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The popular SUV punches above its weight class in the competitive midsize three-row category.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - The 2022 Kia Telluride is a handsome three-row affordable SUV that competes well against luxury models.Since it was introduced in 2019, the three-row Telluride SUV has become a runaway hit for Kia. It's easy to see why. With its bold styling, refined interior, and available technologies, it is in class by itself.

Pricewise, the Telluride competes against the affordable Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander. But it costs less than them across the board while feeling much more sophisticated.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - The 2022 Kia Telluride comes with a standard 3.8-liter V6 and is available with front- or all-wheel drive.

In fact, the Telluride is really competing against the three row SUVs produced by their luxury brands, the Acura MDX, Infiniti QX60 and Lexus RXL. But even the most expensive trim level of the Telluride has a starting price that is thousands less than the other base models.

That doesn't mean the Telluride is the only choice. Different buyers have different needs. For example, the Telluride only comes with a standard V6, while the Pathfinder is available as a more fuel efficient hybrid. The luxury SUVs are also available with multiple engine choices, including hybrids.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - The interior of the 2022 Kia Telluride is very roomy and comes standard with a 13.5-inch diplay.

But the 2022 Kia Telluride is truly a remarkable value. The base front-wheel-drive LX starts at $34,725 and comes well equipped with a 10.3-inch touchscreen (replacing the old 8.0-inch unit), fully automatic temperature control, an infotainment system that supports supports Android and Apple phone integration as well as Bluetooth connectivity and USB input, five USB charging ports, three 12-Volt ports, and a comprehensive suite of driver-assistance technology, including semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control.

The top-of-the-line SX starts at $44,625 and comes standard with a 12-way power driver's seat, black-painted 20-inch rims, a Harman Kardon stereo, front and rear sunroofs, and second-row captain's chairs and more.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - The second row of seats in the 2022 Kia Telluride is avaiable as captains chairs to make access to the third row easier.

While the Telluride only offers one engine, the 3.8-liter V6 plenty powerful. It is larger than the 3.5-liter V6 engines available in the other affordable three-row SUVs, and produces an ample 291 horsepower and 262 foot pounds of torque. Mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the Telluride feels strong if not overly fast.

Those who want the added sense of security that comes with all-wheel drive can add it for an extra $1,900. We recommend that in the wet Pacific Northwest, especially since it comes with an electronically-locking center differential for additional traction. The front end of the Telluride is also angled up to allow for moderate off-road driving. Our fully loaded SX AWD was a bargain-priced $51,010.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - The third row of seats in the 2022 Kia Telluride is big enough for two teenagers.

The Telluride also has a spacious interior. Although classified as a midsize SUV, it is on the large side, with extra leg room in the second row of seats and a third row that is at least big enough for a couple of teenagers. There is plenty of storage space behind the third row and though to accommodate a weekend shopping trip to a nursery with both of them folded down.

In a week of test driving, the Telluride was always comfortable and well-mannered. The interior was a mix of high-quality soft plastics and convincing synthetic leather. The dash was clean and simple, and side mirror mounted cameras gave views down the flanks in the gauge package with the turn signals were turned on.

COURTESY PHOTO: KIA - There is a tremendous amount of cargo space available in the 2022 Kia Telluride with the back seats folded down.

If you're shopping for a family hauler on a budget, you'll be amazed how far your dollar will go with the 2022 Kia Telluride. And even if you can afford to spend more, it will likely satisfy all of your needs and then some.

2022 Kia Telluride

Base price: $34,725 (LX)

Price as tested: $51,010 (SX AWD as tested)

Type: Midsize SUV

Engine: 3.8-liter V6 (291 hp, 262 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 20/26 (FWD), 19/24 (AWD)

Overall length: 196.9 inches

Curb weight: 4,354 pounds

Final assembly: West Point, Georgia

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