Kia Hits the Trails With the Slightly Rugged X-Pro Trim
Tougher looks and a dose of off-road capability add to the Sportage and Telluride lineups.
Updated on September 19, 2023
It seems these days that even the most commuter-friendly crossover buyers are hankering to hit the trails. At the same time, there are likely those who merely want to appear as if they could tackle something more treacherous than the morning coffee drive-through.
Seeking to tap into these consumer desires, Kia introduced for 2023 an almost-rugged trim level called X-Pro. The trim is available on two of the automaker's most popular sport-utility vehicles, the compact Sportage and the three-row midsize Telluride. These X-Pro versions are aimed at the heart of the overlanding craze that has sent many car campers off the beaten path to find weekend fun.
What Kia's X-Pro Gets You
Kia has kept the X-Pro upgrades relatively light. On the cosmetic side, Kia adds bulkier-looking bumpers front and rear, with unique matte-black wheels and plastic cladding along the rockers, providing the illusion of protective rock rails. Roof racks and a special color palette inside and out are hallmarks of an X-Pro. Kia's SynTex upholstery that is more resistant to stains and other grime is also included.
On the mechanical side of the equation, Kia provides standard all-wheel drive, a suspension update that tweaks shocks and springs to add a smidge of additional ground clearance — up to 8.3 inches for the Sportage and 8.4 for the Telluride — a locking center differential, and knobby all-terrain tires.
The Kia Sportage and Telluride Offer the X-Pro Trim
For 2023 and 2024, Kia will offer the Sportage X-Pro and Telluride X-Pro. Although the styling details vary somewhat between these two vehicles, they have almost identical trail-focused gear. The Telluride X-Pro does offer a towing capacity of 5,500 pounds. That's an additional 500 pounds over the base V6 version.
Another Kia X family member is the X-Line, which affords buyers most of the look of an actual Sportage X-Pro or Telluride X-Pro without the extra off-road hardware.
How the Kia X-Pro Fits In With the Competition
Kia has entered a suddenly crowded market of options that appeal to drivers who want to head off-road but aren't interested in hardcore rock crawling.
The Kia Telluride X-Pro faces off most directly against the Ford Explorer Timberline and the Honda Pilot TrailSport. Each offers three rows of passenger accommodations and a modest level of off-road improvement in features and equipment.