2020 Kia Telluride — The top ranked #1 midsize SUV you can buy

By Jim Prueter

(July 3, 2019) Kia has just introduced its all-new Telluride three-row midsized SUV with seating for up to eight people. The largest Kia ever offered, the 2020 Telluride, when compared to the hugely popular Sorento, is larger — much larger. The newcomer is eight inches longer and four inches wider, and a wheelbase that stretches nearly five inches farther.

The Telluride joins the market at a time when the public is begging for more SUV choices, especially those with room for eight. Telluride is a few inches bigger than the Honda Pilot and even the new Toyota Highlander. It’s not quite Tahoe size, but it’s very close.

The bold design is one which Kia itself describes as “boxy.” There’s no sloping, hatchback-like roofline to rob interior space and plenty of greenhouse to look out of, no matter which of its three rows you’re occupying.

The back is as squared off as the front, with attractive, inverted L-shaped rear tail lamps that only serve to emphasize its boxyness and width.

Inside, we appreciated that practicality hasn’t replaced comfort. The instrument panel is wide, simplistic, with classy open-pore wood that resembles reclaimed driftwood. It’s adorned with brushed silver metallic trim and switchgear that looks expensive and well made. An optional 10.25-inch widescreen display sits atop the dash, while the steering wheel’s crisp buttons do nothing to dilute the luxury feel. There’s also a 630-watt, 10-speaker Harman-Kardon audio system, wireless charging and six USB ports.

Not surprising, advanced safety features abound, including forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear and blind spot view monitor. Driver and passenger visibility is absolutely superb. That means lots of glass.

Power comes from a responsive 3.8-liter V-6 engine with 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Four trim levels are offered in both front wheel and all-wheel drive. We tested the top-tier SX.

But the most amazing thing about the new Telluride is its absolutely impressive driving, handling and ride characteristics. It’s the most impressive SUV I’ve driven and tested all year, regardless of price.

The Telluride is a superb midsize SUV that’s roomy, has a large cargo hold, a long warranty, excellent predicted reliability rating, and bests anything in its class.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $31,690 - $41,490
Price as Tested: $46,860
Power Train: 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 connected with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: 19-mpg city – 24-mpg highway – 21-mpg combined
Seating: 7 or 8

Where Built: West Point, Georgia, USA

Crash Test Results: The Kia Telluride has not been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Competes With:
Buick Enclave
Chevrolet Traverse
Dodge Durango
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa FE
Mazda CX-9
Toyota Highlander
Volkswagen Atlas

Fab Features
Looks and feels far more expensive than it is
Loaded with advanced tech and safety features
Most impressive drive, ride and handling characteristics