The just-released Kia Telluride is a new entry in the bustling family SUV market that includes the well-established Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Ford Explorer. The 8-seat Telluride is a step up in roominess from Kia’s other midsize SUV, the Sorento, which is a seven-seater with a tight third row. And, at a starting price just under $32,500, the pricing of Kia’s new family SUV is in line with other rivals in the market segment.
Telluride’s exterior styling is powerful and burly with strong upright lines front and back. It stands out among the field of midsize SUVs that more or less look the same, as Doug DeMuro points out in his YouTube review. A 3.8-liter V6 engine comes standard that makes 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, which puts it on par with its competitors.
But can it match the likes of the Highlander or the Pilot for going the distance on family vacations? Or for chauffeuring the kids from home to school to after-school activities and then home again? Here’s the countdown for seven features DeMuro highlights proving that the Telluride makes the grade as a great family SUV.
7. Easy Access for the 3rd Row
Getting in and out of the third row of a large SUV sometimes can be challenging, especially for adults. The Telluride makes the path to the third-row seats especially easy with the push of a button, which slides the 2nd-row seat forward while folding it. Although Kia has taken a page from the Honda Pilot’s playbook on this feature, it’s a thoughtful design feature that makes the third row seem more like an integral part of the vehicle and less like an afterthought.
Other amenities that make the third row more user-friendly are three cup holders and three USB ports for charging devices. DeMuro notes that the Telluride’s third row is only large enough for two adults on either side with a child in the middle instead of three adults. But by offering these features, Kia acknowledges that families do use the rear seat and want to get the most from it.
6. Driver Talk: Connecting with the Third Row
In the Telluride, the kids in the third row can no longer pretend that they can’t hear Mom or Dad at the wheel, thanks to the Driver Talk feature. This feature allows the driver to talk to second and third-row passengers. Much like the Pilot’s Cabin Talk feature, Driver Talk is activated through the 10.25″ infotainment touchscreen and the driver’s voice is amplified through speakers to better communicate with passengers behind the front seat.
5. A Roomy Second Row
The second row of the Telluride has plenty of headroom, shoulder room, and leg room for adults and bigger kids. Passengers can move the seats into different positions, even a limited reclining position. The built-in sunshades are another feature that enhances second-row passenger comfort. They can easily be slid up and down from the door panel. Only the Telluride has this feature.
4. Driver Attention Warning
A smart feature in the Telluride is the Driver Attention Warning system that monitors a driver’s fatigue or inattention. When it senses driver fatigue or attention, it sends visual and audio alerts to prompt the driver to take a break. The only drawback with this feature is that its display on the gauge cluster screen should be brighter and easier to see, as DeMuro rightly observes in his YouTube review.
3. Rear Seat Reminder
When a child or pet is in back, the rear seat reminder will sound the horn if the driver shuts off the engine, locks the door and tries to walk away. This feature keeps passengers in the back seats safe because no one is left behind.
2. Quiet Mode
If the kids need some downtime, the driver can opt for the Quiet Mode feature. It mutes all speakers in the back and keeps the front speakers on at a lower level. Parents can enjoy music in the Telluride’s comfortable front seat, while the kids are snoozing in back.
1. An Impressive Assortment of Active Safety Features
In addition to the Driver Attention Warning system, the Telluride has several safety features that protect its occupants while traveling. The blind spot monitoring feature also includes automatic evasive steering and braking if the SUV is about to merge with the vehicle in its blind spot. Other features are lane keep assist, front collision alert, and automatic front braking. Another feature, rear cross-traffic alert, warns the driver when backing up of any cars moving behind the vehicle.
Putting the Other Family SUVs on Notice
For its price, the Kia Telluride provides good value and a near-luxury feel. With all of its safety features and family-friendly details, it is sure to be a contender in the family SUV market segment. And its bold, boxy styling will make it stand out in the sea of generic-looking SUVs when parents pick up the kids from school, too.
All images provided by the manufacturer unless otherwise noted.