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Is the Kia Telluride worth buying? The Kia Telluride is a highly-rated full-size SUV. The capable sport utility ranks high among the competition by combining third-row seating, abundant standard features, and a bargain price. Acura’s MDX takes a different approach, with sports car dynamics, luxury amenities, and sleek style. For drivers who enjoy performance, the MDX offers that and more.

And so far in 2023, the Telluride has one advantage over the MDX.

Let’s take a closer look at both SUVs.

Kia Telluride vs. Acura MDX: 2023 sales figures

Through Q2 of 2023, the Kia Telluride has a healthy sales advantage over the Acura MDX. GoodCarBadCar has the data.

Year to date, 55,284 Telluride models drove off the lot. During the same period, 31,964 MDX models found new owners.

What’s the reason for such a significant gap? I have a guess.

Buying a new vehicle is a significant financial commitment. Even a base model Telluride costs $37,255, likely requiring a multi-year loan. And considering the MDX starts at $50,745, the picture becomes clearer. It seems like today’s SUV buyers are in search of value.

The Kia Telluride has everything a full-size SUV buyer needs, like upscale looks, a powerful engine, and a luxurious interior. Car and Driver rates it 10/10.

And even though the Acura has dramatic, edgy bodywork and enhanced driving performance, Car and Driver rates it 8/10.

While its price may put the MDX out of reach for some, the Telluride offers more than enough for less. The Kia makes sense for drivers looking to save money and drive a quality SUV.

The 2023 Acura MDX: features, specs, pricing

The Acura MDX is a three-row SUV with sport sedan handling. For some, that’s a winning formula. Let’s delve into the details.

Outside, the MDX uses crisp lines, narrow headlights, and a mesh grille that are more sports car than sport utility.

Under the hood, the company’s tried and true 3.5-liter V6 makes 290 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Opting for the hotted-up Type S trim adds a turbo 3.0-liter V6 with 355 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. In that configuration, Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 time of 5.5 seconds.

While front-wheel drive comes standard, Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) is optional. SH-AWD monitors traction fore and aft and side to side for enhanced handling, traction, and fun.

Inside, the MDX has a high-end feel, with premium materials and the latest tech. Available open-pore wood trim and leather upholstery are elegant and supple. The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But the cramped third-row seats are best reserved for kids only.

Opting for trims like the Technology ($54,945), A-Spec ($60,645), and Type S ($68,545) brings elevated tech, performance, and comfort.

What makes the 2023 Kia Telluride worth buying?

The Kia Telluride doesn’t look like a value-focused SUV. From its elegant exterior to its long feature list, the Telluride impresses all around. Maybe that’s why it’s such a strong seller.

The Kia’s boxy, upright styling gives it a capable look. Opting for trims like the X-Pro and X-Line only increases its brawny feel.

The standard 3.8-liter V6 produces a healthy 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. While reviewing a Telluride X-Line, Car and Driver recorded a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. That’s pretty good for a full-size SUV.

Front-wheel drive comes standard, with all-wheel drive optional. Active All-Wheel Drive with a center-locking differential balances torque front to rear on higher trims like the X-Line. That’s vital in challenging conditions.

The Telluride’s upscale interior belies its reasonable price. The Kia Telluride is luxurious and comfortable with exemplary fit, finish, and materials. The top trim SX adds Nappa leather, a head-up display, and heated and ventilated rear seats. And every model has 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

And Kia offers Telluride trims to fit any budget. Examples include the EX X-Line ($45,685), SX X-Pro ($50,085), and SX Prestige X-Pro ($52,985).

The Kia Telluride and Acura MDX are thoroughly modern SUVs. Both are plenty capable, good-looking, and comfortable. But with the Kia’s reasonable price and standard equipment, it has a sales advantage over the Acura. That isn’t to say the Acura MDX isn’t a strong design. But these days, consumers seem focused on value.


These 5 2023 Kia Telluride Safety Features Make a Strong Case for the SUV