Crossover & Midsize

The Kia Telluride’s Stellar Reviews Are Translating Into Sales

Early in 2019, Kia released its new midsize SUV, the Telluride, for the 2020 model year. It was a big hit, and its popularity has been growing since then. Apparently dealers even had difficulty keeping the Kia Telluride in stock when it was first released, according to Car and Driver. Here’s a look at how its great reviews have translated into sales.

The 2020 Kia Telluride

The 2020 Telluride is the largest vehicle offered by Kia, though it’s based on the Sorento. It has space for seven or eight passengers plus plenty of cargo room. It features a 3.8-liter V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Telluride comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all four trims offer all-wheel drive as an option.

It’s received good crash test ratings too. The IIHS named the 2020 Telluride an IIHS Top Safety Pick. It gave good marks across the board except for the Telluride’s headlights. The NHTSA also gave the Telluride strong ratings, with five out of five stars for overall safety.

The 2020 Kia Telluride’s awards

The 2020 Kia Telluride received a number of awards in its first year. It was named the 2020 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year as part of the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year Awards (NACTOY). It also received the MotorTrend’s 2020 SUV of the Year, and it was on Car and Driver’s 10Best List.

A press release from Kia pointed out that this was the first time an SUV won all three of these prestigious awards in the same year. In addition, Edmunds listed the Telluride as its Top Rated SUV of 2020. The Telluride also received a strong score of 92 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. And, in April 2020, the Telluride won the 2020 World Car of the Year.

Increased sales for the Telluride

Data from GoodCarBadCar shows outstanding growth in sales for the Kia Telluride when comparing the first quarter of 2020 with the first quarter of 2019. GoodCarBadCar looked at quarterly sales performance for the U.S. midsize SUV segment.

The quarterly data give a good indication of which models have growing sales rates and which have declining rates. With 16,826 sales in Q1 2020 and 5,395 in Q1 2019, the Kia Telluride has seen a 211.9 percent growth in sales.

Market share and the competitors

While the Kia Telluride’s sales have seen tremendous growth during the past year, it doesn’t have the top growth and isn’t the top-selling midsize SUV either. The midsize SUV with the highest growth in sales rate is the Chevrolet Blazer. It had 22,144 Q1 sales in 2020 compared with 3,023 Q1 sales in 2019, giving it a 632.5 percent increase in sales. Coming in third behind the Kia Telluride is the Honda Passport. With 7,833 in Q1 sales in 2020 and 4,814 sales in Q1 2019, the Passport has seen a 62.7 percent change in sales.

Of the 28 midsize SUVs tracked by GoodCarBadCar, the Telluride came in 21st for Q1 2019 sales and 16th for Q1 2020 sales. The top four sellers for Q1 of both 2019 and 2020 were the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, and Jeep Wrangler. Q1 2019 saw higher sales for these four, ranging between 49,988 and 61,922. Q1 2020 sales for the four were between 39,667 and 56,309.

The Kia Telluride has seen phenomenal sales growth comparing Q1 2019 with Q1 2020, but the SUV was brand-new for the 2020 model year, so it didn’t see any sales until the middle of February 2019. While the positive press has helped fuel interest in the Telluride, its growth will need to continue for the SUV to take over a large share of the midsize SUV segment.