Kia introduces the 2020 Telluride, a three-row family hauler that shares a platform with another new SUV, the 2020 Hyundai Palisade. The Telluride is Kia’s first venture into the large SUV segment, and it’s the largest Kia ever built.
You can get into a base model Telluride for $31,690, and the top end model starts at $43,490.
Officially, the Telluride is a midsize SUV, but it offers seating for up to eight in a roomy and well-appointed cabin. The Telluride, which shares its name with a ski resort town in Colorado, is designed in California and built in Georgia.
The Telluride is available in four trims: LX, EX, S and SX. All are outfitted with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivers 291 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, and AWD is available.
The Telluride’s 3.8-liter V6 provides it with ample power. But this is a big, heavy SUV that weighs nearly 3 tons when fully loaded, so don’t expect it to run like a sports car. The ride is smooth and compliant with linear steering and good braking.
This new SUV, in my opinion, looks just as good from the front as it does from the back. The front end has cool LED-wrapped headlights in an upright grill and inverted L-shaped LED taillamps in back. The Telluride has an upright, boxy shape which allows interior engineers to make the most of its size. Twenty-inch wheels are super cool on the upper trims.
It’s inside the cabin where the Telluride shines brightest. The interior is designed for growing American families with an emphasis on comfort and spaciousness. The cabin is roomy and comfortable with a sensible dash layout with either an 8-inch or 10.3-inch horizontal touchscreen located at the top of the center stack. Quilted Nappa leather seats are available along with matte-finished wood trim. Heated and cooled seats are offered in the front two rows, and the third-row seats recline. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated and tilt-telescoping.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both supported by the infotainment system, which features an available 630-watt harman kardon audio system. There’s Bluetooth and an available wireless smartphone charging system and six available USB ports – two in each row. A heads-up display is standard with information on turn-by-turn navigation, speed limit signs, cruise control and blind spot warnings.
The second row in the 8-passenger Telluride is a bench seat in the LX and EX trims, while the S and SX get captain’s chairs in Row 2. While many third rows are suited for kids only, the Telluride’s third row is surprisingly roomy.
The 197-inch-long Telluride has 40.9 inches of headroom in the front row, 40.2 inches in Row 2 and even 38.1 inches back in the third row. Legroom in Row 2 is a generous 42.4 inches, and in Row 3 it’s 31.4 inches.
Cargo space behind the third row is 21 cubic feet. Behind Row 2 it’s 46 cubic feet, and with both rows folded down cargo space is a whopping 87 cubic feet.
When it comes to safety, the 2020 Kia Telluride has seven airbags including side curtains. The government has not yet smashed it into steel walls, but the insurance industry gives the Telluride high marks. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a “Top Safety Pick,” with the highest score of “good” in every crash-test category. The IIHS dings the Telluride for headlights, which score “acceptable” or “poor,” depending on the trim.
The Telluride has anti-lock brakes, downhill brake control, hill-start assist, forward collision warning and collision avoidance, available high beam assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor and collision avoidance, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view monitor with rear cross traffic collision avoidance, and a safe exit system which detects a car approaching from the rear.
This new offering from Kia opens a new chapter for the company. For my money, the 2020 Kia Telluride is a roomy, attractive, affordable and safe choice.
2020 Kia Telluride SX AWD
Engine: 3.8-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 291/262 lb.-ft.
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Price: $43,490 ($46,860 w/options & freight)
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
Estimated Highway Range: 451 miles