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The Kia Telluride dominates the midsize SUV segment. If you’re looking for a family SUV, few models provide more value than the Telluride. Kia has made subtle changes to the midsize model over time, but does the Telluride need a new powertrain option? Does the automotive industry need a Kia Telluride plug-in hybrid?

A Kia Telluride PHEV could be epic

A gray 2022 Kia Telluride midsize SUV is parked outside.
The 2022 Kia Telluride | Kia

Hybrid and plug-in hybrids are becoming much more common in the SUV vehicle segment. Automakers like Toyota, Honda, and more produce popular hybrid and plug-in hybrid SUVs. Plug-in hybrid models benefit from better fuel economy and more torque than gas-powered models. Many PHEVs are also eligible for a federal electric vehicle tax incentive.

The 2022 Kia Telluride starts at $33,390. If South Korean automaker were to make a Telluride PHEV, its starting price would be closer to (or above) $40K. The Telluride achieves 20 miles per gallon in the city and 26 miles per gallon on the highway. While the Telluride gets decent fuel economy, it’s far from class-leading.

The midsize Toyota Highlander Hybrid gets an impressive 36 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. Its fuel economy competes with some sedans. Not too shabby for a midsize SUV at all.

The Telluride makes 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. The addition of an electric motor would give the midsize SUV a boost in horsepower and torque, making it quicker. The Kia Telluride is already practically perfect, but a plug-in hybrid powertrain option could take the Telluride nameplate to new heights. There’s been no mention of a plug-in hybrid Kia Telluride arriving anytime soon, but South Korean automaker Kia does have a new electric SUV in the works.

The 2024 Kia EV9 could be an electric version of the Kia Telluride

Kia has teased the EV9 concept electric SUV at many different auto shows. The EV9 appears to be a Telluride-inspired electric SUV. Kia has yet to release any information about the EV’s electric motors or battery capacity.

Most major automakers have been shifting their focus to producing hybrid, PHEV, and electric options for consumers in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions. Volkswagen was once one of the industry’s largest producers of carbon emissions. Now, the automaker has its own electric vehicle charging subsidiary and an internationally successful electric SUV nameplate, the Volkswagen ID.4.

It’s natural that Kia produces more electric vehicles as well. Since the Telluride has been so impactful, it makes sense that Kia would base a new EV nameplate on the midsize SUV.

The 2024 Kia EV9 is a huge release for the brand

A blue 2024 Kia EV9 concept SUV.
The 2024 Kia EV9 | Kia

Kia has kept up with the times and has produced several hybrid, PHEV, and even electric options. The 2023 Kia Sportage PHEV offers incredible value. The Kia EV6 is a competitor in the small electric SUV segment. The automaker may not need a Telluride PHEV because of the upcoming EV9 electric SUV.

Car and Driver estimates that the 2024 Kia EV9 will start at around $50,000. Is the EV9 the future of the brand?

Learn more about Kia’s small hybrid SUV, the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid, in the next article below.


2024 Kia EV9 Electric SUV Range, Design, Tech: What We Know so Far