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Kelley Blue Book announced its ‘Best Buy’ award winners of 2021 earlier this week, and, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the 2021 Kia Telluride was tapped as the ‘Best Three-Row Midsize SUV.’ This marks the second year in a row that the Kia Telluride was able to secure the title. But what is it that has Kelley Blue Book so enamored with the Kia Telluride?

2021 Kia Telluride driving down an empty road
2021 Kia Telluride | Kia

The 2021 Kia Telluride boasts plenty of power under the hood

Driven by a 3.8-liter V6 engine that churns out 291-hp and 262 pound-feet of torque, the 2021 Kia Telluride comes standard with front-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available. According to Kelley Blue Book, its eight-speed automatic transmission provides “smooth, seamless gear changes” too. 

Complementing the 2021 Kia Telluride’s driving experience are several drive modes, including Eco, Comfort, and Sport, along with a Snow mode on all-wheel drive versions of the Telluride. Kelley Blue Book Reports that the Sport setting “does a great job in adjusting throttle response, shift points, and other parameters to your driving style.”

It comes standard with plenty of active safety features too

The 2021 Kia Telluride wasn’t chosen by Kelley Blue Book as the ‘Best Three-Row Midsize SUV’ simply because it’s enjoyable to drive. This year’s model also comes standard with a long list of active safety features, which Kelley Blue Book reports is a win for car shoppers. Unlike other three-row SUVs, the Telluride is standard with active safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. 

All of those safety features have earned the 2021 Kia Telluride some pretty high ratings too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this year’s Telluride scored a five out of five overall safety rating. 

The 2021 Kia Telluride’s interior boasts plenty of upscale features

Perhaps the most striking feature the Kia Telluride has to offer is its lavishly appointed interior, reports Kelley Blue Book. And while the 2021 Kia Telluride does compete in a more value-oriented segment, Kelley Blue Book says that its “cabin looks like it would be equally at home in a vehicle wearing a luxury badge.”

But what is it about the Telluride’s interior that has Kelley Blue Book so convinced it could pass for a luxury SUV? First off, it boasts plenty of soft-touch materials, brightwork, and wood accents. And according to Kelley Blue Book, its front bucket seats are plenty supportive and comfortable as well. The second-row seats are comfortable too, and although the third-row can be pretty snug in terms of legroom, Kelley Blue Book says that adults can ride in relative comfort.

The 2021 Kia Telluride also comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen display featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Paired with a six-speaker sound system, Kelley Blue Book says that the Telluride’s infotainment system boasts “easy-to-use redundant controls and buttons.”

Kelley Blue Book says the Telluride makes for a great value proposition

What really sealed the deal for Kelley Blue Book was the price of the 2021 Kia Telluride. It boasts a base price of $31,990, which Kelley Blue Book says is “below the average transaction price of all new vehicles.” That sentiment remains true even if you opt for a higher trim level. 

Kelley Blue Book reports that a top of the line Kia Telluride will run you about $48,000, but will get you luxury features like a 10.25-inch touchscreen, a premium Harman Kardon audio system, Nappa leather seating, and a full-color head-up display. Take into account the Telluride’s best-in-class 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program, and it’s no wonder Kelley Blue Book has tapped the Kia Telluride as the ‘Best Three-Row Midsize SUV’ for two years running.


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