Boxy but beguiling. The first thing most buyers will notice about the all-new 2020 Kia Telluride are the looks. Mid-size crossovers and SUVs are the darlings of the automotive market right now, but most of them opt for sleek and curvaceous styling.
The Telluride bucks this trend. With a squared-off hood, sheer sides, and rectangular motifs, the Telluride is more of a throwback to older SUV fashion. It wears the look well and compliments it with tasteful chrome and lighting accents.
The Telluride is on the large side for its class. With a length of 196.9 inches, it’s substantially longer than competitors like the Toyota Highlander.
Extra space for the price. With the size comes voluminous capacity for either cargo or passengers. Even with all three rows raised, the Telluride retains 21 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
That’s much better than rivals like the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, which only have around 13.5 cubic feet behind the seats. With all the seats dropped, the Telluride has an exceptional 87 cubic feet on tap. The only competitor that comes close is the Ford Explorer, which shares similar dimensions to the Telluride, but the Kia still pulls away on total cargo volume.
Passenger space is strong as well. Although the Telluride’s third row isn’t quite as spacious as those of the Pilot or Explorer, it comes close, and the second row enjoys more leg room than either one.
Middling performance. All Tellurides come with a 291-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 engine. It gets the job done, but it’s not exceptional.
The eight-speed automatic transmission does an adequate job putting power down around town, but it struggles with highway passing. The Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds, which is good for the class.
Efficiency is in the middle as well. The Telluride achieves an EPA-estimated 20 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway, and 23 combined with front-wheel drive. That’s only slightly worse than the Pilot, but it’s a ways off the efficiency of rivals like the Mazda CX-9 or Subaru Ascent.
On the plus side, the Telluride has a composed and smooth ride that doesn’t tank the handling. Off-roading isn’t the Telluride’s forte, but the optional all-wheel-drive system is respectable in low-traction conditions.
Feature-laden value. The Telluride’s strongest argument may be its features. With a starting price over $32,000, it’s on par with competitors for price. Synthetic leather upholstery is standard, as are keyless ignition and smartphone infotainment compatibility. All Telluride models get infotainment touchscreens of at least 8 inches.
Those are strong features for a base model, and the value doesn’t diminish higher in the lineup. For less than $40,000, the Telluride can have heated and ventilated leather seats, wireless charging, and a sunroof.
Best of all, active safety tech is standard across the line. This includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. For family buyers, standard safety will no doubt be appreciated.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Kia Telluride distinguishes itself mainly on practicality and comfort. It offers excellent interior space and good value for the price.
In a class this competitive, that’s nothing to sneeze at. The titans of this class offer stiff competition and a little more polish in some areas, but the Telluride has proved that it deserves a place at the table.