Kia dives into the full-sized SUV/Crossover category in a big way with the 2020 Telluride. The great thing about the Telluride is it offers large SUV advantages without a hulking footprint. Plenty of big crossover features in a manageable vehicle.
A major advantage to driving the Kia Telluride is it doesn’t drive like a large three-row SUV. Though passengers experience an open, un-crowded cabin, the Telluride drives as if it is much smaller and agile vehicle. That isn’t to say the Telluride is going to be the most satisfying vehicle out on back-country roads. Though it will surprise most drivers.
The exterior design in its basic form is not revolutionary. It is somewhat boxy — even Kia media materials agree — with a large green house that offers excellent visibility from all seating positions. The front end is blunt, with an enhanced Kia-image grille. The Telluride’s uniqueness is in the details, like the great lighting both in the front and rear of the vehicle.
Lift the Telluride hood and you find a very capable 3.8-liter, V-6 gasoline engine that moves the vehicle with 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. These specifications tell you the Telluride can handle heavy loads with ease while offering up a reasonably perky drive. Telluride can tow up to 5,000 pounds when equipped with the optional tow package. The power reaches the road via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The optional all-wheel drive helps stability, yet we would have liked to have seen more of a rear wheel bias than the maximum 65 front and 35 rear that engineers provided.
Granted, the Kia Telluride is not meant to be a rugged rock-crawling, off-roader. However, with 8 inches of ground clearance, the Telluride will keep you going on many of those forest service roads that other crossovers only wish they could traverse.
Another advancement that will certainly attract growing families is the expansiveness found in the passenger compartment. The ability to seat up to eight is great but, unlike some other vehicles proclaiming that fact, the Telluride offers up more room to stretch out. The interior is roomy, giving passengers the feeling of not being confined or cramped. Optional second row captain chairs open the interior space even more with one less passenger.
Kia offers the 2020 Telluride in four models or trim levels — LX is the base with an increasing volume of features as you move up through the S, EX and SX levels. Kia has equipped the base LX model with plenty of features so buyers will feel they are not settling for the basics. Standard features include things like 18-inch wheels and tires, automatic headlights, rear parking sensors and even adaptable driving modes. As nearly all vehicles are equipped, the Telluride also receives adaptive cruise control feature. I become universally annoyed with the fact manufacturers will not allow the driver to select a normal cruise mode or adaptable. I have interviewed many vehicle engineers who have told me it would be an easy addition, but they get vetoed every time they discuss the prospect.
The LX model also receives a nice package of safety equipment, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and even drowsy driver warning.
How the 2020 Kia Telluride rides and drives is at the top of our list of important factors. The suspension system is calibrated toward a stiffer ride, yet it isn’t disturbing. On rough roads, passengers will feel more of the road surface, yet it isn’t intrusive. In contrast, the suspension system aids in providing better handling on twisting two-lane roads.
The 2020 Kia Telluride provides for nearly all the needs of a family, great abilities and accommodations along with one of the best warranties available, plus it is assembled in West Point, Georgia, right here in the USA.
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