Long-Term Review

2020 Kia Telluride Ownership

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author photo by Autotrader February 2020
  • Likely the best three-row SUV you can get
  • The largest Kia yet
  • Built in the USA
  • Ownership Update 2/12/20

It's hard to give Korean automaker Kia a ton of credit for the Kia Telluride. In theory, V6-powered, 3-row SUVs aren't exactly a new idea -- even Kia has had the Sorento for many years now. However, in practice, the new 2020 Kia Telluride redefines what a luxurious family SUV can be. The ride, handling, engine, interior packaging and overall look are all that exactly right combination.

Why We Got It

Kia is an automaker and brand on the rise. In recent years, virtually everything they've produced is either good or great in some way. The Optima is surprisingly attractive and refined, the rear-wheel-drive Stinger is amazingly athletic, the Sorento SUV is good-looking and refined. This line-up leaves Kia without a large 3-row SUV, although they do have a great (if underpromoted) minivan, the Sedona.

So the Kia Telluride is an answer to the question many new car shoppers were asking: "Is there a Kia larger than the Sorento that's not a minivan?" Until now, the answer was no.

Enter the Telluride. One reason we think the Telluride is a must for new car shoppers is the striking look. When we saw the Telluride at the auto show and collectively said "That looks awesome," we knew we wanted to get behind the wheel. The sub-$35,000 base price also had us intrigued. We know that a nicely equipped Telluride will easily be $40,000 or more, but with such a low starting price, we wonder if the higher trim levels can look and feel as plush as the Mazda CX-9, the Toyota Highlander, the Nissan Pathfinder or the Ford Explorer, a few three-row SUVs we think are very good.

Our Telluride

We actually opted for one of the priciest versions of the Telluride you can get, the SX ($41,490) and added some options as well. All-wheel drive is an extra $2,000. We also added the SX Prestige Package for another $2,000. This package includes rain-sensing wipers, a head-up display, premium (looks like suede) roof liner, nicer leather than what's found in the EX package, and heated and ventilated second-row seats. With this package, we really wanted the rain-sensing wipers. Additional options include carpeted floor mats for $210 and lighted kick plates for an additional $310.

One thing we didn't really like about the ordering process is the fact that you have to get painted black wheels if you opt for the top-of-the-line SX model. Most buyers will like this, but we kind of wanted the more traditional silver-looking wheels. If you feel the same way, I bet the dealer will swap you in some circumstances.

The SX does offer a few more amenities versus the EX. The SX has second-row captain's chairs for a total seating capacity of seven. If you need 8-passenger seating, get the EX. The SX also has a 360-degree parking camera, metallic trim around the exterior windows, 12-way power seats (versus the 10-way on the EX), a 10-speaker Harman audio system, a dual sunroof and a few other upgraded details. The SX is the more luxurious SUV, but the EX is about $4,000 less expensive. The total for our Telluride SX AWD with options is $47,000. If that sounds like a lot, price any 3-row crossover SUV with leather seats and at least one sunroof. You'll get to $45,000 pretty quickly.

Initial Impressions

So far, we're very impressed with the 2020 Kia Telluride. It's an excellent 3-row, family-friendly SUV -- maybe even the best there is. The ride and handling are excellent with a smooth quiet ride that offers just enough firmness to be fun but with enough cush to feel comfortable on the highway. There's also plenty of power, and above all else, the thing looks incredible. One practical feature that's worth its weight in gold is the collapsing second-row seating, which makes getting in and out of the third row easy. If you have school-age kids who can, for the most part, let themselves in and out of the car, the second-row captain's chairs are the way to go.

The Telluride is an all-new car, so we're hoping it has all the excellent reliability we've seen in other Kia vehicles. We're looking forward to the ownership experience of the new Telluride and throwing everything at it that comes with everyday life. Find a Kia Telluride for sale


Ownership Update - 2/5/20

By Brian Moody

Kia Telluride rear 3/4

One of the things the Kia Telluride is great for is cargo carrying. If you’re shopping for a three-row SUV, you’re probably most concerned about carting around people -- and the Telluride is really good at doing just that. Both second- and third-row seats are spacious enough. But fold those seats down and you get 87 cubic feet of cargo space -- about as much as the new Ford Explorer. With just the second row folded down, you get nearly 50 cubic feet, and 21 cubic feet with both the second- and third-row seats in place. For reference, one cubic foot is about the same size as a small moving box or 1 ft tall, 1 ft deep and 1 ft wide. Most of us don’t think of our cargo in terms of cubic feet, but it’s still a helpful guide.

Kia Telluride cargo area with cargo

My family recently bought a used Pilates machine. It’s about 6 feet in length and that fit nicely inside the Telluride’s cargo area. And that’s kind of the point with cargo carrying capacity -- the Kia Telluride is good at carrying both cargo and people. Minivans do this better than most other vehicles but the Telluride does it with a lot more style. For me, the real selling point with the Telluride is its flexibility, look and comfortable interior. I have an open mind but this new Kia is the king of three-row SUVs. Find a Kia Telluride for sale

Kia Telluride cargo area

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2020 Kia Telluride Ownership - Autotrader
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