Skip to main content

The 2020 Kia Telluride is a brand new model that was just released for its very first sales year. It’s been named MotorTrend’s 2020 SUV of the Year and added to Car and Driver’s 10 Best List. This solid SUV also received an excellent score of 92 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. However, Consumer Reports did say it doesn’t have a lot of “wow factor.” Is this “wow factor” important and should you let it stop you from buying a Telluride?

The 2020 Kia Telluride’s exterior

The Telluride is based on the Kia Sorrento but is its larger brother. It’s also now the biggest vehicle made by Kia. Car and Driver call it “grander” than the Sorrento. Edmunds suggests that Kia was aiming for a “baby Land Rover” style for the Telluride.

While Consumer Reports wasn’t impressed by the appearance, others have been more positive. CNET described the Telluride as a “clean, modern SUV with strong, purposeful lines.”

Car and Driver said it is “bolder, brasher, and more American-looking” than any other Kia vehicles. The Telluride has large windows, which improve visibility for drivers and make the SUV easy to park for a larger vehicle.

The Telluride’s powertrain and driving experience

The 2020 Telluride has a 3.8-liter V-6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine generates 291 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. Consumer Reports gave a positive report of the power of the engine and smoothness of the transmission, saying it provides a “refined driving experience.”

While not sporty to drive, the Telluride has a smooth and quiet ride. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is an option for all four trim levels. The SUV gets 21 MPG overall, which is respectable.

The Telluride’s interior

The Kia Telluride provides seating for seven or eight people plus “user-friendly controls, thoughtful features, and vast cargo room,” according to Consumer Reports. The second-row seats have a button that easily moves them out of the way to provide access to the third-row seats. Those seats are lower and best for kids.

There are soft-touch surfaces incorporated into the interior design, and the infotainment system has a large screen and is easy to use. It is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

In addition, there is a Quiet Mode on the EX and SX trims, which lets the driver turn off the speakers in the back in case that’s preferred for children asleep. Also available is a driver intercom system.

Safety ratings

The 2020 Kia Telluride has been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with strong marks across the board except for its headlights. The NHTSA also rated it highly, giving five out of five stars.

Consumer Reports found that the Telluride navigated their avoidance-maneuver test, where the vehicle swerves to avoid hitting something, at the relatively high speed of 53.5 MPH.

The Telluride has a number of standard safety and driver-assistance features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind spot warning.

It also includes a rear-seat alert to prevent forgetting children or pets plus the safe exit assist feature that prevents the doors from opening if a car is approaching from behind. The highest trim, the SX, has available front parking sensors.

The Kia Telluride’s reliability

Since the Telluride hasn’t been around that long, it doesn’t have a lot of reliability data. Consumer Reports predicts that its reliability rating will be four out of five. The website has only one submitted issue so far, but some people have logged problems on the Kia Telluride Forum. Time will tell whether these owners’ issues are just initial growing pains.

With all the positive reviews, buyers considering the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, or Subaru Ascent should be sure to also consider the Kia Telluride. While it might not have a distinct “wow factor”, when everything is added up this is an incredible car for the price.