The Kia Telluride has conquered the 3-row SUV world in its three years on the market.

Its handsome looks, roomy cabin, and capable performance combined with the longest warranty in the business have earned it our Best Buy Award among 3-row SUVs every year of its existence. There are a lot of solid 3-row SUVs on the road today. But none have bested the Telluride in our head-to-head comparisons.

So what terrain is left for the Telluride to conquer? Everything but the road.

For 2023, Kia is taking the Telluride off-road with a pair of rugged packages meant for the trail. The X-Line package, available on the EX, SX, and SX-Prestige, adds off-road gear like greater ground clearance and a reprogrammed traction control system designed for loose terrain. The X-Pro package, available on the SX and SX-Prestige, goes even further with 500 pounds of additional towing power and all-terrain tires. Let’s take a look at what makes the X-Pro worthy of taking on famous off-road SUVs from Jeep and other rugged brands.

The all-terrain tires of the 2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro

All Terrain Tires

Veteran off-roaders know that the upgrade with the most bang for the buck is all-terrain tires. The right set of shoes can take a road-hugging SUV and make it capable of climbing loose gravel with aplomb.

Kia put Continental TerrainContact all-terrain tires on the X-Pro. They also made a veteran move with wheel size, which might seem curious to the uninitiated. Higher trim levels ride on stylish 20-inch wheels, but the X-Pro gets 18-inch wheels.

Wait, don’t most off-roaders have bigger wheels? Not necessarily. Smaller wheels allow for a more flexible tire sidewall, giving the X-Pro both a more pliant ride over the rough stuff and more grippy rubber if you need to air down the tires for tough off-road surfaces. It also leaves less of the pretty wheel surface exposed to the scratches of the trail.

Boosted Ride Height, Improved Angles

The X-Pro sits 0.4 inches higher than other Tellurides for crucial added ground clearance. At 8.4 inches, it can clear taller obstacles than a Chevrolet Traverse or Toyota Highlander.

The Telluride’s design pushes the wheels far out to the corners. Raising it for the X-Pro added 0.7 degrees to the approach angle and 0.6 degrees to the departure angle, letting you clear steeper grades without scraping.

The 2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro in off-road testing

Tougher Suspension

Kia engineers elected not to give the Telluride an adjustable air suspension to keep prices reasonable and eliminate an expensive failure point as the SUV ages. Instead, they returned the suspension to better handle the bumpy stuff.

You’ll pay a small price for it on the road. The X-Pro has a little bit of noticeable body roll on paved corners that is absent on other Telluride trims. But it’s worth the price for the added capability on the trail.

Added Towing Capacity, Trailer Sway Control

The standard Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds — more than enough to pull a trailer full of rented equipment for a weekend project or a dolly for towing your project car. But the X-Pro comes standard with an additional 500 pounds of towing capacity (thanks to a beefier engine cooling system), a self-leveling suspension, and trailer sway control. If your weekend excursions routinely involve bringing a boat or pop-up camper down the trail, you’ll want the added pulling confidence of the X-Pro.

The 2023 Kia Telluride X-Pro in off-road testing

All-Wheel Drive with Off-Road Traction Control

You can add grippy on-demand all-wheel drive with a center locking differential to any Telluride. But the X-Line and X-Pro packages also get a retuned traction control system with an off-road setting.

Hill descent control is standard on every 2023 Telluride, but, combined with the traction control module on the X-Pro, it will automatically shut off once the grade is less steep than 12% — a cool trick.

More 2023 Kia Telluride

Build and price your own 2023 Kia Telluride to see this week’s Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own, and more, or see Telluride models for sale near you.

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