The #VOTY19 Victory Lap
The Kia Telluride was a story unto itself. It was the company’s entry into what would become a strong segment during this pandemic.
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2022 Kia Telluride
The Chicago Auto Show just finished its 2022 run. It was the first time the largest auto show in the country was held at its traditional February timeslot since 2020.
It was at the 2020 show where I handed off #VOTY19 to James Bell of Kia America. It was one of the best hand-offs of a #VOTY in memory. He and the folks at Kia greeted me with open arms and I had a couple of my fellow colleagues on hand for the actual award hand-off.
Why was it so memorable? Was it because of the vehicle it was awarded to?
The Kia Telluride was a story unto itself. It was the company’s entry into what would become a strong segment during this pandemic. It received a trophy case – or two – of other awards that the #VOTY19 sits alongside of. The Telluride was the surprise winner of the World Car of The Year in 2020. That, along with some equally impressive accolades, such as the North American Utility of The Year and the Motor Trend SUV of The Year. Today, the Telluride continues to earn trophies.
However, the Telluride was also the toughest vehicle to keep in stock at Kia dealers across North America. Bell mentioned some time ago that he had people contacting him to try to get one. Sadly, even the company’s head of Corporate Communications could not pull any strings to get one delivered from the West Point, Georgia plant.
It was because of this backdrop that I was surprised when one showed up at the office of my new job. Seriously, I did not expect to get one again after its winning run with me.
Here it is. Ready for its second-year-of-the-pandemic Victory Lap…
But, wait…is that the new Kia logo on the Nightfall Edition’s grille. That is the Nightfall edition, correct? Is it painted white to blend in with the ice and snow Minnesota still had on the ground intentionally?
More importantly, it is still the same #VOTY19-winning Kia Telluride that brought the voters to crown it back in November 2019?
It looks the same…except for a few details that was already pointed out in previous paragraphs. The new Kia logo was applied where the old oval ones were. By the time the 2023 Sportage arrives in showrooms, every Kia model has the new logo affixed everywhere it needed to be.
My SX Prestige Nightfall Edition tester could be considered a prime example of white and black contrast. Simply put: This tester wore a white paint job with black trim elements. The Black Nightfall grille and 20-inch alloy wheels make the Telluride distinctive by itself. The one twist to this tester is they kept the new Kia logo in silver satin trim both on the grille and on the tailgate.
Still, the Telluride commands presence on the road. It refused to compromise in 2019. It continues to do so now.
That refusal to compromise was seen in its interior. The one thing I pointed out three years ago was how spacious all three rows of seats were. It was proven that you can sit seven adults inside with sone light cargo behind the third row. That has not changed a bit. It is one of the more comfortable vehicles in its class – period.
The seats themselves were supportive and comfortable. You can also cool or heat them up, as well. The latter came in handy during this Telluride's time with me. The driver has great command of the road with a comprehensive instrument cluster with both analog and digital elements. The steering wheel has the right thickness and can warm up pretty quick with a touch of the button on the center stack.
Did I mention that this Kia Telluride arrived in the middle of winter?
There are plenty of things to love about the Telluride equally as I did back in 2019. The shifter was real and tactile, not a knob or a set of buttons. The controls were perfect to the touch and great in terms of logic. The 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system was lovely to listen to.
Was there some sort of drawback? Well, it is a standing complaint on how Kia's (and Hyundai's) 10.25-inch wide touchscreen infotainment systems do not include wireless smartphone integration. If you happen to have a USB-A cord, you’ll be fine. No complaints will be registered.
The theme of familiar goodness continues underneath the skin. The 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 remains one of the finer gasoline engines produced by Hyundai and Kia. It is solid with smooth throttle band right from the get-go. The eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive system kept the Telluride moving through all conditions.
The only concern that came up were the 20-inch all-season Michelin tires on this tester. It would be great if the Telluride arrived with winter tires to manage the icy patches that popped up on occasion. Then again, I'm nitpicking, as usual. The all-season tires on this tester were adequate overall when it came to facilitating stops at iced up intersections. Just wanted a bit more grip overall.
Still, the complete driving experience of the Telluride also confirmed its #VOTY19 win on this Victory Lap. The ride quality remains just fine solid handling overall. The steering system has good on-center control and an equally fine turning radius. You are in complete control in the Telluride.
Obviously, prices have gone up since the Kia Telluride won #VOTY19. My SX Prestige tester in the Nightfall Edition came with a sticker price of $51,010. A sign of reality, I suppose. The 2022 Telluride starts from $33,090 and is available in four trim levels.
Even with the price increase, customers are finally getting their dream Kia Telluride. Maybe because you noticed that they have been hitting the streets and dealership lots. Someone did point out that any Telluride you will see at a dealer is sold. A good sign, perhaps?
Even in this challenging automotive industry climate, the demand is still there for a very good family SUV that delivers performance, comfort, technology, convenience, and overall satisfaction. That certainly describes the Kia Telluride. It also validates its #VOTY19 victory.
The Kia Telluride completed its Victory Lap with flying colors. Just wished that the supply chain issues would ease a bit more for you to experience one for yourself.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Kia America
All photos by Randy Stern