The Kia Telluride Fails to Live up to Its Name

The Kia Telluride has one bold off-roading name that comes from Telluride, Colorado. However, the Kia Telluride isn’t exactly built for off-roading. For true adventuring, you may need another option like the Toyota 4Runner instead. 

The Kia Telluride isn’t for off-roading

Telluride, Colorado, is a beautiful mountain town that now has multiple safe ways to get there. However, back in the day, around 1878, when the town was founded, it was a treacherous ride to get there. 

2020 Kia Telluride
2020 Kia Telluride | Kia

If people knew you were heading there, they would say, “To-Hell-You-Ride,” because the way was dangerous. It’s 198 miles away from Denver, with mountains, rivers, and freezing temperatures to face along the way. 

We aren’t sure if the 2020 Kia Telluride would have been able to make it there on the original trails, but it can now drive on the paved routes. With the lack of its off-roading equipment and features, it’s better on the pavement. 

Is the Kia Telluride good off-road? 

The Kia Telluride is perfectly capable of handling snow and light off-roading challenges. However, it’s not built for climbing over rocks and forging through the water as extreme off-roaders want. 

2020 Kia Telluride driving down the road
2020 Kia Telluride | Kia

Also, we aren’t calling the new Kia Telluride a bad SUV at all. The 2020 Kia Telluride has proven itself as an excellent family SUV. But if you want to do some serious adventuring, the Toyota 4Runner is a better equipped 3-row SUV to do so. 

According to GearPatrol, the Kia Telluride is expected to be a little more adventurous than it is. Also, the Kia Telluride X-Line off-roading trim was in the works, but there haven’t been any recent updates about it. 

Midsize SUVs - Kia Telluride
Kia Telluride seen at the New York International Auto Show | Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The X-Line trim is found on the Kia Seltos, which is the Kia answer to the Jeep Renegade. It’s a small SUV built for off-roading, but the Kia Seltos has had its own share of off-roading issues. The transmission is prone to overheating while climbing inclines. 

2020 Kia Telluride off-roading review 

The Kia Telluride looks like an off-roader with a long wheelbase, high ground clearance, and off-roading drive modes for snow and sport. It has an optional all-wheel drive system that splits the power 50/50 between the front and rear wheels. The split reduces throttle response to decrease the chance of braking traction when accelerating from a stop. 

Also, the center differential lock button can be engaged for a 50/50 power split on slick surfaces. This system provides plenty of momentum on flat surfaces but struggles on hills, like the ones found in Telluride, CO. 

The 2020 Kia Telluride struggles to transfer power from side to side when extra torque is needed for one or two wheels. This could be because there isn’t enough torque to overcome the braking force required to stop the spinning wheel and climb steep hills. 

You could accelerate harder to maintain momentum, but this isn’t the safest idea. The Kia Telluride doesn’t have much underbody protection, so driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of damage. 

2021 Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition driving in the city
2021 Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition | Kia

The Kia Telluride Might Dethrone Your Chevy Tahoe

The 2020 and 2021 Kia Telluride models are currently better as all-weather road trip SUVs instead of off-roaders. It’s one heck of a comfortable SUV that’s peaceful and fun to drive on vacations, just don’t venture too far off the path.