The 2021 Kia Telluride Finally Landed No. 2 on a List

Since its debut in 2019, the Kia Telluride has been raking in the praise. Though it ranks number one on almost every list it appears on, the 2021 Telluride finally slipped to second place in the U.S. News roundup “14 Best Passenger SUVs of 2021.” So what exactly is so great about the Telluride, and which vehicle finally beat it?

A rare second-place ranking for the Kia Telluride

Reviewers have been raving about the Kia Telluride for years, and for good reason. It is an excellent SUV, combining value, comfort, and an impressive number of standard features. But on this U.S. News list, the Telluride’s amazing qualities weren’t enough to land it the number one spot.

Instead, that honor went to the Lincoln Navigator, earning an overall score of 8.7/10 from U.S. News. With a price starting at approximately $76,000 and rapidly spiking into the six-digit range, the Navigator is one of the pricier options. However, reviewers state that in terms of “interior quality, space, and power,” this luxurious SUV can’t be beaten.

Even so, the Kia Telluride ranks a close second. At 8.6/10, its overall score is a tad lower than the Navigator’s score. Though the Telluride couldn’t quite match the Navigator’s luxury, U.S. News still has plenty of love for Kia’s midsize SUV.

Why the Kia Telluride ranks so highly

With a starting price of approximately $31,990, the Kia Telluride already has one major benefit: It is incredibly affordable, particularly when compared to the Lincoln Navigator. The Telluride also won the U.S. News 2021 Best 3-Row SUV for Families award and sits comfortably at number one in U.S. News‘ midsize SUV rankings.

Where the Telluride excels is its interior. U.S. News says this SUV “optimizes interior space,” which is something that anyone purchasing an SUV will appreciate. The Telluride seats eight, and though the third row is slightly cramped, the first two rows are spacious enough to be comfortable even for adults.

The Kia Telluride’s cabin is also decked out in standard features, including synthetic leather upholstery, smartphone compatibility, and an 8.0-inch display. The infotainment system includes physical controls for climate and audio, making it easier to operate without taking your eyes off the road.  Overall, U.S. News praises the interior’s comfort and appearance, stating it “verges on luxurious” even in the base model. 

What else you can expect from this SUV

The 2021 Kia Telluride features a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. It gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. 

U.S. News calls the Telluride “comfy and relaxing” to drive, with an engine that makes this SUV feel surprisingly spry despite its roomy interior. The Telluride offers a competitive amount of cargo space: 21 cubic feet behind the third row, 46 cubic feet with the third row folded down, and 87 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. Though some competitors offer slightly more space, the Telluride is above average for the class.

This SUV is also highly reliable and boasts an expansive range of standard safety features. They include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Overall, it isn’t hard to see why the Kia Telluride continues finding itself at the top of reviewers’ lists. Though it slipped to second place this time, it held its own against a much more expensive option — and it is still likely to win the hearts of anyone looking for that magical combination of quality and value.

RELATED: Even the 2020 Kia Telluride Shock Absorbers Are Noteworthy