Kia Is the Only Automaker to Make This 2020 Safety List Twice

Kia offers a little something for everyone. Whether it’s an affordable hatchback, an efficient hybrid, a luxury sedan, or a sporty crossover, Kia competes well against even long-established domestic brands. Kia not only rivals its competitors with selection, style, and quality but it garners constant and consistent praise from top auto reviewers. Over the past few years, Kia vehicles have earned multiple accolades and five-star ratings. In particular, Kia has earned itself quite a reputation for not only building safe vehicles but offering top tier safety features as a standard.

Both Kia SUVs rated 2020 top safety pick

Carfax lists both the 2020 Kia Sorento and 2021 Kia Telluride as two of the safest midsize SUVs of 2020. The Sorento was rated the 2020 Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a 5/5 rating. However, the base model doesn’t come standard with any advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). The Sorento LX includes rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. For additional ADAS features, you will have to upgrade trim packages.

Noteworthy ADAS features include driver attention monitor, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and automatic emergency braking.

While the 2021 Telluride only received four stars from the IIHS in the frontal crash test, it still was rated the 2020 Top Safety Pick. Furthermore, the NHTSA gave it a rating of 5/5. Its “corporate cousin,” the 2021 Hyundai Palisade, earned five stars in the frontal crash test. This may explain why it came in sixth place on the list and the Telluride placed seventh. The thing is, the Telluride features standard safety features that the Palisade doesn’t—such as rear traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Both of those features cost extra with the Palisade.

The Telluride also offers all other key ADAS features which are available on all trims.

What the 2021 Kia Telluride offers

2021 Telluride Nightfall Edition Black driving by an office building
2021 Telluride Nightfall Edition | Kia

For the 2021 model year, Kia went somewhat light on changes. The most significant update that buyers will love is the new Nightfall appearance package. It’s only available with the two top trim levels and includes various stylish accents, 20-inch wheels, and a blacked-out grille. Kia upgraded the Telluride’s previously four-pin connection to a seven-pin trailer harness. An “On” button has been added to the key fob for an optional remote-start system. Stylish LED headlights have been added to the Premium package, as well as Sangria and Black Copper paint options for select models.

The Telluride is powered by a 291 hp 3.8-liter V6 engine that delivers 262 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and FWD are standard. AWD comes as an available upgrade for all trim levels. Reviewers touted the engine’s smooth yet powerful performance, making it great for both cruising the town and passing on the highway. The FWD model gets an estimated EPA of 20 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Despite the AWD models suffering a slight drop in fuel economy, it’s still fairly decent for a midsize SUV.

What the 2020 Kia Sorento has to offer

2020 Kia Sorento parked
2020 Kia Sorento | Kia

How Does the Kia Telluride Hold Up Against a Real Luxury Brand?

The 2020 Kia Sorento underwent a few modest styling updates as well, which give it a more sporty yet rugged appearance. The EX trim offers some standard features that other midsize SUVs don’t, such as an excellent factory navigation system. Additionally, this trim offers a front parking sensor, a surround-view camera, a 14-way powered driver’s seat with memory, and a powered front passenger’s seat. The three lower trim levels don’t offer these standard features.

What drivers of the Sorento like is its convenient size, with the length of a standard two-row midsize SUV. However, it’s a third-row SUV capable of seating seven passengers. Adding to the interior’s airiness, the 2020 Sorento has expansive windows and a dual-panel panoramic sunroof as an extra feature. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard with nifty apps like Pandora, iHeart Radio, SoundHound, and Yelp preloaded.