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A blue 2023 Kia Telluride is shown off-roading.

Choosing the Right 2023 Kia Telluride

When shopping for a midsize SUV, you have no shortage of options. That being said, one of the most popular models that you’ll find at a Kia dealer near you is the Telluride. The Telluride is a great choice that offers three rows of seating for up to eight people and all kinds of excellent features inside and out. It’s one of Kia’s best-selling models for a lot of good reasons, and it starts at an excellent price despite everything that’s packed into the standard model. But this is where things get a bit tricky as you’re shopping: the standard model is just the beginning, and there are a lot of different trims and options available.

For the 2023 Kia Telluride, there are 10 different trims available for you to choose from. I’ll admit, that’s pretty overwhelming and certainly feels like overkill––but things aren’t quite as over-the-top as they might seem. In fact, the different trims are pretty easy to understand once you get a sense of what each one brings to the road. There are only five core models, but they can be upgraded with two different off-road options. Let’s take a look at the options available for the 2023 Kia Telluride, and you’ll see just what I mean.

2023 Telluride LX

Everything starts off with the Telluride LX, which is the base trim. The LX comes with a 3.8L V6 engine producing 291 hp and boasts eight-passenger seating: two up front, three in the middle, and three in the rear. The LX has 18-inch alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, and the Kia Drive Wise Assist package of safety features. This means every Telluride model comes with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, and much more.

Inside the Telluride LX, you’ll find a 12.3-inch infotainment display, dual-zone auto climate control, and Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go. Standard features include Smart Key functionality with Push Button Start and Remote Start, a 4.2-inch instrument display for the driver, a six-speaker sound system, and five USB ports across all three rows. The LX comes with SynTex seating, basic interior lighting, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Altogether, this is a great place to start.

A blue 2023 Kia Telluride is shown driving on a dirt road.


2023 Telluride S

The S trim for the 2023 Telluride builds on these standard features in some key ways that make it particularly appealing as a budget-friendly option with surprising luxury. For starters, the S rides on 20-inch wheels and has seven-passenger seating as the second-row bench of the LX is swapped out for a pair of captain’s chairs that offer superior comfort. You’ll also find heated front seats inside the S, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a leather-wrapped gear shift knob. Many of the tech features are identical to the LX, though the S comes with a wireless phone charger up front.

2023 Telluride EX

Next up, we have the Telluride EX, which builds on the features of the two trims that came before it. So far, this has been a simple pattern, but things will change in a moment. The EX comes with a standard sunroof, has leather seating rather than the SynTex found in the previous two trims, and boasts a Smart Power tailgate. This model has eight-passenger seating again, thanks to a second-row bench, though a seven-row version is available if you prefer the two captain’s chairs. Both the driver and front-passenger seats are power-adjustable, with heated and ventilated front seats, plus woodgrain interior accents for that added touch of luxury.

2023 Telluride EX X-Line

Here’s where things get a bit complicated and why there are so many trims for the Telluride: the EX X-Line is essentially a more rugged version of the EX with standard all-wheel drive rather than the standard front-wheel drive of the previous three trims. This is the biggest differentiating factor, but not the only one. The EX X-Line model also features X-Line styling for the 20-inch wheels, increased ground clearance, X-Line embossed front seats, and other sporty upgrades.

2023 Telluride SX

Now put aside the EX X-Line for a moment, as the SX essentially builds on the previous EX trim while giving you more to enjoy. For example, you get dual sunroofs with the SX and standard seven-passenger seating, giving your passengers extra comfort and a gorgeous view of the sky overhead. The SX comes with a 12.3-inch instrument display to go along with the large infotainment screen, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system, and a driver’s memory system. You also get a 10-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar, stainless steel pedals, and more luxury details throughout.

2023 Telluride SX X-Line

The SX X-Line follows the pattern of the EX X-Line. It takes the SX trim and gives you the standard all-wheel drive system plus X-Line styling details on the wheels, seats, and elsewhere. It has a few extra details here and there, but the move to standard all-wheel drive and the increased ground clearance are the biggest differences. Kia isn’t done, however, as there’s another option that adds even more off-road upgrades.

2023 Telluride SX X-Pro

The major distinction with the SX X-Pro is that it improves towing and off-road performance compared to the previous X-Line model. The X-Pro has the same all-wheel drive system, but it rides on 18-inch wheels with beefier all-terrain tires that are ready for fun in the dirt. All the trims we’ve looked at have 5,000 lbs of maximum towing capacity, but the SX X-Pro boosts that to 5,500 lbs. With a self-leveling suspension, trailer stability assist, and heavy-duty cooling to help, the SX X-Pro is the way to go if you want optimal towing potential.

A grey 2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro is shown towing a trailer on an open road.

2023 Telluride SX Prestige, X-Line, and X-Pro

From here, we basically have one final core model. The SX Prestige is much like the SX, though it has all-wheel drive standard, with 20-inch wheels and dual sunroofs. This trim has Nappa leather seating for added luxury, heated and ventilated second-row seats (to go along with the front-row ones), stainless steel pedals, and woodgrain and stainless steel accents throughout the interior. With a 10-inch head-up display and more tech features, the SX Prestige is an incredible expression of the Telluride’s potential.

In addition to this standard SX Prestige trim, you’ll find two more trims: the SX Prestige X-Line and the SX Prestige X-Pro. These give you the option to add unique X-Line styling and performance upgrades to this trim. Like the EX X-Line and SX X-Line, the SX Prestige X-Line adds increased ground clearance and rugged styling to the exterior and interior. Or you can choose to have the X-Pro’s 18-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires with the boosted 5,500 lbs of towing capacity. There are some minor differences between them, but for the most part, the X-Line and X-Pro upgrades are the same no matter which core model they are applied to.

Which Telluride Is Right for You?

Now you can see that this seemingly bloated lineup (I mean, 10 trims, really?) isn’t actually that bad. Kia just decided to offer some upgrades as separate trims that other manufacturers would probably have offered as add-on packages. Your big decision is going to be looking at the features of the LX, the S, the EX, the SX, and the SX Prestige to see which one has the interior technology and comfort you want. From there, you can decide if you need the off-road performance and rugged style of the X-Line or the added capacity of the X-Pro, and choose accordingly. A little research, figuring out the basics of each trim, and understanding what you need in your next vehicle is all it takes to get everything you’re looking for.