Best & Worst Kia Telluride Years

I've taken a closer look at every Kia Telluride from 2020 until the latest model and categorized the best & worst years in this simple guide.

In this guide, I’ll break down all Kia Telluride generations, spotlighting the best Kia Telluride years to buy and the worst Telluride years to avoid.

Utilizing insights from trusted sources such as the NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and J.D. Power, we provide a detailed analysis of reliability, safety ratings, and owner satisfaction.

Specifically, we will explore each Kia Telluride model year’s technological and safety features, engine options, reliability, common owner-reported problems, recalls, and resale values.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Kia Telluride Generations

The Kia Telluride, launched in 2020, quickly established itself as a leading model in the midsize SUV segment. Its debut brought a combination of spaciousness, luxury, and performance previously unseen in its price range.

Equipped with advanced safety features, a powerful V6 engine, and a refined interior that comfortably seats up to eight passengers, the Telluride has been praised for its value and capability.

Below is a table listing the generation of the Kia Telluride from its launch to the present day.

1st Generation (ON)2020-Present

Generational changes in performance, technology, and design might be the deciding factor for potential buyers or enthusiasts looking to understand the development of the Kia Telluride.

Kia Telluride Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When ranking and categorizing the best and worst years for the Kia Telluride, we take into consideration a myriad of factors, including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

An upcoming graph will showcase the combined ratings from these sources.

Kia Telluride Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

We have categorized all model years of the Kia Telluride into best, neutral, and worst years to provide a clear guide for potential buyers and enthusiasts.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st Generation (ON)2023

“Neutral Years” offer a satisfactory ownership experience without the pronounced highs or lows in recalls, customer complaints, or critical acclaim that characterize the best or worst years.

Factors such as NHTSA recalls negatively impact a vehicle’s reliability rating. The more complaints and recalls, the less reliable the model year is.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Kia Telluride 1st Generation (2020-Present)

Kia Telluride 1st generation 2020 model
The 2020 Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride, launched in 2020, was noted for its extensive safety features and spacious interior that comfortably seats up to eight passengers, making it an ideal choice for families.

Facelifted 2023 and 2024 are Kia Telluride’s best years in this generation, while the 2020 model is the worst year to avoid.

The Best Years: 2023, 2024

The 2023 and 2024 models of the Kia Telluride are regarded as the best years of the first generation.

These models maintained the strong performance of the 3.8L V6 engine with 291 hp paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, achieving around 20 city/26 highway MPG.

Kia enhanced these models with advanced technology, including a larger 10.25-inch infotainment system, enhanced driver assistance features like improved forward collision-avoidance and lane-keeping systems, and a more luxurious interior with available options like Nappa leather seating.

The 2023 and 2024 Kia Telluride models also received the Top Safety Pick + award from IIHS.

The introduction of new trim levels, including the SX Prestige, offered additional premium features such as a head-up display, Harman Kardon audio system, and a 360-degree camera system.

These enhancements, combined with continued strong safety ratings and owner satisfaction, make the 2023 and 2024 Telluride highly desirable.

The Neutral Years: 2021, 2022

The 2021 and 2022 Kia Telluride models are considered neutral. They continued to offer robust performance with the same 3.8L V6 engine and maintained a comprehensive suite of safety features.

However, these years were marked by the persistence of windshield issues, with reports of cracks developing without a clear cause.

Despite this, Kia continued to equip the Telluride with a wealth of features across various trim levels, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and an optional all-wheel-drive system, making it a solid choice for families and adventurers alike.

The stylish Nightfall Edition featured exclusive exterior and interior design elements.

These years represented a solid choice for buyers, offering a well-rounded package of performance, comfort, and safety, albeit with some minor concerns.

The Worst Years: 2020

Which are the Kia Telluride years to avoid? The inaugural year of the Kia Telluride, 2020, encountered several issues that impacted its overall appeal.

Most notably, there were problems with the exterior lighting, including high beam headlight failures and a significant number of windshield cracks reported by owners.

Additionally, recalls were issued for concerns such as inoperative trailer brake lights and potential fire risks while parked or driving.

These early production challenges affected the vehicle’s reliability and raised concerns about long-term durability, making the 2020 model less attractive to buyers seeking a dependable family SUV.

Despite its strong debut and feature set, these issues make the 2020 Telluride the least recommended year for purchase.

See NHTSA 2020 Kia Telluride recalls and complaints.

Kia Telluride Resale Values

This detailed graph shows the Kia Telluride’s average resale values from 2020 to the present.

Kia Telluride Average List Price


What is the best year of Kia Telluride?

Based on our thorough analysis, the 2023 and 2024 Kia Telluride models stand out as the best years due to their enhanced features and reliability, while 2020 is the worst model year to avoid due to its initial issues.

What features do you prioritize when considering a Kia Telluride or any other SUV purchase?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.