Saturday, May 8, 2021

JeffCars.com’s Review: 2020 Kia Telluride SX

2020 Kia Telluride (photo credit: JeffCars.com)

Highlight: The Telluride has a built-in camera in the instrument gauge aiding the driver, when making both left and right turns. It serves as an additional means to avoid blind spots and clipping curbs.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $46,860 (Base Model: $32,735)

Seating Capacity: 7 or 8

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; daytime running lights; a rearview camera; an electronic stability control system; a hillstart assist control system; a vehicle stability system; a trailer stability assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a driver attention warning system; a forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection; a forward collision warning system; a lane departure warning system; a lane follow assist system; a lane keep assist system; a parking distance warning reverse system; a rear cross traffic collision avoidance system; and a radar activated stop-and-go cruise control system

Standard Equipment (Base LX Model): 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; manual adjustable front seats; privacy rear windows and tailgate glass; a manual operated tit/telescopic steering wheel; dual sunvisors, sliding with vanity mirrors; an 8-inch infotainment screen; three rows of seating; second row remote folding seat with center armrest; second row split folding bench; a leather wrapped steering wheel; front and third-row seatback hooks; a manual operated a/c; rear ventilation controls; multiple USB charge ports; a keyless entry system; a push button ignition starter system; a variety of driving modes; and a body colored rear spoiler

Standard Equipment (SX Model): 20-inch wheels; power folding outside mirrors; reverse tilt down power outside mirrors; front rain sensing windshield wipers; twin exhaust tips; dual sunroof with front tilt/slide function; deluxe stainless steel door scuff plates; a 10-inch infotainment screen; auto dimming rearview mirror; floor console synthetic leather –wrapped side handles; satin chrome interior door handles; deluxe stainless steel pedals; leather seat trim; memory adjustable power front driver’s seat; power front seats; ventilated front seats with three settings; second row captain seats; a leather wrapped shift knob; a dual zone a/c system; a rear automatic temperature control system; a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound audio system; 6 USB charging ports; a hands-free power liftgate with programmable option; a blind spot monitor system; a high beam assist system; a co-pilot assist steering system at highway speeds; a parking distance forward system; a 360-degree camera; and a heads up display system

Options: Nappa leather seats; a premium cloth headliner; heated/ventilated second-row seats; carpet floor mats; and carpeted cargo mats with seatback protection                                                                                                                          `

Other Trims:

FE

LXS

S

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/ SiriusXM  

AppleCar Play/Android: Yes

USB Outlets: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.8-liter, 6-cylinder/291-hp

Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 20-city/ 20-hwy

What’s New: The Telluride is the brand’s first fullsize, three-row SUV/crossover, with the capacity to carry eight occupants. The Koreans have joined an all-new booming segment.

2020 Kia Telluride (photo credit: JeffCars.com)

Why: What’s not to like about Kia’s first three-row true SUV/crossover? The vehicle is available in a front-wheel drive or an-all wheel drive configuration. The roomy and easy-to-navigate Telluride is available in a variety trim levels, ranging from the base EX model to the premium SX model.

Like all Kias, the interior design is well thought out and user friendly. Depending on the trim, the infotainment screen is capable of stretching out to an expansive 10 inches. The oversized screen houses the audio, navigation system and camera. Unlike a number of automakers, the infotainment system is intuitive an easy-to-use. It does not require several in-depth training sessions, as is the case with a number of premium automakers.

The Telluride also offers seating for seven or eight occupants, depending on if one opts for the bench or bucket second-row seats. Again, based upon the trim, both the front and second-row seats can be outfitted with ventilated or heated seats. The third-row seats also reclines.

Kia’s Telluride is also available with ceiling-mounted second-row climate control system, a 630-watt, 10-speaker audio system, up to six USB charging ports, Apple and Android compatibility, a wireless smartphone charging system and a host of advance driving safety features.

