The Kia SUV lineup keeps getting better, and this latest round of Kelley Blue Book (KBB) awards proves it. In its Best SUVs of 2022 and 2023 rankings, KBB divides the SUV segment into two overall groups, two-row and three-row, and smaller classes, e.g., subcompact, compact, midsize, full-size, most fuel-efficient, and a few others. The 2023 Kia Seltos and 2023 Kia Telluride were the big winners, with each model raking in two separate awards, but Kia didn’t stop there.
KBB named the 2023 Kia Seltos the best SUV in two separate categories
In its 2022 and 2023 SUV ranking, KBB named the 2023 Kia Seltos the Best 2-Row SUV and Best Subcompact SUV. The base price for the 2023 Seltos LX AWD starts at $22,840 and climbs to $28,249 for the Kia Seltos SX AWD. Additional options and the $1,295 destination fee add to those amounts. KBB’s list of Pros for the Kia Seltos includes the following:
- AWD comes standard on most trims
- Spacious interior for a subcompact SUV
- User-friendly infotainment system
- 29 mpg combined city/highway
- 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick
Standard equipment on the base model 2023 Kia Seltos LX AWD includes:
- 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 146 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque
- Selectable drive modes – Normal, Eco, or Sport
- AWD with torque vectoring and center differential lock
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- 8-inch touchscreen display
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Automatic emergency braking
- Lane follow assist
- Lane keep assist
- Rear occupant alert
- High beam headlight assist
- Driver attention warning
While that’s an impressive list of standard features, KBB reviewers found the base 146-horsepower four-cylinder engine and continuously variable transmission (which Kia calls an Intelligent Variable Transmission or IVT) combination “merely adequate” for daily driving but enjoyed its fuel efficiency.
Upgrading to the Nightfall Edition or SX model changes the standard powertrain to a 175-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo with 195 ft-lb of torque backed by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Upper trims include additional driver assistance features like blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The 2023 Kia Telluride won two other categories
KBB awarded the 2023 Kia Telluride with honors for Best 3-Row SUV and Best Midsize SUV. Now in its third year, the 2023 Telluride received updated interior and exterior styling, the addition of the X-Line and X-Pro models, upgraded infotainment, new color options, and the removal of the TELLURIDE lettering from the hood. The KBB review lists several pros to choosing the new Telluride SUV, including:
- Roomy cabin
- Practical and capable for a midsize SUV
- A long list of standard features
- Fair pricing
- Excellent warranty
However, the review points out that the Kia Telluride isn’t “known for being thrifty with gas” and that there isn’t a hybrid Telluride option to improve that reputation either.
The 2023 Kia Telluride LX starts at $35,690, and upper trims like the X-Line and SX X-Pro begin at $45,485 and $49,885. The most expensive Kia Telluride SX Prestige X-Line carries a starting price of $51,785. Again, additional factory options and destination charges will increase these prices. The LX provides excellent value with its long list of standard features that include:
- 3.6-liter V6 with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque
- eight-speed automatic transmission
- 5,000 towing capacity
- Four selectable drive modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Smart. AWD adds Snow mode
- Eight-passenger seating
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- One-touch sliding and folding second-row seats
- 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Dual-zone climate control
- Smart cruise control with stop and go
- Kia Drive Wise Driver Assist Technology
Which is the best Kia SUV?
Choosing the best Kia SUV model often comes down to a matter of necessity. The three-row Kia Telluride is the best option if you require seating for eight people. On the other hand, if two rows of seating meet your needs, then it’s hard to pass by the Kia Seltos, especially in upper trims that have the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
Other Kia SUV options worth noting are the 2023 Kia Sorento which placed second on KBB’s Best Midsize SUV ranking, and the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid, which won the title for Most Fuel Efficient SUV. Whichever Kia SUV you choose, you’ll enjoy a 5-year or 60-mile “Basic Warranty” with up to 10 years or 100,000 miles of protection on powertrain components.