Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
I have been long awaiting the arrival of the Kia Telluride since it was originally introduced as a concept car in 2016 at the North American International Auto Show. The Kia Telluride is a mid-size crossover, three-row, seven-passenger SUV. The Telluride is named after the town Telluride in Colorado and debuted in the spring of 2019 as a 2020 model. The first public debut of the consumer model was at New York Fashion Week in September 2018. The customized version shown was inspired by fashion designer Brandon Maxwell’s Texas-inspired collection.
Upon first look you notice the Telluride’s truck-like exterior, while rectangular in appearance, is still sporty with the grille, headlights and fog lights. The snow white pearl paint gleams bright, while the orange LED lighting around the headlights is on the SX trim truly stands out. The satin finish on the exterior trim pieces is a much better choice rather than chrome pieces that are typically tossed on vehicles. The dual sunroofs are a great touch as well. On the hood and tailgate, “TELLURIDE” is prominently marked and nearly extends the width of the vehicle. I would classify the Telluride’s styling as bold, which is rare in its class. Although it draws a close comparison to its corporate counterpart, the Hyundai Palisade.
The Telluride is now Kia’s biggest vehicle, can seat up to eight passengers and offers a maximum of 87 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Kia lists the Telluride’s cargo hold as offering 21 cubic feet of space with the third row of seats in place. When you fold the third row down, cargo room expands to 46 cubic feet. The only issue now, do you want to bring more passengers or luggage? The seats up front are comfortable with driver-seat memory functions, captain’s chairs in the middle and a reasonably sized third row. The interior ambient lighting is a cool feature to have in the vehicle. The interior design is upscale with an impressive cabin filled with high-quality materials and an eye-pleasing design. The model that we tested was the SX trim along with the $2,000 SX Prestige pack. Matte wood and nappa leather both add to why this cabin is considered luxurious.
Kia equips the Telluride SX with a stellar technology package as well. The SX comes standard with a 10-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, keyless remote, push button start, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system that is crystal clear. Kia’s UVO Link with navigation, Cabin Talk (an in-cabin speaker that sends sound from the front row to the rear row), Quiet Mode (which turns sound from the speakers off entirely behind the front seats) are included as well. The 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, located between two analog gauges, along with the head-up display adds to the luxury moniker
The 2020 Kia Telluride is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that puts out 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, all pushed through a smooth shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. The SX model Telluride is also equipped with active on-demand all-wheel drive. Gas mileage on the Telluride isn’t bad coming at 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. The Telluride drives and handles well. Comfort and Eco mode are fine but the Telluride comes to life when in Sport mode. Throttle response is enhanced as well as improvement to the steering and suspension.
Kia is high on safety, but no rating is available since the Telluride hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yet. The amount of available safety equipment such as blind-spot monitoring, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, lane-departure warning, and more.
The Telluride is the largest vehicle Kia has ever produced for the United States. The Telluride sits in a competitive class amongst the Chevrolet Traverse, the Volkswagen Atlas, the Honda Pilot, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9 and the Subaru Ascent. The Kia Telluride SX model that we tested came in at $47,255, which is competitively priced and worth it. This is a far step up from the Sorento. Kudos Kia. Please enjoy the photo gallery.