Which 2021 Kia Telluride Model Is Best?

If luxuriousness and value are what you’re after, the Kia Telluride is an ideal SUV option. Now in its second model year, the Telluride continues to impress with its predicted reliability, too. Which 2021 Kia Telluride model is best for you?’

Driving dynamics 

A white Kia Telluride is traveling on sand dunes.
Telluriders Team Tackles Tough Off-Road Rebelle Rally | Kia Motors

All Telluride models have the same 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine linked to an eight-speed automatic. It’s also standard with front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is available on each trim level. Highlights of the Telluride’s performance include its smooth ride quality, quick acceleration, and quietness. It could be more responsive, and its EPA rating of 23 mpg overall is only average. However, this Kia still gets most things right than wrong.

What comes standard on a Kia Telluride?

The 2020 Telluride is on display at the 111th Annual Chicago Auto Show
A Kia Telluride on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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Since the Telluride comes with so many features, many drivers will be happy with the entry-level LX trim, which starts at $31,990. LX models can seat up to eight passengers and come with synthetic leather upholstery. Other nice touches include machined finish 18-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. 

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

The tech on the LX isn’t basic either. Standard infotainment features include an 8-inch touchscreen that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. You’ll also appreciate the LX’s suite of safety technology that consists of automatic emergency braking and warning, blind-spot detection, and safe exit assist. 

If you want a few more frills, step up from the LX to the S trim. The S trim adds a power sunroof and roof rails, and heated front seats. It also has the second-row captain’s configuration, which reduces seating to seven. A Telluride S begins at $34,390.

2021 Kia Telluride EX vs. SX

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

The EX and the SX are the top-tier Telluride trims. These are the trims to consider for Kia’s new Nightfall Edition package option, which adds a blacked-out grille and other gothic features. The EX, in particular, is recognized as the happy medium of the Telluride. 

The EX begins at $37,390 and adds LED taillights, leather upholstery on all three-rows, plus heated and ventilated front-power seats. It also comes with more conveniences designed to simplify your driving experience, such as a navigation system with highway drive assist. Other interior upgrades are a 10.25-inch touchscreen and wireless charging.

The Kia Telluride SX trim boasts a serene and upscale cabin complete with leather and high-tech.
Kia Telluride SX interior | Kia

For the grandest experience the Telluride has to offer, there’s the SX model. On the outside, the SX is distinguished by its 20-inch alloy black sports wheels. Like the EX, the SX comes with leather-trimmed seats, but Nappa leather upholstery is available on this model, too. The SX also gives you dual sunroofs, a premium 10-speaker stereo, and a surround-view camera. The suggested MSRP for a Telluride SX starts at $42,190.

So which Kia Telluride model is best?

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

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Deciding on which Telluride model comes down to how much you are willing to pay. If you’re on a tighter budget, the base LX trim provides you with plenty of modern features for around $30K. But if you’re in the place to splurge, the SX model is one that’s hard to pass up.