The Best SUV of the Year Might Surprise You with Its ‘Thoughtful Execution’

The Kia Telluride was just introduced in 2019, and it’s been garnering praise from reviewers and buyers alike. This three-row SUV has won accolades from MotorTrend, Consumer Reports, and others.

Now, the well-respected automotive resource Edmunds has weighed in. Recently, Edmunds named the 2020 Telluride the Best SUV of the Year. We’ll take a look at how the Telluride earned this distinction.

How Edmunds chooses its top-rated cars

The 2020 Kia Telluride on display at the Chicago Auto Show
The 2020 Kia Telluride | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

In order to identify its top-rated cars of the year, Edmunds’ experts rigorously test a number of new vehicles on the track and under real-world conditions. They review the empirical data taken from testing to determine which cars are the best.

Edmunds’ editors select the winners from a group of finalists among the tested cars in each vehicle class. The top-rated cars are measured using criteria such as performance, fuel economy, comfort, technology, and value. 

The Kia Telluride’s winning exterior features

A big plus, according to Edmunds, is that this eight-seat Kia SUV surpasses its corporate sibling, the Kia Sorento in cargo and rear passenger space. The Kia Telluride has 87 cubic feet of cargo space compared to the Sorento’s 73 cubic feet when the second and third-row seats are folded down. When the seats are upright, the Telluride has 21 cubic feet against the Sorento’s 11.3. And second-row passengers have three inches of extra legroom in Kia’s largest SUV compared to the Sorento.

Edmunds’ testers were happy with the performance of the Telluride‘s 3.8-liter V6 engine that paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque, and it proved robust enough to clock a 0 to 60 MPH run in 7.5 seconds. Yet, the experts also noted that the SUV has a smooth ride.

The SUV’s brakes proved their strength with a 60 to 0 MPH stopping distance of 120 feet, which was among the best in its class. Testers also were also satisfied with the steering and handling.

The experts also noted the plentiful standard advanced safety features on the vehicle. They include lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and a drowsiness detection system. Tester favorites among these features were the blind-spot monitor, the forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and the safe assist exit that warns if a vehicle is approaching your parked car and locks the doors to avoid opening them in traffic. 

Another advantage of the Telluride, the testers said, is that it offers excellent value for the price. The standard Kia 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty impressed the experts at Edmunds as well.

An interior designed to impress

Edmunds’ testers also liked the infotainment tech on board that includes an 8-inch touchscreen Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six USB ports, a 10-speaker audio system, and the family-oriented driver intercom system.

The Kia Telluride‘s interior is comfortable and spacious. The cabin, according to the testers, feels almost luxurious. And it’s easy for passengers to access all three rows.

The testers also enjoyed the SUV’s ride and felt that the seats were supportive enough for all-day trips. They also appreciated the climate control system, which heats and cools all three rows. The one thing that the folks at Edmunds were disappointed in was the lack of storage space for small items compared to the Kia Telluride’s rivals.

What Edmunds experts loved about the Kia Telluride

Edmunds gave the Kia Telluride an overall score of 8.4 out of 10. However, the adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts holds true where the testers were concerned. The Telluride has many superb features. What was important, though, was it was the way that Kia put them together. 

Testers described it as “thoughtfully executing” every aspect of the SUV. It handles well. There’s plenty of room for people and cargo. It has many features that they would want for this vehicle segment, and the upper trims have a high-end feel. Nearly everything about it seems to be carefully designed and coordinated – as much as a Land Rover or a Lincoln Navigator would be.

In the eyes of the Edmunds testers, the Kia Telluride successfully offers many of the amenities of a luxury SUV without the luxury price tag. Given that some of its rivals only aspire to luxury, it looks as if Edmunds did indeed find a winner in the Telluride.