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2020 Kia Telluride: First Look

  • Kia goes big and goes upmarket.
  • This large crossover/SUV can also be filled with high-tech gadgets.
  • On sale in 2019

Not only is the 2020 Kia Telluride an all-new large crossover/SUV with seating for eight, it’s also a step forward in Kia’s evolution. This is the largest vehicle the company has ever made. And just as a couple of Kia sedans are veering more toward premium territory (the Stinger and the Cadenza), so is this model.

Looking at all the specs, from the stiff body shell that uses 59.4 percent advanced high-strength steel to the optional high-end Harman Kardon surround-sound system, if the Kia Telluride name wasn’t there, a reader might reasonably conclude that these were the details of a luxury German vehicle. Here’s a telling detail: it’s not unusual to find heated rear outboard seats in, say, a Volvo and vehicles with similar prestige, the 2020 Telluride offers both heating and ventilation for those seats.

How much other equipment is available?

There are plenty of driver-assistance features as standard, including forward-collision avoidance/mitigation with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control with stop/go and a driver attention monitor.

More sophisticated systems are also on the extras list, such as a radar-based highway driving assistant, lane following function and Safe Exit Assist (SEA). If something (like a cyclist) is approaching a parked Telluride from behind, SEA will keep the electronic child safety lock engaged until the hazard has passed.

As an idea of how big the 2020 Kia Telluride is, the company offers a discreet microphone for the driver to communicate more easily with those in the second and third rows. A Quiet Mode limits the audio system to just the first row. And the Telluride can also come with a rear occupant alert (which requires a subscription, smartphone and a strong enough signal), if the movement of a child or pet is detected once the doors have been locked. If someone has six kids (a good reason for buying a Telluride), then they’re bound to forget one of them every now and then.

What’s under the hood?

The Kia Telluride deploys a 3.8-liter V6 for 291 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, which is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard with an active on-demand all-wheel drive system available as an option. This means that all power goes to the front wheels when conditions are undemanding, while some is directed to the rear axle in Sport and Snow modes. Lock mode means a 50/50 split. The Telluride also has a Downhill Brake Control.

Maximum towing capacity, when equipped appropriately, is 5,000 pounds.

When is it available and how much will it cost?

The 2020 Kia Telluride is anticipated to go on sale in the first half of 2019. In ascending order of equipment and plushness, trim levels are LX, EX, S and SX. No pricing has been announced at the North American Interntational Auto Show, but the Hyundai Palisade stablemate is set to start in the lower $30,000 reaches and go up to around $50,000. So expect something similar here.

Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More about Colin Ryan

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