Crossover & Midsize

How Big Is the Kia Telluride? Big Enough to Sink a Cargo Ship

Kia makes one of the best luxury SUVs on the market today. The spacious Telluride boasts a high-end cabin that keeps the driver and passengers comfortable no matter where the road takes them.

The affordable SUV makes driving a pleasure and is the perfect choice for hauling the family. With plenty of legroom and cavernous cargo space, the Telluride could even be considered too big.

One particular sea captain might tend to agree. That’s because a load of Kia Tellurides capsized his cargo ship off the coast of Brunswick, Georgia.

How big is the Kia Telluride?

The eight-passenger Kia Telluride doesn’t compromise space, even in the rear seating, which offers plenty of room for adult occupants. Behind the back row, 21 cubic feet of cargo space awaits. With the rear seating lowered, there’s an astonishing 87 cubic feet of available space.

Car and Driver‘s reviewers folded the back seats down to see how much luggage could fit in the cargo area. They somehow stuffed 35 carry-on bags, proving there’s plenty of space for everyone’s personal belongings.

Motor Trend‘s 2020 SUV of the Year offers a powerful 3.8-liter V6 engine, outputting 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The three-row SUV outperforms the competition with a roomy upscale interior and class-leading performance.

The Telluride struggles with agility

RELATED: Surprise, Surprise – the 2021 Kia Telluride Lands on Top of Another List

The 2021 Telluride, manufactured in Georgia, is the first Kia made in America specifically for the U.S. market. It offers 14 cubic feet more cargo space than the Kia Sorento and is also a few inches longer. The award-winning Telluride is also the largest automobile in Kia’s extensive product line.

Consumer Reports gave the Kia Telluride an overall score of 92 out of 100. The only noticeable problem was agility. Reviewers noted that handling “is not the Telluride’s strong suit. There’s noticeable body lean when taking corners.”

Though not a factor when it comes to safety, the Telluride’s size can be cumbersome for drivers when performing everyday tasks such as parking, merging, and cornering.

It’s big enough to sink a ship

The Golden Ray was a 656-foot cargo ship that capsized off the coast of Georgia in September 2019. With more than 4,000 vehicles aboard, the vessel met its fate after dropping off 285 Hyundai Accent and Kia Forte subcompact cars and picking up 316 Kia Telluride SUVs.

A Telluride weighs about 1,200 pounds more than a Hyundai or Kia subcompact. That was a substantial weight difference for the ship to handle. Court documents show there was a reservation for 40 Tellurides on deck 12 at the Georgia port. Sammy Maataki of Norton Lilly, who was in charge of creating the loading plan, told CNN that “there was eventually less cargo loaded onto deck 12 and more vehicles loaded on deck five out of Brunswick.” Asked why that happened, he replied, “They ran out of space, so they put the remaining balance on five.”

First Coast News reported that the Golden Ray “likely had too much cargo and not enough counterweight in the hull to keep it upright … When the ship made the sharp turn out to sea in the St. Simons Sound, it rolled over due to the instability.”

The brand-new Telluride SUVs, which are taller and considerably heavier than the subcompact cars, were destroyed in the disaster. According to Car and Driver, a pre-load plan diagram showed most vehicles aboard the cargo ship were “a mix of factory-fresh Ram 1500, 2500, and 5500 series trucks, Chevrolet Blazers and Equinoxes, and Mercedes SUVs bound for Saudi Arabia.” 

The U.S. Coast Guard determined the vessel was carrying more than 1,000 metric tons of cargo than it had anticipated. Granted, it wasn’t the Tellurides alone that caused the ship to capsize, but they played a role in the accident. Efforts are underway to remove the 36,000-metric-ton vessel from St. Simons Sound near Brunswick, Georgia.