One of the features that stood out for us first appeared on the Honda Accord a few years ago, a right changing lane camera that was built into the rear camera. However, unlike the Honda, the Telluride is available with both a right and left turn signal camera that is built right into the instrument gauge. This aids the driver in pulling over on vehicles in its blind spot, as well as to aid in the avoidance of clipping curbs.

Another feature that was available on the eight-seater SUV is a Highway Driving system, which adjusts the Telluride cruising speed to match the vehicles detected ahead, as well as changing speed limits.

The vehicle also was outfitted with a number of driving assist systems when combined, operated like a co-pilot system, which semi steers the vehicle, while providing an almost stress-free driving experience.

Lastly, while the vehicle is only available in one powertrain, an optional 5,000-pound towing capacity is available for the higher end trims.

Overall the all-new Telluride is a great riding vehicle that commands the road. The suspension system gives the easy-to-maneuver SUV more of a car-like ride, as opposed to a truck-like ride we’ve found on some of its popular competitors.

But: The Telluride is significantly underpriced. That’s the statement that continued to echo from everyone, who had an opportunity to experience.

While we know it seems hypocritical to complain about the vehicle being such a bargain buy, we’re wondering how Kia is making money off of this vehicle. Yes, we can’t imagine the well-equipped SX we reviewed will remain under $50,000, as the vehicle approach a full model year run. With this pricing, Kia has confirmed what many of us have been thinking. Many of the automakers are price gouging consumers who are in the market for a SUV, truck or crossover these days.

We also would have preferred if Kia would have been able to incorporate the bold design grille that was on the concept vehicle into the actual production vehicle. The signature Kia grille on the production model seems out of the step with the overall design theme of the vehicle.

Moreover, unlike some of its competitors, which are available with a V8, the Telluride is only available with a 6-cylinder engine. The vehicle also lacks a power operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel. With the EX and SX trims being geared toward luxury buyers, this feature should be available.

And, while the third-row seat is easy to access, the seating isn’t as comfortable, as both the front and second-row seats.

Lastly, in case one needs adding towing power, one must step up to the higher level EX and SX trims.

2020 Kia Telluride (photo credit: JeffCars.com)

Verdict: After decades of allowing GM, Ford, Toyota, Nissan and Honda dominate the three-row large SUV/crossover segment, Kia has finally gotten into the game, with its Land Rover-ish-like design. While the all-new Telluride is not quite in the league of the land yacht of SUVs like the Chevy Suburban, its not quite as small as  such crossovers as the Toyota Highlander. The all-new Telluride seems to be playing in a tweener segment that straddles the line. In our opinion, it’s the perfect alternative to the oversized SUVs and soccer mom-like crossovers.

To be technical, some might not define this as a SUV because its not based-off of a truck frame. So, the vehicle straddles the line between being a SUV and a crossover. Most consumers won’t mind how its classified, as long as the vehicle has both the seating capacity and towing capacity which in most instances outmatches most of today’s crossovers.

Overall the Telluride seems to be a well-built, brawny vehicle that is priced well below the competition. In order to attract buyers, who have never considered having a capable three-row SUV/crossover parked in their driveway, with a Kia badge, the executives strategically priced the vehicle. In fact, pricing for the new Telluride will cause many who cross-shop compact crossovers, midsize crossovers and premium crossovers to think twice, before steering clear of this Kia.

While the Koreans are late to the party in joining the three-row fray, the all-new Telluride proves that it was definitely worth the wait. Expect knockoffs of this all new platform to arrive over the next 24 months from its siblings at both Hyundai and Genesis.

Competition: Chevy Tahoe; Chevy Traverse; Ford Explorer; Ford Expedition; GMC Yukon; Honda Pilot; Nissan Pathfinder; Nissan Armada; Subaru Ascent; and Volkswagen Atlas

About The Writer: Jeff Fortson is the host of SiriusXM’s only multicultural automotive show, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com. The weekly show, which includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers, can be heard on HURVoices channel 141, Fridays at 12 PM ET. For additional air times, a new-vehicle pricing guide, used car tips, recall updates and a car-payment calculator, cruise over to JeffCars.com.

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