How Safe Is the Kia Telluride?

Kia has moved to expand its SUV crossover offerings with the introduction of the much anticipated 2020 Kia Telluride. Since its release in Spring 2019, the crossover SUV has earned excellent reviews and was rated highly by Consumer Reports where it fell behind only the Subaru Ascent in reliability for vehicles in its class.

The 2020 Telluride offers a quality product at a lower price point than other mid-size crossovers, with many standard safety features that drivers would pay extra for in competitor vehicles. 

Safety Ratings

The 2020 Kia Telluride made an excellent showing in IIHS and NHTSA crash testing, even earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2020. With Good ratings for front, side, and rollover collision tests and quality standard safety features, the only dark spot on an otherwise bright safety assessment was the headlights. The LED lights on the SX trim garnered an Acceptable rating, but the standard halogen lamps on the LX, S, and ES trims were rated Poor due to limited visibility on curves in all four tests. 

In road testing, Consumer Reports indicated that the Kia’s routine and emergency handling left something to be desired, with 3/5 and 4/5 points respectively, and the IIHS rated the child seat anchors as Acceptable for ease of use. Overall, the IIHS awarded a notable safety score of 97/100, making the 2020 Kia Telluride one of the safest rated vehicles on the market. 

Standard Safety Features

One of the great things about the 2020 Telluride is its advanced safety features, which are available on all trims. In addition to the usual daytime running lights and anti-lock brakes, the crossover comes standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

Blind spot, rear cross-traffic, and pedestrian detection are included, as well as lane keep assist, rear-view camera, traction control, and stability control. Unlike the competing crossovers, it is not necessary to pay extra to take advantage of these features. With an already low price in its class, the enhanced safety features enhance an already impressive vehicle. 

Recalls and Consumer Complaints

In spite of its excellent safety ratings, there may be some clouds on the horizon for the Telluride. Recent consumer complaints have been lodged with the NHTSA regarding the windshield. Consumers indicate that when struck by small rocks or gravel, the windshield chips easily and sometimes cracks entirely. The cost of repair has been reported to be anywhere from $900 to $1200. It is no surprise that there have also been complaints about visibility with the poorly rated halogen headlights; however, the vast majority of complaints center around the windshield. 

An additional safety concern was brought to light after an August 2019 recall of seat belt assemblies, as they may not properly secure a child seat. Kia has offered to replace these with functioning assemblies, and although this is a real concern, there do not appear to be any complaints or injuries reported due to this issue, to date. 

Overall Safety and Reliability

With superior safety ratings, impressive crash test results, and top of the line safety features, the 2020 Kia Telluride is a bargain in the standard crossover class. As with any new model, there are some bugs that Kia will need to work out, especially in the electrical system; however, the vehicle as a whole stands up well compared to other vehicles in its class, and has displayed very good safety and reliability for a new vehicle. The headlights, windshield, and seat belt assembly recall put a damper on an otherwise enthusiastic safety review, but the issues are minor when compared with other new vehicles.