before moving on in 2002 to become a freelance automotive journalist. He’s well regarded for his keen eye for detail, as well as his ability to translate complex mechanical terminology into user-friendly explanations. Joe has worked for a number of outlets as... Read More about Joe Tralongo

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