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2020 Kia Telluride Review

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The Kia Telluride is a big bold SUV with a roomy third row, good cargo room, lots of tech and driver convenience features, plus the performance you need to get around town or off the beaten path.

With a starting price of $32,875, the Kia Telluride is priced just right and even the top of the line Telluride SX AWD feels affordable with everything you get for $46,860.

If you’re shopping for a mid-size SUV or an SUV with a third-row, this American made Kia needs to be at the top of your list. Just don’t forget about the Hyundai Palisade, which offers a more luxurious take on the three-row SUV.

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Debuting with an emotional Super Bowl ad, the Telluride proved itself during our time with the rugged three-row SUV.

Performance & Handling

The 2020 Telluride comes with plenty of power and a good tow rating.

The 2020 Telluride comes with plenty of power and a good tow rating.

The Telluride packs a 3.8L V6 engine with an 8-speed transmission and optional all-wheel drive. This delivers plenty of power with good acceleration and handling. The Telluride is rated for 5,000 pounds of towing capacity.

Ride quality is good, though firm. You can get a self-leveling rear air suspension. While most Tellurides will stay on the pavement, the off-road performance to get you to campsites is impressive thanks to 8-inches of ground clearance and standard skid plates.

On the highway, the adaptive cruise with the ability to stop and pick back up after a short pause is great for navigating traffic jams, and there’s plenty of power to overtake slower cars.

With the all-wheel-drive model, the standard split is 100 percent to the front, but in Sport mode, it switches to 65% to the front and 35% to the back.

Fuel economy is in line with other mid-size SUVs with a V6 engine. The Telluride earned an EPA estimated 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

The Telluride comes with a 10-year 100,000-mile Powertrain warranty and a 5-year, 60,000-mile limited basic warranty as well as roadside assistance.

Interior, Design & Liveability

I'm a big fon of the Telluride design.

I’m a big fon of the Telluride design.

While design is subjective, the boxy rugged look reaches out and pulls me to this vehicle the same way I’ve been drawn to the Wrangler and Xterra in the past. It’s a look at me, I’m over here doing my thing and looking good at the same time style that really works on the Telluride. The Dark Moss paint on my loaner completed the look.

The interior is well laid out and comfortable, though it lacks some of the interior storage spaces that you’ll find on the Palisade and other mid-size SUVs. The 2nd and 3rd rows feel roomy thanks to lots of windows and an optional second-row sunroof.

There is a lot of room in the front seat and a very spacious second row. You can configure the Telluride with a bench seat in the second row to bring eight passengers, or you can get captain chairs. It’s easy to get in and out of the Telluride and there are one-touch slide and fold rear seats for access to the third row. You can fold the second-row seats with a push of a button from the rear storage area. There are no power third-row seat controls like on the Palisade.

The interior is comfortable, luxurious and offers a lot of room.

The interior is comfortable, luxurious and offers a lot of room.

With the SX Prestige package ($2,000) the second-row seats are heated and ventilated for added comfort.

There are plenty of charging points throughout the cabin, enough for every row, and handy pockets to hold a smartphone in the second row.

The cabin is very quiet at highway speeds, approaching what you’d typically find in a luxury SUV.

Thanks to a smart heating and cooling system, you can control the dual-zone temp upfront, and independently control the rear temperature and fans. The ceiling-mounted vents make it easy to direct the air and you can swivel them closed while still getting a little air movement to keep the temperature right without getting blasted in the face with air.

Enjoy plenty of cargo room.

Enjoy plenty of cargo room.

The rear storage area is quite spacious and if you need more room for weekend getaways or DIY projects you can fold down the seats with a 60/40 split to open the cargo areas up significantly.

Tech, Driver Assist & Safety

The Telluride is toting all the latest tech, awsome driver-assist features, and some cool safety options.

With the EX and higher trim levels you get a wider 10.3-inch touch screen, and on lower trims an 8-inch touch screen.

All Telluride models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Plug your phone in and you get easy access to navigation, music, calls, texts and other supported apps. The touch screen is responsive, easily visible and the Kia infotainment system is easy to use, even though most people will spend more time in CarPlay or Android Auto. The optional Harmon Kardon sound system is quite good.

The infotainment system is great and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The infotainment system is great and supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There are some cool built-in features like the intercom that lets you talk to the second and third-row without shouting or turning around and the Rear Occupant Alert that can detect a passenger in the rear of the vehicle and alert you with noises as you get out of the car or with a push alert to your phone.

Safe Exit is an awesome feature that keeps the second-row doors locked if the vehicle detects traffic approaching on the street side. This prevents a child from opening a door into traffic.

Kia offers a connected car experience with remote lock and unlock, and you can remote start the car from the UVO Link app. You can also control the climate using the app and set a schedule so the Telluride gets the cabin just right every morning before work or taking the kids to school.

The 2020 Kia Telluride features standard auto emergency braking technology and Blind Spot Collision technology, so you get a nice set of standard safety features.

Driver-assist features like the Blind Spot monitoring and a pop-up video view on your instrument cluster when you opt for the Blind Spot View monitor, help you see your surroundings. While I prefer the placement of the video feed on the Palisade, the Telluride’s center view still works and is a nice addition to the standard blind spot indicators.

With adaptive cruise control, road trips are easier. The Telluride automatically slows to keep with the flow of traffic and then accelerates to your cruise control speed when congestion clears.

A standard rearview monitor and optional bird’s eye view make getting into and out of tight parking places easy.

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