The Kia Telluride S Is the Most Underrated Version

The Kia Telluride outshines many of its competitors as it boasts both luxury and value. Many will find happiness inside the Telluride’s base trim. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the lavish SX model. But you may feel that the Telluride S provides everything you need and more. 

The 2021 Telluride LX gives you a lot for the money 

The KIA Telluride is seen at the 2020 New England Auto Show Press Preview at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
The 2020 Kia Telluride | Paul Marotta/Getty Images

As we mentioned, the base Telluride comes with so much; it’s understandable that you’d want to stick with it. Kia equipped the entry-level LX trim with tons of in-car technology and with upscale trimmings. The LX model has plenty of room for eight people, and it offers flexible storage space. Its starting price is $31,990.

Most of the Telluride’s primary competitors, like the Toyota Highlander, come with regular cloth upholstery. However, what sets the Telluride apart from the pack is that it comes with Sofino synthetic leather seat surfaces. This new fabric makes the SUV feel more upscale, and it’s pretty easy to clean too. You may also favor the leatherette seats since they require less maintenance than genuine leather. 

The 2020 Kia Telluride's grey cloth interior
Kia Telluride interior | Kia

The LX model comes with painted finished 18-inch alloy wheels. Other nice touches on the LX model include remote start, a separate front/rear passenger air conditioning system, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. There’s plenty of connectivity features too. 

Standard infotainment features for the Telluride include an 8-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Many active safety features are standard too. These include driver drowsiness monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, and pedestrian detection. 

The Telluride S takes it a step further

A chrome 2021 Kia Telluride navigating in water.
2021 Kia Telluride | Kia

The S carries over the best aspects of the LX model and a few extras. You get a few more distinguished exterior finishings with the S, including a dark metallic front grille and machined finish 20-inch alloy wheels. There are more embellishments on the inside too. 

A view of the Telluride's back rows.
Telluride with captain’s chairs | Kia

Like the LX, the S has synthetic leather upholstery. What you also get are heated front seats and the Telluride’s available captain’s chairs configuration. The captain’s chair configuration drops seating to seven, but the main benefit is this setup makes it easier to access the third-row. 

You’ll also appreciate the S model for its open and airy feel. It comes with a power sunroof and an LED map with room lights. The S only costs a little more than the base model with a suggested price of $34,390. You may also want to add convenience items such as a cargo cover and carpeted floor mats. 

All Tellurides get the same engine 


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No matter which trim level you pick, all Tellurides feature the same 291-hp, 3.8-liter V6 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic. All models are also available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Some critics, including Autotrader, say that the SUV could do more to stand out when it comes to performance. 

This Kia isn’t very agile, and it has average fuel economy ratings. But on a brighter note, the Telluride offers plenty of passing power, and it absorbs road bumps well. It’s a tranquil ride too.