Launched at the 2019 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), the 2020 Kia Telluride instantly impressed those in attendance. With outstanding cargo capacity, a potent engine, several standard and safety features, and a hugely attractive design, the Telluride is manufactured as a well-rounded ride—and Kia’s largest yet.
Price and Value
Later debuting for the 2020 model year, the Kia Telluride was impressive enough to earn the Best in Show award from Cars.com in the aftermath of the NAIAS. It went on to win the 2020 World Car of the Year honors, and U.S. News & World Report declared the Telluride as the winner of the publication’s 2020 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award based on its evaluation of research and data.
The Telluride base trim is a little pricier than other cars in its class at around $31,690. The top level trim is less than its competitors at $41,490.
Size and Seating Capacity
The 2020 Kia Telluride is manufactured and marketed as a midsize crossover SUV. However, its interior space and seating accommodations belie its classification. Inside the vehicle are three rows of seats, which vary in maximum occupancy, depending on trim level. While the LX and EX include a second-row bench-style seat to maximize occupancy to eight, the S and SX have a pair of captain’s chairs in the second row instead to reduce it to seven.
Passenger volume is measured at 178.1-cubic feet. Standard cargo space—which is measured between the third row and the liftgate—is measured at 21-cubic feet. However, you can fold down the third row to expand cargo space to 46-cubic feet or the second and third rows to maximize cargo space at 87-cubic feet.
Battery, Range, and Engine Specs
With the 2020 Kia Telluride, you get the 3.8-liter Lambda II V6 engine, which produces 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque for strong acceleration performance. The 8-speed automatic transmission to which the Lambda II is pinned provides smooth shifts due to reduced space between gears. It is pinned to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Front-wheel driving is standard, and it yields the Telluride’s peak fuel economy numbers of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Although the optional all-wheel drive reduces fuel efficiency—at 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway—it maximizes tire grip on the road, especially during slippery conditions. Towing capacity is rated at 5,000 lbs., regardless of configuration.
Trims and Features
The 2020 Kia Telluride is presented in four trim levels to cover a wide range of customer tastes. They are known as the LX, S, EX, and SX.
LX: With a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $31,690, the LX gives a run for every other base-level model’s money. It is reasonably priced for a three-row SUV, considering the abundance of features it supplies. The LX has synthetic leather seat trim, an 8-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Standard comfort and convenience features at this trim level include a 3.5-inch TFT trip computer for digital driver information display, proximity keyless entry with push-button engine start, a six-speaker AM/FM stereo system, Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free phone calling and audio streaming, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, UVO in-car connectivity with an 8-inch touchscreen, and a total of five USB ports for connecting mobile devices. The LX also has heated side mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators.
S: The S has a starting MSRP of $34,390, which is $2,700 more than that of the base-level LX. Beside features like a power sunroof, front-seat heating, and 10-way power adjustability on the driver’s seat, there’s not a lot of upgrades at this trim level.
EX: If you want a true boost in upgrades, go with the EX. It has a starting MSRP of $37,390, and with that price-point jump, expect enhancements such as leather seat trim, front-seat cooling, a smart power liftgate, power-folding ability on the side mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming ability on the rearview mirror, a driver-voice amplification system (called Driver Talk), a 10.25-inch touchscreen (instead of the 8-inch), wireless phone charging, a navigation system, Quiet Mode technology to enforce serenity in the second and third rows when passengers are sleeping, and a sixth USB port. In addition, 8-way power on the front-passenger seat returns at this trim level.
SX: For near-luxury level, go with the top-level SX, which has a starting MSRP price of $42,190. Unique to this model are features such as a dual-sunroof system, 12-way power adjustability and a memory system on the driver’s seat, reverse tilt-down ability on the side mirrors, brighter and longer-lasting LEDs on the projector-beam headlights (instead of halogen lights), a garage-door opener, a 7-inch TFT color display (in place of the 3.5-inch), and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system.
The Kia Telluride is stuffed with several technologies that assist the driver in avoiding collisions. Such technologies include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control with stop-and-go technology, driver attention warning, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, lane-following assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. There’s also a rearview camera with dynamic parking guidance and rear parking sensors. However, if a crash occurs, the Telluride can deploy any of its airbags, which consist of a driver’s knee airbag, two frontal impact airbags, two front seat-mounted side impact airbags, and roof-mounted side curtain airbags that line all three rows for head protection of occupants in the outboard seating positions.
Other standard safety features on the Kia Telluride include electronic vehicle stability control, traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, hill assist control, rear occupant alert, safe exit assist, LED daytime running lights, torque vectoring cornering control, and an anti-theft system. With its plethora of safety features, the Kia Telluride was able to attain a 2020 Top Safety Pick award from the Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, which is mainly due to its top rating of “Good” in all of the organization’s crashworthiness tests and top rating of “Superior” in its front crash prevention ability. Similarly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or the NHTSA, gave the vehicle an overall safety rating of five out of a possible five stars, with five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the front crash and rollover tests.
In terms of predicted reliability, the Kia Telluride is ranked among the best vehicles in its class. J.D. Power & Associates evaluates reports from verified new-vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership to award a score using a 100-point scale. The debut edition of the Telluride receives a score of 82/100, thereby giving it a “Great” ranking. Overall, the Telluride gets a Consumer Verified score of 83/100, placing it as the third-highest consumer-rated SUV. The Telluride is covered by an industry-leading 10-year or 100,000-mile factory warranty program.
Although it’s been only a year, the Kia Telluride is highly regarded by critics and consumers alike. Granted, there are several other three-row midsize SUVs out there.
However, the Kia Telluride pulls away from the rest in certain aspects. Its collection of standard features—most of which are the latest in automotive tech—put it closer to luxury-like territory than most others. The Telluride is powerful yet smooth, and it provides lots of interior room to keep everyone feel cozy. Finally, the warranty program and pricing range are unparalleled, to the extent that they don’t seem like a fair advantage over other midsize SUVs.