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When Kia first released the Telluride in 2019, it began making headlines. Its spacious interior, capabilities, advanced safety features, and impressive powertrain made over 300,000 proud car owners. After numerous upgrades, the midsized SUV is turning heads more than ever. But will that be the same a year down the line? What are the worst parts of owning a Kia Telluride a year later? 

Fuel consumption

A silver Kia Telluride parked indoors.
Kia Telluride | Frederic J. Brown via Getty Images

The Kia Telluride has an impressive powertrain. No wonder it was MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year in 2020. The base model has a 3.8-liter V6 engine that provides ample power. Combine this power with the all-wheel drive feature, and you can drive this SUV anywhere. Unfortunately, this engine is not known for its fuel efficiency. 

It has an EPA estimate of 21 mpg combined, 19 mpg in the city, and 21 on the highway. That means you’ll use almost five gallons for every 100 miles. 

If you regularly drive over uneven terrains, such as off-road or mountainous areas, you should set aside a significant chunk of your budget for the pump. But, hey, that’s the price to pay for reliability. 

The transmission

It’s more surprising to experience transmission slippage when changing gears to a less-than-a-year-old Telluride, a problem you’d expect if it has at least 150K miles or more. When the transmission slips, the RPMs rev up. You may also notice the dashboard indicating increasing RPMs, yet there’s little acceleration at low speeds. 

Sometimes, the transmission may delay engaging certain gears, causing unnecessary revving and annoying downshifts. 

Transmission slips significantly increase the crash risk since you cannot maintain the required speed or correct gear to match the car’s speed level. 

The Interior 

The interior shouldn’t be among the worst parts of owning a Kia Telluride. However, most materials are thin, feel cheap, and might degrade quickly in one year. Sure, ultra-soft seating on this car feels comfortable, but something more durable such as suede leather or Alcantara, would be better. Some nice touches might make you think twice about owning this car. 

Overall, the interior feels like it was designed for a driver who likes to put their feet up while watching movies rather than a driver. While there’s no problem with the styling of the interior, is it much to ask for the same level of detail to the interior materials and finishes throughout the car? 

Chipped windshield 

You are driving down the highway, minding your business, and enjoying the terrain, and suddenly, your windshield cracks or chips, just like that, for no reason! Sometimes, the windshield might be hit by tiny obstacles and crack. 

Surprisingly, chipped windshields are among the top complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA received over 50 complaints between mid-July 2021 and October 2022 concerning Kia Telluride windshields cracking.

Now, imagine the conduction of your windscreen after driving your car for the entire year!

Electrical systems 


Real-World Comparison: Hyundai Palisade vs. Kia Telluride

Owning a Kia Telluride is fun, but not so much when it’s riddled with electrical issues!

The issues begin with the infotainment display going blank, hiding vital information, such as the digital speedometer, odometer, and gear selection.  

The car’s instrument cluster display screen might go blank or fail to show vital information, such as the odometer. Every car owner knows this information is critical; without it, there’s a higher risk of crashing. One possible reason for this issue is the manufacturer used excess adhesive while assembling the motherboard. 

Due to the numerous complaints to the NHTSA about electrical system malfunctions, Kia had to recall several thousand Telluride models to fix the glitch (NHTSA Campaign Number 21V577000).