The Kia Telluride is brand new for the 2020 model year and becomes a top contender in the competitive midsize SUV/crossover class. It boasts a smooth ride, upscale and roomy cabin, tons of standard tech and safety features, light off-roading capability and rugged good looks.
The Telluride becomes the largest crossover from the North Korean automaker with three rows of seating and room for seven or eight passengers, depending on whether you choose captain’s chairs or the standard bench seat in the second row. The Telluride is several inches longer than its sibling, the Sorento.
There are four trims: LX, S, EX and SX. Starting prices range from $31,690 to 43,490. Front-wheel-drive is standard while all-wheel-drive is available on all trims for an additional $2,000. The LX and EX trims come with bench seats in the second row to accommodate eight passengers. The S and SX have captain’s chairs in the second row with room for seven.
The Kia Telluride is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While the Telluride isn’t the most athletic performer in the class, it handles well in everyday driving situations. Despite its large size, it’s easy to maneuver in busy city traffic, and there’s more than enough power for merging and passing at freeway speeds. There are four drive modes: Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart. In the AWD models, you can also choose from Snow and Lock settings. The ride is composed even on rougher roads. Visibility is good all the way around.
Want to do some light off-roading? The Telluride can handle it with its 8 inches of ground clearance and standard skid plates. There’s also an available all-wheel-drive lock system. When properly equipped, the Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Fuel efficiency is about average for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21 mpg. I got 22 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The handsome interior would be at home in a luxury vehicle. Materials are high quality and most are soft-touch. The metal and wood trim isn’t real, but you sure wouldn’t know it.
Adults are comfortable in the first two rows with plenty of leg- and headroom. As you’d expect, the third row is tighter, although there’s enough room for small adults. Getting into the third row is as easy as pushing a button with the power sliding and folding second row.
Standard features include push-button start, remote start, proximity keyless entry, rearview camera, synthetic leather upholstery, Kia’s UVO infotainment system with eight-inch touch screen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, six USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and power sliding and folding second-row seats.
All Telluride models also come standard with many safety and driver assistance technologies including lane keep assist, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, pre-collision warning and braking system with pedestrian detection, rear parking sensors, and safe exit assist.
Available features include a head-up display, real leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated first- and second-row seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, wireless phone charging, and second-row sunshades.
The Kia UVO infotainment works great. It’s user-friendly, graphics are sharp and the system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make it easy to integrate your smartphone.
The Kia has a boatload of cargo space for the class. There are 21 cubic feet of cargo space with all three rows of seating in place, 46 cubes with the third row folded and 87 cubes with both rows folded.
Well-equipped with lots of standard tech and safety features
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Lots of cargo space
Handling not as athletic as some rivals
My tester starts at $43,490. The SX Prestige Package is $2,000 and adds a head up display and 110 volt inverter, Nappa leather seat trim, premium cloth headliner and sun visors, heated and ventilated second row seats, and rain-sensing front windshield wipers. Carpeted floor mats are $210. Carpeted cargo mat with seat back protection is $115. Delivery fee is $1,045 bringing the grand total to $46,860.
Kia has a winner with the new Telluride. This is an excellent and well-equipped family hauler. If you’re shopping for a midsize crossover or SUV, it’s definitely worth a look.