Kia Telluride

The Telluride is powered by a 3.8L V6 engine making 291 horsepower sending power to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is also available. Though the Telluride isn't going to break any speed records, 291 horsepower is plenty to allow the vehicle to feel relatively spry around town or when merging onto the highway. And while front-wheel drive versions aren't suitable for heavy off-roading, they should still provide plenty of ground clearance for the occasional gravel road, grass field or other light-offroad situation drivers might find themselves in.

The Telluride is available in four different trims: LX, S, EX and SX. The LX represents the base trim but being the flagship SUV in Kia's lineup, it still comes nicely equipped with lots of standard features including 18-inch alloy wheels, LED Daytime running lights, heated mirrors with LED turn signals in them, an 8-inch touch screen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth connectivity, five USB ports, rear-passenger air conditioning with controls for rear seat occupants, leatherette seats and a leather wrapped steering wheel.

S models come with a slightly shinier dark metallic grille along with skid plates and more exterior chrome. Wheels on the S are 20-inches and the S model also gets a sunroof, roof rails, power adjustable front seats and a leather wrapped shift knob. At only a couple of thousand dollars more than the LX, the S model represents a sweet spot from a value perspective.

The upmarket EX offers quite a few luxury features in addition to what's available on the S. The exterior mirrors are power folding while the rear liftgate is also powered. The EX also gets LED taillights and a bigger infotainment system inside, this one measuring 10.25 inches from corner to corner. One of the standout features to come on the EX is what Kia calls Driver Talk, which allows the driver to project their voice over the rear speakers in order to be more clearly heard by rear seat occupants. However, should those occupants fall asleep, Kia also offers a Quiet Mode on the EX that will cut out all sound to the rear and limit the front speakers from getting too loud, so those in the front seat can still listen to the radio or music without disturbing those in the back. Keeping with the theme, the EX also gets dual-zone climate control and sunshades for the second row. Seating surfaces are trimmed in leather on the EX.

The top of the line SX offers more of everything, including nicer front seats, a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, park distance control and a blind spot camera, a 360-degree camera mode, a digital gauge cluster, ambient lighting that can be set in one of 64 different colors, LED projector beam headlights, LED fog lights and a panoramic dual sunroof.

Most safety equipment comes standard across the entire Telluride line including a rear blind spot collision avoidance assist, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, a lane departure warning system, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic avoidance assist, a rearview monitor, smart cruise control and of course several airbags along with the latest in stability control systems.

Editors' Review

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It's been a little over a decade since Kia doubled-down on design, hiring TT-designer Peter Schreyer away from Audi and making him the company's chief design officer. While Kia has produced plenty of attractive machines since then, it's only in the past few years that the brand's true ambitions have surfaced. With Stinger, Kia introduced a world-class sports sedan that needed few caveats when compared to far pricier metal from Germany. 

Now, the brand is looking to bring that same sort of reinvention to the three-row SUV game. It's the $31,690 2020 Kia Telluride, the company's biggest vehicle ever. With no template to build from or prior vehicle to evolve, the Telluride is totally fresh and remarkably good.

Design and interior

There are so many bland SUVs on the road today that I tend to celebrate anything different, and while different isn't always good, the Telluride is. It brings a lot of freshness to a typically boring segment without flaunting any risky, overly unconventional styling cues. At first glance, it just looks like a clean, modern SUV with strong, purposeful lines. A friend called it "trucky," which I'd take as a compliment. From certain angles it has a bit of a Range Rover vibe going, but its design is never derivative.

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The Good The Kia Telluride has great handling and a nice looking interior wrapped in one of the best looking exteriors this category has to offer.

The Bad Interior materials plus fit-and-finish leave a lot to be desired.

The Bottom Line Kia's biggest SUV is a winner.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Design 9
  • Media 9

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