Kia Telluride looks like a luxury vehicle, with classy
exterior touches such as amber running lights surrounding big
rectangular dual-bulb projector headlights, a long hood, wide
grille and subtle chrome trim.
TELLURIDE, Colo. —
The first great SUV of the year just arrived at your Kia dealership.
Elegant, advanced and
costing thousands less than comparably equipped competitors, the
2020 Kia Telluride seven- or eight-seat SUV leaves three-row
competitors like the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, Honda
Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder in its dust.
Luxury SUVs like the
Lexus RXL, Acura MDX and Infiniti QX60 better watch out, too.
Room for people,
The Telluride is the
biggest vehicle Kia’s ever sold. Driving through the Colorado
Rockies toward the former mining town the SUV is named for, headroom
seemed as high as the surrounding mountains. Shoulder and knee room
are equally accommodating, thanks to a design that maximizes
interior space. The second row offers a bench or captain’s chairs
that slide to adjust third-row space. There’s 21 cubic feet of
cargo space behind the third row, more than the Pilot and
The Telluride looks
like a luxury vehicle, and not just because its styling reminds some
of Range Rover. Classy exterior touches like amber running lights
surrounding big rectangular dual-bulb projector headlights — LED
on the SX model I drove — combine with a long hood, wide grille
and subtle chrome trim for a look vehicles costing thousands more
will envy. Interior options include perforated Nappa leather and a
velvety, luxurious headliner.
Long but nimble,
quiet on bumpy roads
At 196.9 inches long,
the Telluride is longer than the Highlander, Pilot and Pathfinder,
but it drives like a smaller vehicle.
The steering is
responsive and direct. The ride was smooth over pothole ridden
mountain roads and rough surfaces. The interior is exceptionally
quiet, even at highway speeds.
3.8L engine produces 291 hp, roughly in the middle of the pack.
Acceleration and power are fine for slicing through traffic and long
uphill stretches. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts
quickly and smoothly.
The Telluride can tow
5,000 pounds with a $795 towing package.
Wide range of prices,
start at $31,690 for a front-wheel drive model. Add $2,000 for
full-time all-wheel drive with modes for different terrain and a
locking differential. A smooth eight-speed automatic transmission is
I tested a
top-of-the-line AWD Telluride SX with the prestige package. Features
included Nappa leather seat trim, navigation, 10.25-inch touch
screen, head-up display that included speed limit and navigation
instructions, 630-watt 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio, a velvety
headliner, heated and ventilated second-row seats, memory for driver
settings, dual sunroofs, 20-inch black wheels and much more. It
stickered at $45,815, excluding destination charges.
Smartest, safest back
seat on wheels
The Telluride has an
exceptional number of standard safety and driver assistance features
— Front collision
— Automatic front
— Adaptive cruise
— Blind spot alert
with automatic evasive steering and braking if you’re about to
merge into another vehicle
— Automatic braking
if you’re about to back into a crossing vehicle
The blind spot
sensors don’t stop working when the Telluride stops moving.
They’ll warn back-seat passengers if they’re about to open a
door into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
That’s not the back
seat’s only trick. If you lock the vehicle and walk away with a
child or pet in the back seat, motion sensors will beep the horn to
remind you that you forgot somebody.
You can also mute the
second- and third-row audio speakers, if somebody’s napping, or
the kids keep making fun of your taste in music. (Or they don’t
want the ‘rents to hear choice lyrics in a rap song.)
I only noticed two
oversights: The mechanism to fold the rear seats for more cargo
space is a little difficult to operate with one hand, and there’s
no rear-seat video system. Kia dealers will offer them, but it’ll
be at least a model year before there’s a factory installed
2020 Kia Telluride at
Model tested: 2020
Kia Telluride SX V6 AWD
Engine: 3.8L V-6
Power: 291 hp @ 6,000
rpm; 262 pound-feet of torque @ 5,200 rpm
5,000 pounds with optional towing package
EPA fuel economy
rating: 19 mpg city/24 highway/21 combined. (FWD: 20/26/23) Regular
West Point, Ga.
Price as tested:
$45,815 (excluding destination charges)